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From the start of 2015, diary items will be transferred here from the front page of the site as they are overtaken by new items.  

Obviously some items will be time sensitive and will be quickly out of date, but it may prove useful to readers who wish to look back on some of the comments and links from the recent past


Saturday 3rd January 2015

Site Statistics tell me that visitor count for December took us over 18,000 unique visits for the month with the average visitor looking at 2.5 pages.  The interest in ‘Topics’ sees us with a 50% increase in visitors on 2013.  Thank you to all those readers in the UK and elsewhere in the world.

I do have some plans to extend and revise ‘Topics’ in the coming months, but for the moment I have put plans for video clips of demonstrations on ice.... There are some excellent demos on You Tube and it seems pointless duplicating them.

I am open to suggestions and requests for Topics.  Just get in touch through the contact address


Granthams Art Discount (UK) have boxes of 72 Derwent Inktense on sale at £62 - about half the usual price.   http://www.artdiscount.co.uk/winter-sale/derwent-inktense-set-of-72-in-a-tin.html

May not be the cheapest offer on the internet, but certainly the cheapest I have seen

Tuesday 6th  January 2015

A couple of Emails yesterday  - one from the UK and one from France, asked about sharing skills through local groups of pencil enthusiasts.

Both the UKCPS in the UK and the CPSA in the States support local groups or Chapters of members, but it crossed my mind that there is little support for isolated pencil artists who are not members (yet) of these societies - are not in those countries, or who are not in touch with a local specialist group .

It is of great benefit to get together - even if just two or three folk for a few hours every now and again.  There may be something I can do to put ‘Topics’ readers in touch with each other. If you would like to make contact with a like mind who lives somewhere near, get in touch with me and we may be able to set up a system to help.

Cheers    Peter

Wednesday January 7th 2015

Wednesday January 21st  2015

A reader of this site from the Netherlands draws my attention to a painting and Drawing Forum

( in Dutch)  which has a number of Coloured Pencil users.  


(Translates as ‘Painting etc )

Any readers elsewhere in the world who know of similar forums in different languages are welcome to let me have details and I will post up a list  here on the Topics site when I have collected a few.


The readership figures are in for January this morning and we have broken another record

Visitor numbers reached a new peak of 16866 for the month of January.

Not quite breaking the 17,000 level that I had secretly hoped for, but still an amazing number of people looking for information.

and to think that in our first month - January 2009. - we saw just 18 visitors find the site during the month.  !

Thanks to all for your support

Sunday February 1st  2015

There has been quite a bit of ‘housekeeping’ on the site in February - call it Spring Cleaning perhaps.

The subsidiary pages have been slightly widened to allow better for the navigation panels which need to be quite big in some cases.  This has led to a number of small but niggling layout problems which

- I hope - are now resolved.

What I thought would be a small task has turned out to be a big one, but I can now concentrate on the Knuston Course on March 20th - 22nd after which I will look again at the site content here

Saturday February 21st  2015

Another course completed - I think successfully.

Several bookings forward for the September one so I must be doings something right !

We looked at two new areas which will feature on the Topics pages once I get organised…….

The working of watercolour pencil (dry) over a foundation of pastel pencil, on cartridge paper.     It works well  and the two media combine happily.

The other area, which is still under examination, is the working of a picture on Polydraw drafting film where you work on both sides of the film over a background worked on paper. Three separate layers of a picture.  Needs planning and I want to sort out the essential techniques before I post anything here.  I will keep you advised in the diary of any progress


Monday 23rd March  2015

Sunday March 22nd 2015


I was asked during the course just run, to identify where the colour tone charts had disappeared to which were published here on the site several years ago. They were very useful, it seems !    

I couldn’t immediately say where they were hiding and have since found them lurking in the Allerford Step by Step where they first featured. ( Allerford page 3 )

I have copied the data and the link to the PDF to the colour matching page as well, so there are now two chances of finding them.

Possibly Colour Matching is the best place after all !

Thursday 28th April  2015

The French language web magazine  ( ‘Webzine’ )

Crayons de couleur, le Mag

 celebrated five years of publication last November and those of you who are fluent in French may enjoy the great content of this very professionally produced periodical with over 60 pages of content.

We have now agreed with the Editorial Team at Crayons De Couleur that we may translate and re-publish some of the older step by step articles to give readers of Topics a chance to get to know this excellent web based magazine

Thursday 14th May 2015

We now have two of the Crayons De Couleur step by step tutorials posted on the site here

The latest is of a kitten using mainly Caran D’Ache Pablos and some Prismacolor pencils on Cartridge paper  

             Landscape - by Sylvie Menez         Kitten - By Dominique Vaillant

17th August 2015

Our friend, and one of Coloured Pencil’s Top USA  tutors, Ann Kullberg, has supplied us with a free sample of the first stages of one of her tutorial exercises.  We have always had a link from the site here to Ann’s web site in the States, but have now established a more solid link with a full page giving details of the different types of support she gives to those who want to learn CP - and particularly portraits of people and animals - which this site does not cover.  Ann also publishes a monthly on-line magazine at a very reasonable price which is very well worth subscribing to

Have a look at the  ‘Ann Kullberg Tutorials’ page for more.

Tuesday 4th August 2015

I have completed the first stage of my marathon test of papers and posted up the results of the wax and oil based pencils.

Just 15 tests of papers from my stock cupboard - not a comprehensive test by any means, but the results are interesting.

After a pause for breath, I will make a start on the watercolour paper / pencil tests later this year.

See the SURFACES section and the new pages that follow


October 2016


10 years ago, when I first started to write notes about coloured pencils, I did a lot of research from books and the Internet.  Sometimes it was difficult to get information as manufacturers guarded the data as a trade secret, sometimes the information I read in books was incorrect.

A reader of Pencil Topics recently asked about oils and waxes in pencils and it moved me to do some checking whether the notes I had written were correct.   I have now set up a new page in the ‘Wax type’ section called ‘WAX or OIL?’  Which gives the current position - as far as I can determine it !!!!!   With around 25,000 visitors to the site each month, it is more and more important that the information I give is the very best and most accurate.

If you are a manufacturer and you are prepared to help me clarify the subject further, I will welcome your input.

In the meantime I am carrying out some revisions to topic content where and when I notice they are required.

Oils and waxes are also used in watercolour pencils but because the process then usually involves the use of water, the matter of wax bloom does not arise

Readership of  Pencil Topics Website

October 16th 2016    Update on site statistics

I have been watching the site readership figures rise quite considerably over recent weeks and it seems clear that what I thought was simply a peak in the graph is now turning out to be a major step up.  Since 10th September, daily visitor numbers have risen from the 700 a day level to the 1,200 a day level,  and the trend continues, so that the actual visitor count for the last 30 days is now approaching 35,000.   

I have looked into where the rise is coming from, as I get a breakdown of visitors by country ( the only problem being that the figures for the USA are give state by state, so I would have to do some major adding up to find the actual figures for the USA).

This gives me no clue, as the rise seems to be across the board and percentage readership by country is pretty much the same for the last 30 days as for the year - just more readers!

This is good news if a little puzzling !   Why should I suddenly see nearly double the number of people logging on to Topics?

The same pages get the same proportion of readers - just more of them.  We are not talking ‘Hits’ here - we are talking about actual visitors who are looking at an average of  2.5 pages each visit.

There are a lot of references on the site to ‘20,000 plus readers’ and this is still valid - if a little inaccurate

I will leave the quote standing for the present and see what happens over the next 30 days ………………..

 19th AUGUST 2016


Users of Derwent Pastel sticks are advised to stock up while this product is still available.

Derwent say the product is being discontinued,

but I see that Amazon and several other Internet retailers still list stock.

If you use and like this product

take advantage while there is still stock available

Other manufacturers still making similar products

are Caran D’Ache, Faber Castell and Cretacolor.


with Peter Weatherill

Introduction to Pastel Pencils

on Saturday November 5th 2016

There is a further single day course on Friday May 19th 2017.

This is followed immediately by a two day weekend course starting on the Friday evening of May 19th ( you can book these two together if you wish)

Some accommodation is available for those who need to travel, but the day courses start at 9.15am and finish around 4-45pm, so some folk may be local enough to treat it as a day out.

All materials necessary will be loaned / supplied.  

 Contact Knuston Hall,  Wellingborough, Northamptonshire  on

(UK) 01604 362200 if you are interested

 for those new to pastels and pastel pencils

19th October 2016

MARCO RAFFINE and MARCO RENOIR wax type pencils

I have had several questions asked about these two brands of coloured pencils.

They are manufactured in China and UK buyers appear to have their pencils shipped from China.

The RAFFINE brand are low cost, white wood and minimally packed in a simple cardboard wrap pack.

There is a set of 72 ( and smaller collections ) which retails (Oct 2016 ) in the UK for around £20.

Reviewers seem to be surprised how good they are for the cost and assess them as a good student brand.  No colour names on the pencils or pack, and no indication of lightfastness.

The Marco RENOIR pencils are a much better option with cedar wood used and a thicker core. Pencils are presented in a layered tin box. Reviewers report them to handle well and to be softer and oil based.  No lightfastness indication and again no colour names on the pencils.  UK price through Amazon is of the order of £50 for the largest collection of 100 colours.  At 50p a pencil you may not worry that single replacement colours do not appear in any listing.

At these prices they would be attractive for beginners.   I would welcome reader reviews.

7th November 2016



United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society

Exhibition Venue:           Menier Gallery, 51 Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU.

                                                                  ☎ 01207 407 3222

Details: Sixteenth Annual International open submission exhibition for all artists.    Work must be original in concept, design and execution.

The artist must demonstrate compositional and drawing skills and the ability to use coloured pencil. Entries must not have been shown in any previous UKCPS exhibition.  Each work must comprise at least 50 per cent dry coloured pencil; the remaining 50 per cent of the work may, if preferred, contain less than 50 per cent of any other medium.   Awards include Best in Show, £400; Reserve best in show, £300;

Best pure coloured pencil, and President’s Award.        Up to two works may be submitted at a fee of £20 per work.

Online submission at www.ukcps.co.uk/london2017.          For full details, go to   www.ukcps.co.uk.

Exhibition dates: April 25th to May 6th 2017

Closing date for online entries: February 3rd 2017

Handing-in: April 24th 2017

Contact:    If unable to submit online, send sae for entry form to Liz Ridley, 63 Hilden Park Road, Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent TN11 9BW, tel:01732 834335.        Exhibition queries to:london2016@ukcps.co.uk.www.ukcps.co.uk.

As of August 2017, the diary is not being maintained and no items are being brought forward to this page.

Computer time is being allocated almost entirely to the new site which is being built and which will appear here towards the end of 2017.

The new site will contain ALL the most read features of this old site but will drop those pages which have not been referred to in the last 12 months.   

There will also be some new content.

In the meantime, essential updates about products etc  are made to both versions.

This old version will not be lost when the new site replaces it .. It will simply be transferred across as an archived copy to the www.colouredpenciltopics.co.uk address.

If you wish to see the new site as it develops and is tested, look at the www.colouredpenciltopics.co.uk      address.  

Your suggestions and comments will be gratefully received.

If you managed to read this old site on a mobile phone, I am afraid the new site will be large screen or tablet friendly, only.  

I just don’t have the time to write and format the site twice