The Sections listed above may have several individual Topic pages.

The list of available Topics are shown on the first page of the Section and in detail on the ‘Contents’ page

These are the main sections of the Site


Information, Choices, Techniques and Advice on all Pencil Matters


Over 150 detailed pages of information for beginners and improvers to help you develop your skills


OCTOBER 2017    


This is the OLD version of the topics web site.

It has been archived here at

as it contains old tutorials and charts no longer included in the new build of the site. This site is no longer updated



There are only so many books that one person can usefully buy before suffering a severe outbreak of ‘Deja Vu’ on opening the pages of the next new book.

This list cannot be comprehensive, but it does list the books I find useful,

If you know of a book that you find invaluable and it isn’t listed here, please tell me ( and let me have a short review at the same time ).

I will add it to my list.

Some of the more useful - or interesting ones are shown below .  Not all are still in print.

Not in any particular order:

The Drawing Book - Richard McDaniel - Pub. Watson Guptill -

       A very good book covering all pencil media very comprehensively. Well illustrated.

Coloured Pencil Explorations - Janie Gildow - Pub. North Light -  Mixing Media with CP

Masterful Colour - Arlene Steinberg - Pub. North Light -

       Building up layers, a comprehensive and very good book by a skilled artist

Painting Light with Coloured Pencil - Cecile Baird  - Pub. North Light -

       Excellent with step by step demonstrations of different types of subject inc still life.

Colored Pencil Solutions Book-  Janie Gildow and Barbara Newton - Pub. North Light

       Tips and Techniques for winning results. Questions and demonstrated answers. Invaluable reference book

Creative Colored Pencil Landscapes - Vera Curnow - Pub. Quarry Books (USA)  Now out of print

       Wonderful little book on Landscape techniques

Drawing & Painting Landscapes - Trudy Friend - Pub . David & Charles (UK)   

       Quite a bit on Watercolour, but the pencil content is very good and the watercolour could just as easily apply to Aquarelles pencils

Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner - Bet Borgeson - Pub. Watson Guptill (USA)    

       Has some very useful chapters on the fundamentals

Paint Radiant Realism in Watercolor, Ink and Colored Pencil - Suellen Ross  - Pub. North Light

       Beautiful work in mixed media with some fascinating examples

Drawing & Painting with Colored Pencil - Kristy Ann Kutch - Pub. Watson Gupthill

       Good on Colour Theory and also watercolour pencils


The New Colored Pencil   - Create Luminous Works with Innovative Materials & Techniques - Kristy Ann Kutch - Watson Gupthill
Published June 2014    The most up to date book on this medium

                  This is a very comprehensive look at all aspects of the medium and the most  up to date techniques.

In addition it has a full set of colour charts which include the latest Caran d’Ache Museum watercolour pencils.  Comments about brands are useful and this is probably the best book for the intermediate user on the current lists. If you can only afford one book as a reference, this is the one to have.

The Encyclopedia of Coloured Pencil Techniques - Edited Judy Martin - Pub Headline (UK)

       May now have been replaced by a more up to date edition. Very comprehensive though some of the techniques in my copy are in need of an update

Painting with Water-Soluble Colored Pencils - Gary Greene - Pub. North Light

       Very helpful for beginners

Drawing and Painting Buildings -  Jonathan Newey  -The Crowood Press

       Covers a variety of media, but the author teaches Coloured Pencil Techniques and there is a lot of content which is relevant  to CP work

Watercolour Secrets   and

The Magic of Watercolour -  James Fletcher Watson  -  Batsford

       A renowned watercolour artist and architect who died a few years back.  His Videos are still available and his books are still  in print.  

A no nonsense approach and a brilliant eye for a scene, Fletcher Watson’s videos  show how teaching should be done. The books are entirely on watercolour, but they are an excellent primer on how to see landscape and building subjects.

Colored Pencil Painting Bible  -  Alyona Nickelson  Watson Gupthill

 A good sized paper back with 180 pages of information and a very useful appendix giving recent Lightfastness tables for a large number of brands.  

At first sight  a very useful collection of articles on techniques.  

You might be put off by the fact that Alyona’s main technique involves using solvent with dry point pencils,  and for European readers not all the products mentioned are on sale within the EEC.

The illustrations and print size are large, so it is an easy read, though the large number of broken words at the ends of lines annoys me as I read, and that could have been avoided by more attentive page setting by the publisher.

However, the good news is that there are lots of useful chapters that have good ideas and information and where the author describes a solvent process using Gamsol, Reader of this site  Bernard Goodman  tells me ‘the solvent Gamsol you mention as ‘unavailable in the UK’ is now available, from the art supplier T.N.Lawrence; website’  It is listed under Gamblin Oil painting mediums.

The page link is :     Thanks for the update Bernard.

The user friendly citrus based solvent ZestIt will probably work equally well.

Watercolour pencils will also provide an alternative for some techniques.  

Her examples are mainly still life and are not complex, so the book will suit beginners as well as those extending their knowledge.  

I have spent much more money on books that are less informative or potentially useful,  This one was a good buy.


This Section of my bookshelf contains a lot of books on soft pastel as well as pastel generally and many of the older books are now well out of print.  I have reviewed the books against Amazon’s current availability, and where a new copy of the book is still available I have assumed the book to still be ‘in print’.  I have excluded all the others except where they are particularly good and worthy of looking for a second hand copy.

In most  cases a book on pastel techniques is useful for pastel pencils and where there is a section on pastel pencils I will say so.

Painting the Landscape in Pastel    Albert Handell & Anita West ( Watson Guptill pub. )

First published in 2000, this is an excellent landscape book.  Albert is/was resident in New Mexico, so the landscapes are very much open country, scrub, rocks and trees - with some water.

The techniques are well presented and the comments with each worked picture most helpful.

The book deals with soft pastels only - but then there are not many books looking at pastel pencil techniques.

100 Great Pastel Tips   Miranda Fellows    Out of print 2010

An excellent little reference book - only 64 pages, but very concise notes that cover the ground very thoroughly.

The Encyclopedia of Pastel Techniques.  Edited Judy Martin    (Various publishers to different editions)

Still in print after many years and deservedly so. Covers all pastel types and gives a wide selection of examples from different artists.  The basic book that should be on your shelf.   Pastel pencils are covered

Creative Painting with Pastel    Carole Katchen ( Harper Collins Pub )

A pastel book with another collection of examples of different artists work. Not a lot on pencil, but the examples are very good and a lot of the work is very detailed.  Published 1990

Painting Landscapes & Figures in Pastel   Jose M Parramon   ( Watson Guptill Pub.)

A book that looks at interpretation and style and has a detailed look at the work of a few skilled artists most of whom work portraits.  The step by step examples are good.   All soft pastel

Exploring Pastel with Barry Watkin  ( Batsford Pub.)

The master of English landscape in pastel.  His moody Somerset moor and coast images are excellent.  The book covers soft pastel, but if you like landscapes, it is well worth a look.

The Big Book of Painting Nature in Pastel   S Allyn Schaeffer ( Watson Guptill Publisher)

 72 lessons in pastel techniques from a single artist. His approach is not detailed and he doesn’t use pastel pencils, but the book does show a wide variety of techniques.  Worth a look.


APRIL 2016

Sue Vize has a new book being published in June 2016 which may  be of interest to those undertaking ( or wishing to undertake)

Botanical studies in CP and Graphite.  Sue has sent me a resumé.

Botanical Drawing using Graphite and Coloured Pencils

by Sue Vize SBA

Price: £18.99

Release date 20th June 2016

Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd

ISBN-10: 1785001590  ISBN-13: 978-1785001598

My book is almost ready.  

It has taken fourteen months to write and illustrate and a further ten months for the publisher and printers to do their side of things but the release date is now set for June 20th 2016.  

The book contains ten chapters, each dedicated to a particular aspect of the plant beginning with roots and bulbs, working up through stems, leaves, flowers, fruit etc.  A chapter on fungi has also been included due to their close association with plants and also because I love to draw them.  

I have written a brief section on botany for each subject and there are two step-by-step projects, one in graphite and one in coloured pencil for each, as well as exercises and practical advice throughout the book.  

The publisher is The Crowood Press and they have set the price at £18.99.  Amazon are already taking pre-orders, and copies can be purchased through the publisher, but if you would like to have a personally signed copy please feel free to contact me by email or by the contacts page on my website so that I can send you an order form.

My contact details are and  

The website also gives details on all my courses and workshops for 2016.  

All are suitable for both experienced and new starters alike.