The Pencil Box - Featured Artists - March 2018

The Pencil Box - Featured Artists - March 2018

March 2018 Featured Artists. 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 links at the bottom of this post for our Facebook group partners - join in the fun and your artwork could be featured, too!

Australian Eastern Water Dragon by Rob Spedding
Prismacolor colored pencils on Arches smooth watercolour paper 300gsm, A3

My passion for Australian wild life is what draws me to capture it as accurately as possible. I try to make the skin, fur or feathers look real so that you feel like you could reach out and touch them.

When a friend sent me a photo of her pet Water Dragon to draw, how could I resist such an an interesting subject? Drawing the Water Dragon presented a real challenge and tested my skills. Capturing the rough, scaly texture of the skin and the colours of the Water Dragon required a great deal of attention to contrast and fine detail. I also needed to capture the character of the subject and the look in his eye.

In this drawing I have limited the background to avoid distraction, and used the contrast of the dark log to bring the Dragon forward.

About Rob:

Rob is a self-trained artist who began drawing in 2012. Initially he focused on black and white drawing, learning to understand tonal quality. He then started in color pencil, which he found particularly suited to his style of drawing and love of detail.

Discarded Glass by Iain Benham
16" x 16"
Colored pencils on Daler Rowney heavyweight fine grain paper.

I came across this group of bottles hidden at the back of a shop in a small conservatory. They immediately caught my attention, I am always drawn to textures. The reflections combined with the dust made these a must to draw.
I never travel anywhere without my compact camera, after asking for permission from the shop owner I took several shots to make sure I had something good to work with when I loaded them on to my PC. I purchased some of the bottles for future drawings.

When transferring an image to paper I use different methods according to the subject and the level of accuracy required. Sometimes free hand drawing, light box or grid boxes.

To transfer the image to the paper I downloaded it to my laptop and laid a grid on top. Very softly marking out the same grid on my paper I then transferred as much detail as possible. This finished picture was 16" x 16". I used Daler Rowney heavyweight fine grain paper.

My favorite pencils are Faber-Castell Polychromos although I do use Prismacolor and Luminance.

I start with soft layers, slowly building up the depth. I always add my highlights at the beginning of each bottle pushing the color firmly into the paper as it is impossible to add highlights once you have gone to dark. I am however experimenting with Alyona Nickelsen's colored pencil titanium white powder and colored pencil touch-up texture liquid. So far I have been quite pleased with the results.

When the drawing is complete I leave it on my drawing board for a few days looking at it in different lights and tidying up any details that need adjusting. Then off to the framers.

About Iain:

Drawing and painting have always been part of Iain's life. After purchasing some Polychromos pencils he reignited his passion for drawing and has not looked back entering competitions and exhibitions with some success. See more at

Barn Owl by Carol Doran
Polychromos pencils on Pastelmat, A4
Reference photo used with permission by Craig Maisfield.

I love birds, especially birds of prey. I had never drawn a bird in colored pencil before so I did this to challenge myself as the feather patterns looked quite complex. I have since done another owl which was just as challenging as it was spotty all over.

I have previously only ever drawn furry animals with colored pencils so I promised myself that this year I would do more colored pencil work and try different subjects. For example, right at the moment I am doing a colored pencil landscape, something I would have only ever attempted in watercolor.

The subject is a captive bred bird named Buzz and is owned by the photographer.

About Carol:

Carol Doran is a self-taught artist who uses mainly colored pencil, graphite and watercolor. Having had more than 40 years break from art and now retired she has decided to re-kindle her love of drawing and painting with the hope of bringing a little pleasure into people's lives.
See more at



The Test of Time by Karen Saleen
8" x 10"
Prismacolor Premiers & Verithins, Derwent Coloursoft & Drawing, Caran d'Ache Pablos, UBRANDS (Costco)
Grey mat board
My own reference

I found this truck at a local Rust-o-Rama car show and was taken by the patina of the aging vehicle and it's modern, up-to-date accouterments. It is, at once crumbling into rust's oblivion and sporting a chrome-plated valve cover, over-sized air cleaner and flashy LED headlights! I tried to keep that spirit of the vehicle in my rendering by illustrating the grunge, rust and patina, while focusing detailed attention on those modern and technological aspects. I feel that I've accomplished this goal. What I can take away from this piece is the need, sometimes of working in a larger format. It would have been far easier to draw those intricate details if the piece had been larger.

About Karen:

Karen Saleen is a colored pencil artist living in Salem, Oregon and has always been interested in the art world, but did not join the art community until retirement. She is now active in CPSA, the Keizer Art Association, online colored pencil sites and teaches colored pencil classes occasionally.


These artworks were published in the March 2018 issue of COLOR Magazine.


Leave your comment