The Pencil Box - Featured Artists - July 2023

The Pencil Box - Featured Artists - July 2023

Corresponding with the art gallery that is featured each month in Ann Kullberg's COLOR MagazineThe Pencil Box blog series will give artists a bit more space to share insight and inspiration about their colored pencil art. Make sure to check out FB group links at the bottom of this post. Call for entry is posted every month in participating Facebook groups—join in the fun and your artwork could be featured, too!

Berry Bowl by Alison Philpott
8x8 inches, colored pencil on Strathmore Bristol

I was looking through some images one dismal grey rainy day in the middle of January, and this image just jumped right out at me! Those rich ripe berry colours, with their smooth texture against the rough wood and blue fabric, I could almost taste them. I was mesmerized and thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in thoughts of summer as I worked on them. I enjoyed the different textures of the berries, the wood, the cloth, and the bowl, and how they complimented each other. Strangely enough, the most challenging thing about this drawing was working out the colour of the blackberries. They’re black, but they’re not. It took a few experiments with dark purples, blues, and black before I was happy.


Alison is a self-taught coloured pencil artist, although she has a pre computer background in commercial art! As a child, she learned her first tricks of the trade from her draftsman grandfather. She enjoys the control and details she can achieve with pencils, while still learning about her craft.

Facebook: Alison Philpott Art

Jimmy by Fabrizia Tadi
16.5x11.8 inches, colored pencil on Grafix Drafting Film

To create this portrait, I had the pleasure to work from a very high detailed photo that I loved immediately. This sweet boy called Jimmy was the dog of a friend. He very sadly passed away just a couple of weeks before I started working on his drawing. He had such a contagious smile that when I saw his photo for the first time, I started smiling too. In fact, his smile is the focal point of the entire portrait. I choose to give all the attention to his lively eyes, wet nose and wide smile, leaving the rest of the head and chest slightly blurred. His little bow tie is the very first one I have created and one of the few accessories I have drawn on dogs so far. I think it adds a playful touch to his joyful, happy personality that shines very well through in the drawing. This portrait is in his lovely memory.


Fabrizia Tadi is an Italian coloured pencil artist specialised in pet portraits. Her professional career started in 2020, until that moment drawing was just a great passion. Fabrizia’s other great love are dogs, she owns a Belgian Shepherd, which is curiously her most portrayed dog breed.

Home Grown by Janet Mayes
4 x 6 inches, colored pencil on Drafting Film

This beautiful variegated dahlia plant always seems to appear annually near my back fence with little to no attention, and I have always wanted to feature it in a drawing. It is a very striking flower with the changes in color from white to deep red. I wanted to try to capture the dahlia in dappled afternoon sunlight emerging from a dark background, as the interplay of light and shadow is an important aspect of my work. The challenge was to fit all that detail into a small scale drawing! I also experimented using Neopastels as a base for the background diluted with Gamsol (odorless mineral spirits), smudged with a tissue and applied to both sides of the film. There is one layer of colored pencil placed over the top. This helped to lessen the time spent on the larger expanse of color and then I could start on all the enjoyable details in the flower and leaves.


Janet Mayes lives in Australia and loves to depict the detail found in nature. She produces small scale works on her preferred surface of drafting film using a variety of colored pencils. Her drawings have featured in publications and group exhibitions, and she has received many commissions.

FACEBOOK: Janet Mayes Art

The Fruits of My Labor by Nancy Honaker
11x14 inches, colored pencil on Rising Museum Board

I really wanted to draw a picture using secondary colors, so I had fun setting up this still life using oranges and grapes. I needed a striped cloth for the background and ended up using one of my husband's dress shirts! Once I had the proper composition, I found the added bonus was seeing the reflection in the stainless steel bowl. This was my first time using rising museum board, and it was definitely a learning curve, but I found that it takes tons of layers and will create a very smooth look by using a blending medium such as odorless mineral spirits. I truly enjoy trying new things as it makes me feel that I'm learning and growing as an artist and this piece definitely tested those boundaries for me and I loved every minute of it!


Art has always been a refuge and a passion for Nancy ever since she was a child, even stating at the age of 5 that she wanted to be an artist with her own studio when she grew up. Nancy attended college at BGSU in Ohio and graduated with a Fine Arts degree, specializing in painting and graphic design.

These artworks are published in the JULY 2023 issue of COLOR Magazine.


Comments (1)

The level of artistry in all four pictures amazes me! I love the saturation of color, everything about them is so enticing.
It is a joy to read about the artists who have created such beautiful works. Congratulations to all four artists!

Elizabeth E Heath - Jun 26, 2023

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