1/ What is this website For ?2/ A gentle warning3/ Site History4/ The site is UK based5/ Site Search Engine6/ HOW DOES THE SITE WORK ?
We have a regular readership of around 15,000 unique monthly visitors to the site. The average reader looks at around 3 pages on the site each time they call inso that is around 45,000 pages a month accessedfrom over 100 countries across the World.You are a welcome member of the Friends of ‘Pencil Topics’,There is no subscription, no membership fee. You just have to turn up ! Feel free to contact me with any questions ( obvious or otherwise ) and the answers may well add further to the site contents in due course. 2/ A GENTLE WARNING !What you read here is a personal view . These notes have been assembled from personal experience, information in books, magazines, discussions with other artists on Internet Forums and from speaking to other artists over some 20 years. Where I know an original source, I have given it, But in many cases the origin is no longer known, and I apologise in advance if, on the odd entry, I have not acknowledged an outside source I may have used or if I infringe any copyright. The images here are mostly all mine. Those that are not, have the artist’s name quoted. If you see something here that you know should have an acknowledgement, please tell me and I will put it right straight away.Where a site page looks at products, it describes those available in the UK at the time of writing. Please check the foot of each page to see the date of the last page revision. You may need to bear this in mind if you are looking for the most up to date information and you are seeing prices quoted.The information here is made available in good faith with the intention of providing a freely accessible resource on a specialist subject for those starting out in this interesting art medium. The site is no more infallible than I am ! 3/ THE SITE IS BASED in the UK and looks at the UK market.BUT, around two thirds of the visitors to the site are from outside the UK, and a high proportion (nationally) is from the USA. To my readers from that big world outside, I hope that you find the content of the site useful. NOTE, HOWEVER, that It is written purely from a UK perspective, so some products you are familiar with may not yet have found their way to the UK, and vice versa !!If you read the site content with the aid of a translation tool - like the Google translator - then you may find that some of the pages have images obscuring the text. In the original version these pages are correctly laid out and all the text is visible, but translation can make the text longer and therefore in some languages the layout becomes changed. I have no control over this, I am afraid. THIS WEB SITE Was launched in 2009 and has been ‘WORK IN PROGRESS’ ever sinceBELOW on this page we have a link to an internal Google search engine (which generally finds things, but is not perfect).The first two or three search results may be adverts, so bear that in mind when you use it.The link below takes you directly to the pagePlease let me know if you spot any bugs in the system, or areas where presentation could be improved. Enjoy using the resourceThank You.SO HOW DOES THE SITE WORK ?You will have already seen that at the top left of every page is a set of navigation buttons in blue.This gives access to each of the main Sections of the site and also enables you to get back to each of the initial pages of each section and the home page, wherever you are.Every page should show this blue navigation panel.Each section has it’s own separate navigation to find your way around the individual Topics. Those buttons are on the top right of each topic page and only access the topics within that section. The right hand side topics navigation buttons are a different design in each section.In the old site, there were a large number of step by step exercises that had been added over the years and were spread all over the site. These have now been reduced to a few essential ones, and appear together in a ‘Step by Step’ topic in the Tutorial section here. However, all the original step by step exercises still exist on the old archived site which is freely available on the parallel internet address ( www.colouredpenciltopics.co.uk). The old archived site was written on an old software programme and is no longer revised and updated. You may need to use a PC or Tablet to read the pages - and they may not be readable on a Mobile Phone. Some of the Topics on the old site had little or no readership in the 8 years statistics examined, so these have been dropped in this new format site to simplify the core of information and ease updating. Some of the old facilities like the colour comparison charts took up a lot of bandwidth to include the many big PDF files and these took a lot of work to keep up to date with new brands of pencils arriving so regularly. Those have also now been dropped in this new format, as in many cases the Internet offers fully up to date equivalents at modest cost. Where I know of a good equivalent, I have noted the details and provided a link.The site is written in English ( the majority of our readers each day are from the UK or the USA ).Google does provide a translator as do many other international browser sites, and these can provide a good version in your own language. However I note that some translations take up more space on the page than the original English version, and this can result in images getting out of line with text, and sometimes text appearing over the top of images. In the odd case, text that takes up more space can go over the allocated room and simply disappear.I hope that you find the new design of the site easy to get around and that if you are an ‘old’ reader of the information here, you can still find what you came to look for.
1/ WHAT IS THIS WEBSITE FOR and why does it exist ?Those coming new to the joys of Coloured Pencil can find it difficult to locate a collection of notes to guide them through the basics - the essential information that long standing users of pencils can take for granted. This website tries to provide just such a collection.Back in 2007, I was handing out notes to my pencil course students covering the points we had discussed in the course sessions, and I found that the notes needed regularly updating to take account of new products and new ideas and techniques. This resulted in piles of scrap paper and untold numbers of printer cartridges being used up. I already ran a couple of websites and it struck me that it would be a good idea to transfer the pencil notes to a new web site so that they could be updated whenever necessary at a very modest cost to me, and past students could readily refer to the most up to date copies of each sheet of notes whenever they wanted.In January 2009 the earliest full version of the site was completed and publicised only to past students.Since then, the site has grown and as each course has run, fresh sets of pages have been added. The site has also been re-written several times until it is as you see it now. Along the way we have been picked up by various search engines and a number of friendly sites have linked their pages to www.penciltopics.co.uk.The site does not sell anything and does not ask for money. The information is free to read and the tutorials included in the site are also free to use.I am now slowly retiring from teaching, although I still do a few courses at Knuston Hall, but this site will still be updated when necessary to keep the data fresh. I no longer spend money on buying pencils, though, so reviews of new products depend on the generosity of manufacturers or contributions from readers. The content is aimed at those who require the basic information about this medium.There are a wide range of YouTube pencil reviews freely available ( some sponsored by the manufacturers) , but I do recommend that you have a look at the comprehensive, independant and very fair reviews carried out by my friend Ivor Harrison who runs the internet ART GEAR GUIDE. Where I have carried out my own tests, they tend to mirror his results and comments, and there is little point in doing the same work twice.
At the tail end of this site are a few pages of my own artwork completed over the last 10 years or so.One or two are pencil works, but the majority are pastel and acrylics, with a smattering of watercolour.I used to have a separate website, but as I spend so much time updating this one, it seemed sensible to merge the collection into a single gallery.I hope you like what you see there. The pictures are not in any particular order, but where I have a date for completion and I have a source, or a name for the reference, I will give it. Most of the references are my own photographs.The main sequence for my own media was as follows : I started out with soft pastel, moved on to acrylics, ventured into graphite, back to acrylics, Watercolours then to coloured pencil. Watercolour pencil followed and pastel pencils.I have dabbled briefly with oils, and for the last few years have been trying out pen and wash, and pen and pencil work. During all this time I spent a 3 year term as Chairman of the UK Coloured Pencil Society and undertook demonstrations and workshops to art societies, as well as demonstrations for coloured pencil manufacturers. For the last 10 years or so I have taught pencil art courses at Knuston Hall in Northamptonshire (Adult Education) and those courses ( in March and September each year) are currently booked into 2021. Knuston Hall is residential and offers exceedingly good food.