Environmental initiatives at the Cumberland Pencil Company

18 December 2014

We are aware just how important it is to protect the world around us. Without wood, we wouldn’t have pencils! 

In 2008 we moved from Keswick to Lillyhall, Workington where the new factory was built with the environment in mind. Below are some of the ways we help reduce our impact on the environment.

Environmental initiatives at the Cumberland Pencil Company

-Back at our old factory we developed a painting process for pencils that significantly reduced our VOC emissions, by using UV curing instead of solvent based paints.

-The waste sawdust from the manufacturing process is burnt in a furnace. The furnace is monitored weekly to ensure emissions are well below and legislation. The heat generated from burning the waste is used to heat the factory in winter!

-Rain water is collected and used to flush our toilets.

Environmental initiatives at the Cumberland Pencil Company

-All lights are controlled by motion sensors, so that they are switched off automatically if there is no-one in the room.

-We are constantly looking to improve and reduce the packaging we use for our pencils. As part of ACCO Brands, our parent company, we have supported the recycling of more than 900 tonnes of material year on year, for the last 10 years.

-The company also operates a Cycle to work scheme, to encourage workers to cycle instead of using their cars.

Environmental initiatives at the Cumberland Pencil Company

Barbara Murray (our Technical Manager) and the rest of the environmental team have won a few awards for their hard work! In 2005 the Company was presented with the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development. Most recently, in October 2014, we won the Environmental & Energy Awareness Award at the local CN Business Awards.

Each year we look for new ways in which we can help the environment. This year we are focusing on reducing and segregating waste. One of the many ways we hope to achieve this is by installing a portable compactor for general waste. This will hold between 4-6 tons of waste and will reduce our waste collection to one per month. We will also be installing a compactor for cardboard waste. We’re also looking at placing small bags in each office and in the factory for books, magazines, cans and bottles.

As you can tell, protecting the environment is very important to the Cumberland Pencil Company. It is something we will continue to work on for many many more years to come!

If you'd like to find out more about our manufacturing process watch the video below.


Find out more about us and our products:

www.pencils.co.uk

www.facebook.com/welovepencils

www.twitter.com/derwentpencils

www.derwentshop.co.uk

Comments
11:18 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers

Interview: Amy Chalmers

9 December 2014

Interview: Amy Chalmers

Who’s your favourite artist/ illustrator or designer?

Off the top of my head, a few illustrators I have been returning to lately are Chris Ware, Shaun Tan, and Nick Hayes. I love looking at beautiful drawings, but I also admire the ability to tell a compelling story through images. I think it’s important as an illustrator to look beyond contemporary illustration for inspiration, so I try to keep my artistic interests quite wide. My MA course emphasized ways to present illustrations as beautiful objects, so I’ve developed an appreciation for well-designed and well-made books; I admire publishing companies like McSweeney’s, Nobrow, and Falmouth’s own Atlantic Press.

What do you listen to when drawing?

When I don’t need to concentrate too much, I listen to a lot of podcasts. Recently I’ve been hooked on Serial, an addictive new show from NPR. Music really depends, but today I’ve been playing some Shuggie Otis, Benjamin Clementine, and the Roots. In our house we listen to a song we like 600 times in a week until it begins to feel unhealthy… if it were a Taylor Swift song, I wouldn’t tell you!

Interview: Amy Chalmers

How do you get your head in a creative space?

At this time of year, creativity comes most easily. When it starts getting cold and dark, I crawl into a sort of “hibernation headspace” and seem to require more daydreaming time. I go for a walk or run in the morning and try to be actively observant of my surroundings, which is a challenge that sets me up mentally for the rest of the day. I try to take advantage of the times of day when my brain is less connected and more creative; early morning and late night. Also, coffee!

What’s your background in art and design?

I’ve just finished my MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice at Falmouth University, which is a terrific course. My undergraduate degree was in Art History and French at Wofford College, a little liberal arts school in South Carolina. I’ve always drawn, but not as a job or towards a degree until this year. As a baby I could draw faces before I could talk, which is either impressive or creepy. Or both.

Interview: Amy Chalmers

What do you find inspiring for your work?

If I’m looking for inspiration, I don’t have to go far. I’m surrounded by creative people in a beautiful place. I’m about to leave Cornwall, but I’ve found that no matter where I am, everything I need is on my doorstep.

What kind of source materials do you use in your work?

I have stacks of books, magazines, journals, clippings, cut-outs, cards… successful projects are often the result of my kleptomania. But these days I do most of my rooting around online… Pinterest is like Aladdin’s cave, and it doesn’t leave stacks of paper all over my desk.

How long to you spend working on one piece or commission?

That really depends, but 3 is a good number. 3 days, 3 hours, 3 weeks… for one drawing. I think 3 days is a good amount of time, with plenty of tea breaks and neck stretches.

Interview: Amy Chalmers

What’s the one tool you can’t do without?

An eraser for my many mistakes. I just bought one at the British Museum that looks like an Egyptian pyramid. Goes perfectly with a case of Derwent pencils.

Describe your studio or workspace for us.

Right now it’s a travelling show. I was in the beautiful MA studio until September, at a window desk dangerously close to a pub and a bakery. Now I live with my friend Emily in a pretty little flat, and we give each other advice and encouragement in our work. In a few weeks I’ll be back at my folks’ house in South Carolina, surrounded by my old dollhouse, a drum kit, and a dog.

Interview: Amy Chalmers

Tell us about you! What, aside from drawing takes up your time?

I spend as much time as I can outdoors, and have been very lucky to live in Cornwall, wandering along the coast and swimming in the sea. I’ve travelled, lived, and worked in a variety of interesting places, which is good fuel for art. I also like reading, writing, cooking, yoga, and anything crafty.

Where can we see more of your work and what’s up and coming for you this year?

Please have a look at my website and blog, follow me on twitter, like me on Facebook… you know how it goes! I don’t have any definite plans for 2015, but I have a feeling it will be an exciting year. I do know that I’ll be having lots of fun playing with my new art supplies from Derwent!

Facebook: facebook.com/AmyChalmersIllustration

Tumblr: achalmersillustration.tumblr.com/

Twitter: twitter.com/AmyChalmers89

Comments
12:22 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers

Get creative this Christmas!

2 December 2014

Get creative this Christmas!

Why not make your own Christmas cards and gifts this Christmas? This quick and simple tutorial shows you how to use the Derwent Printmaking Set to create your own Christmas card.

 

Get creative this Christmas!

 

You will need:

1 card

1 piece of paper

Derwent Printmaking Kit which contains:

Inktense Blocks

2 sheets of printing foam

1 Embossing Tool

1 Spritzer

1 Printing Roller

Get creative this Christmas!Step 1

Cut a piece of printing foam to your desired size.

Step 2

Draw your design onto the foam with the Embossing Tool. Go over the design a few times to ensure the indents are strong.

Get creative this Christmas!

 

Step 3

Spray water over the design with the Spritzer.

Get creative this Christmas!

 

Step 4

Rub the Inktense Block directly over the wet foam to add colour. You can add more than one colour if you wish, and even mix colours directly on the foam.

Get creative this Christmas!

 

Step 5

Position the foam on your card or piece of paper and then carefully flip it over keeping the foam in position.

Get creative this Christmas!

Smooth over the paper with the roller to transfer the image.

Get creative this Christmas!

You could add extra details or a Christmas message to your design using Inktense Pencils.

Get creative this Christmas!

And your card is complete! Use the same technique to create your own gift tags and Christmas decorations, or customise a canvas bag or pencil case for someone special.

Get your Printmaking set here: www.derwentshop.co.uk

Comments
09:25 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers

Interview: Daniel Jamie Williams

26 November 2014

Interview: Daniel Jamie Williams

Who’s your favourite artist/ illustrator or designer?
I'd say my favourite artist is Egon Schiele. His style has influenced the way I draw quite a lot since I discovered him during my A levels.

What do you listen to when drawing?
I listen to lots of different music. Usually indie or folk. Sometimes I listen to internet radio shows or I'll have Netflix on. I find it difficult to work in silence.

How do you get your head in a creative space?
I usually work really late at night or early morning. I find it's easier to focus and get ideas. Sometimes ideas comes to me whilst I'm trying to sleep so I have to either write them down or start work on them straight away.

Interview: Daniel Jamie Williams

What’s your background in art and design?
I studied art through GCSE and A levels before going on to do a one year foundation course where I decided to focus on illustration. I recently graduated from a Graphic Design and Illustration BA course in London and now I'm freelancing.

What do you find inspiring for your work?
Music is a big inspiration for me. I like the visualisation of lyrics. I'm also inspired by the way people act and feel and, I suppose, the darker or less talked about side of human emotion. Sometimes it's just a case of having a strange idea that I need to get onto paper.

What kind of source materials do you use in your work?
I don't usually draw from existing images but recently I've started a series of drawings of musicians who I like. If I do draw from reference it's usually skeletons or animals.

Interview: Daniel Jamie Williams

How long to you spend working on one piece or commission?
It varies a lot on what I'm doing it for. Sometimes I like to do simple images which evolve from sketches and sometimes I like to create elaborate, detailed pieces which take many hours. If I digitally colour/edit the work it adds another few hours (plus the time I spend looking at the work to try and work out if it's how I want it to be).

What’s the one tool you can’t do without?
It has to be the pencil. I use mechanical pencils a lot; I find them very practical and versatile. Although I use digital software a lot I nearly always start with a pencil drawing.

Describe your studio or workspace for us
I work from my bedroom. Currently it's a desk, a PC, a scanner, a printer, my pencils and paper and usually empty mugs or things that should be in the bin. I'm not the most tidy of people.

Interview: Daniel Jamie Williams

Tell us about you! What, aside from drawing takes up your time?
I love music and I play the guitar so I spent a lot of time playing or writing music. I like to write short stories, poems etc too - sometimes I combine my writing and illustrations. In future I'd like to put more focus on that.

Where can we see more of your work and what’s up and coming for you this year?
I have a website but I'm also really into social media so I'm on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. I go by the name @WishWelliams usually. My work's also in various magazines and publications and I like to take part in gallery shows when I can!
I'm currently working on a new illustrated zine as well as poster designs for events in London.

Interview: Daniel Jamie Williams

Website: www.danieljamiewilliams.com

Tumblr: www.wishwelliams.tumblr.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/wishwelliams

Instagram: www.instagram.com/wishwelliams

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wishwelliams

Comments
09:17 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers

How to: Graphik Line Painters

18 November 2014

How to: Graphik Line Painters

Paint pens need to be activated before use:

How to: Graphik Line Painters

  1. Shake the pen for 20 seconds or until the pigment has mixed.
  2. Remove the lid and push the nib down on your paper and hold for 2 seconds. DO THIS ONLY ONCE.
  3. Keep the pen in an upright position.
  4. Be patient, the ink will flow through to the nib. You will see it drop down and colour the nib, then you are ready to draw.
  5. If the ink fails to flow, repeat the process, but never pump the nib up and down unless you want to flood the nib.

 

Let us show you what you can do with them!

How to: Graphik Line Painters

  1. Draw some lines - feel how the ink flows.
  2. Fill in some solid colour – wow! Really opaque!
  3. If you pump the pen you will flood the nib - sometimes this is cool! You can blow into the ink to make splats.
  4. If you blow across a nib heavy with ink, you can spray colour.
  5. Try working contrasting colours over the top.
  6. Whilst your paint is wet you can add water to dilute pigments, use a waterbrush or simply blow!
  7. Most importantly have fun and experiment!

 

Store pens horizontally.

 

For more tips and videos on how to use Line Painters visit: www.pencils.co.uk

Order your free sample here: www.derwentshop.co.uk

Comments
11:58 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers

Christmas Gift Ideas!

12 November 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas!

Give the gift of creativity this year! Derwent have a variety of products which would make the perfect present for any artist, whether they are professional or a beginner.

Christmas Gift Ideas!

 

Best of British 

The ultimate luxury gift for a pencil addict!

Celebrating the best of Britain, this beautiful oak wooden box contains over 160 of our most popular pencils and blocks, a selection of accessories, and 10 special commemorative pieces that pay homage to the glory of Great Britain.

Christmas Gift Ideas!

Sketching Wallet

This wallet contains a broad selection of sketching media including Graphic, Watersoluble Sketching, Onyx, Charcoal and Tinted Charcoal pencils. It also contains a 30 page A5 Sketch Pad. A great gift for professional artists and graphite lovers.

Christmas Gift Ideas!

Derwent Academy Sketch & Colour set

The Derwent Academy range is for beginner artists who want to draw but don’t know where to start. This set contains 18 colour pencils and 6 graphite sketching pencils.

Christmas Gift Ideas!

Graphik Line Painter 20 box

The full monty! This box contains all of the new Derwent Graphik Line Painter pens. Perfect for artists, illustrators and lovers of fineliners.

Christmas Gift Ideas!

 

 

Storage – for those who have lots of pencils and nowhere to put them!

Empty wooden box

The ultimate pencil storage solution!

This large storage box holds up to 153 pencils and blocks with space for accessories and other artist essentials.

Christmas Gift Ideas!

Pencil Buddy

This stylish desk unit holds pencils at an angle for easy selection and even keeps short pencils easily accessible. Perfect for untidy artists!

Christmas Gift Ideas!

Make your own cards and gifts!

Inktense Printmaking Kit

Make your own Christmas cards using the Inktense Printmaking set. Inktense works brilliantly on fabric too, customise a canvas bag or t-shirt! This set contains 6 Inktense Blocks, a printing roller, 3 sheets of printing foam, a double ended embossing tool and a Derwent Spritzer.

Christmas Gift Ideas!

For more gift ideas visit: www.derwentshop.co.uk

Christmas Gift Ideas!

Comments
09:48 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers

Interview: Sandra Dieckmann

7 November 2014

Interview: Sandra Dieckmann

What do you listen to when drawing?

We all share a studio playlist here that we contribute to. It's called Mama Wolf just like the studio I share. It has a wild mix of stuff on it. I guess something for everyone. From German Krautrock like Tangerine Dream to the Fall, to silly sounds of cats purring. Talking Heads, London Grammar, The Slits, Ozzy Osbourne and really anything that takes our fancy across all genres.

How do you get your head in a creative space?

Making space for inspiration to enter is important. I have learned that you have to eliminate stresses as much as possible to be able to stay creative. There has to be a healthy balance of making and business time. When I get into creative ruts I procrastinate and procrastinate and know that it’s not “doing nothing.” It’s part of the process. Be soft with yourself! I’m still learning that the hard way. Take time to dream or do some 'procrasti-working' ... do something useful but unrelated!

Interview: Sandra Dieckmann

What’s your background in art and design?

I studied art in High school in Germany as a focal point of my baccalaureate. In London later on, after a few years break doing this and that, I did a pre-foundation and a foundation in college, half a BA (Hons) in Fashion Design, a BA (Hons) Graphic Design and finally some Illustration. I graduated in 2009 after six years first class honours from my degree.

Switching degrees wasn’t hard at all. I never finished my Fashion Degree as I knew then already that it was the wrong path for me. I have drawn all my life and made things, not excluding sewing, but I missed making images that came from the heart. Visuals that had to do with what I wanted to say. I thought it obscene to be asked to produce 500 sketches of jeans in one night. I love dressing up and appreciate well made and interesting looking clothes but come on!

Towards the end of my degree in Graphic Information Design I took a few modules in Illustration and there just re-confirmed my passion. I was in the right place and from then on never really stopped. 

What do you find inspiring for your work?

Time to dream, conversations, people, feelings I experience, long walks and dreaming of places I can only imagine and that probably don't exist.

Interview: Sandra Dieckmann

What kind of source materials do you use in your work?

I have a stack of old national geographic and paper clippings as well as tons of nature books and the internet for image ideas and my own photographs from walks etc. Being careful to never take anything as it is but to always re-imagine, re-assemble things before using them as reference if they come from elsewhere.

Then of course I also have materials that I have made and scanned or found here and there over the years. I make archives of them digitally to re-use as I need them.

How long to you spend working on one piece or commission?

It really depends on the size of the commission. I've just completed an animation together with a director and a model maker and that took a few months of hard work to complete. Other things might be drawn and coloured in a day or two.

When I start a project most of the time I have a brief. A brief from a client or a personal goal. I hardly ever just doodle. I try and imagine the image before I start but often that doesn't work completely. Most of the time an animal or person is the central part of it. Depending on the situation and story of the image a particular animal or animals will come to mind if I haven't been asked to draw a specific one anyway. I then go through my books and the Internet and my archives and fish out poses and expressions I like. Sometimes I find the perfect one but often I puzzle them together.
I create the creature first and while I'm drawing with pens and pencils and sometimes ink, the landscape or setting will slowly begin to form in my head.

Once the animal is finished, scanned, edited and coloured I then place it roughly on a page and set out to compose the background. It can all take a long time. I'm a perfectionist and sometimes terribly busy in my imagery. I enjoy this part of play immensely. I use collected papers, painted texture and all sorts of things.

Interview: Sandra Dieckmann

Top tips for students looking for a career as an illustrator

Just do it! Don't think about your motives. If it's bursting out of you put it on the paper. You will make sense of it slowly and this way you are already halfway there. Nothing is going to happen if you hesitate and chew your nails. Do it for the love of it and of course make your living with it but don't do it to make a living! It's a hell of a lot of hard work and a real craft and you will just get better and better by doing it.

What do you like about our new Line Painter pens?

I really love how bright these Derwent Graphik Pens are!
I don't often use coloured pens but as soon as I tried these I was won over. I don't think I have had pens like these before. 

They are just like very concentrated paint that I can now use in fine lines. Wonderful really. I can still get textures and detail down on paper despite the thick colour. I particularly enjoyed how quickly one colour dries and then can be worked over with another colour and how I can apply them on top of other materials like acrylic paint for example.

Interview: Sandra Dieckmann

Find out more about Sandra using the following links:

Website: http://www.sandradieckmann.com/

Blog: http://sandradieckmann.tumblr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DieckmannSandra

Instagram: http://instagram.com/sandradieckmann

Get your Line Painter pens here: www.derwentshop.co.uk

Comments
10:20 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers

Interview: Casey Allum

28 October 2014

Interview: Casey Allum

Who’s your favourite artist?

I was first introduced to Lucien Freud’s work when I was around 12 years old at secondary school. I was instantly intrigued by his harsh brush strokes, bright colours and slap dash techniques that so beautifully captured his subjects, human or canine. I used to copy his work using coloured pencils in broad marks and contrasts, hoping to give new life to timeless oil paintings….much to my art teacher’s dismay. He was a huge inspiration to me and I still have images of his work on my studio walls today.

What do you listen to when drawing?

I HAVE to listen to music whilst drawing, it helps to block out mundane thoughts and lets you concentrate on the task at hand. My taste in music is so varied you could walk into my studio at any time and catch me listening to practically anything depending on my mood and the piece I happened to be working on.

Interview: Casey Allum

How do you get your head in a creative space?

The hardest part about being a full time artist is dragging yourself to your workspace on days when you’d rather be running around outside, relaxing with a book or simply indulging in full blown procrastination. But I’m very lucky to live in The Lake District; all it takes for me to get into the right frame of mind is taking my dog out for a walk, come rain or shine its guaranteed to clear my head and inspire me to work.

What’s your background in art and design?

I’m a self-taught artist. There’s not a point in my childhood I can remember not holding a pencil. I would sit quietly for hours drawing and observing my surroundings, creating little cartoon characters out of our pets or drawing from books and magazines. I grew up in the Lake District and so genuinely the first pencils I ever had were Derwent, the factory was only 30 minutes away from my house, so we use to make regular trips over to Keswick to top up my supplies. I studied art at A-level but never took it any further due to feeling simply channelled through ‘box ticking’ and ultimately realizing all creativity had been quashed. Our whole class seemed produce identical work and the qualification became less about talent and more the ability to copy from text books. However I never stopped drawing or yearning to be ‘an artist’, I knew I wanted to draw and paint professionally from a young age, but I somehow had to figure out how I could make a living from it. At the age of 27 I saw my opportunity. I’d been manager to a successful gallery in The Lake District for five years, buying and selling other artists works and was too inspired not to take the leap….I had the business background needed, a fair amount of knowledge regarding the market place and that was it, I knew it was a ‘now or never’ situation. At the time it felt like I was jumping off a cliff trying to build my wings on the way down but now I’m looking back thinking it was the best decision of my life so far and wish I’d have leaped sooner.

Interview: Casey Allum

What do you find inspiring for your work?

When I’m looking for inspiration, whether its composition, new techniques or styles I’m curious about, I tend to head onto Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram and search for artists, photographers and general creative minds. You can find a wealth of knowledge in seconds and it can spur you onto stepping out of your comfort zone and playing with new concepts almost instantly.

How long to you spend working on one piece or commission?

I currently spend most of my creative time working on commissions. I get commissioned to draw and paint anything from children to landscapes but mostly to draw pets, which I adore doing. I love animals; their simple wants and needs in life are envious, every character so incredibly unique and fun to capture with pencil. Dogs are my specialist subject; I’ve always had dogs in my life and can’t for a second see that changing. A single dog drawing can take anything from 30 to 100+ hours depending on size, medium or breed; you wouldn’t believe the difference it can take drawing a short haired Dachshund to a standard Poodle!

Interview: Casey Allum

Top tips for someone looking for a career as an artist

The advice I can give anyone looking to become a full time artist is: It’s not easy….don’t ever be fooled that it will be, but if you can come up with a realistic strategy of creating and selling your work, making a living from your passion, then DO IT. There’s a phenomenal amount of competition in this field. You will have to work incredibly hard, practicing and perfecting to establish a unique style but it will certainly be worth it in the end. Nothing will ever compare to the feeling I had selling my first print, being accepted into my first gallery or running my very first Derwent Art Class. I feel incredibly privileged to be literally living my dream but I’ve worked extremely hard to get here and with no safety net or backing, just simple hard graft and research.

What’s the one tool you can’t do without?

My putty rubber….this squishy, grey existence saves my sanity on a daily basis and reminds me pencil is a wonderful, malleable medium to work in!

Interview: Casey Allum

Describe your studio

My studio space is an extension of my brain that overspills and bubbles with creativity; stacks of books and paper, no organisation needed with a ridiculous amount of pencils to hand. The walls are covered in drawings, sketched ideas and wonderful artist’s work to keep me motivated and eager to work. I’ve a large, wooden drawing desk which was a present from a hugely gifted artist friend; it can inspire me within seconds of sitting down at it and is host to all of my drawings. There’s a large window which I can just about see the Langdale Pikes from (to me ‘home’) and it also fills my studio with the crucial daylight I need to work from. My studio wouldn’t be complete however without my dog; he patiently sits underneath my desk and nudges me when he thinks we require a break.

Where can we see more of your work and what’s up and coming for you this year?

This November will mark the second year of me being self-employed, both of which have been a wonderful blur! This year has been jam packed with commissions and illustrating, ideas for next year’s exhibitions and not to forget Derwent Art Classes and website illustrations.

I’m currently exhibiting originals and prints with several galleries in Cumbria and Yorkshire with hope to extend to further regions within the next year. Galleries include: The Lime Gallery in Settle / Gallery H, in Arnside / OCG in Ambleside / G1Art in Windermere & Northern Lights Gallery in Keswick. I’m presently working on a selection of new images to increase my range of limited edition prints and getting ready for the Christmas rush and shows within Cumbria.

I will be joining Upfront Gallery’s Christmas Exhibition from the 11th November, attending the Art and Clay Exhibition in Heversham on the 22nd and 23rd November and holding a stand with Yew Tree Barn’s wonderful Christmas market on the 6th and 7th of December.

Interview: Casey Allum

https://twitter.com/CaseyAllum

https://www.facebook.com/caseyallumartist

http://instagram.com/caseyartist

 

Comments
09:48 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers

Bright Vintage Card with Inktense Blocks

14 October 2014

Today I'm sharing a Bright Vintage card using Inktense Blocks. I've had this set of stamps for a long time and had a very specific project in mind when I bought them, since I made that however they've just sat there not being used. I thought it might be fun to put a bright and modern twist on the vintage look of these stamps. 

Bright Vintage Card with Inktense Blocks

For this project I have used - Derwent Inktense Blocks, Tim Holtz Papillion Stamps, Ranger Perfect Medium Pad, Glossy Accents & Heat Tool, Staz On Ink Pad in Black, WOW Ultra Fine Clear Embossing Powder, Sarah Hurley Acrylic Stamping Block (Extra Large), Heat Resistant Acetate and Gold Glitter Tape.

I started by stamping the background stamp with a black Staz On inkpad (this is a permanent solvent based ink pad so won't run when I add water later with the blocks).

Bright Vintage Card with Inktense Blocks

I heat set that with the heat tool to ensure it was dry. Then I used a perfect medium pad to stamp the row of butterflies over the top, embossing them with WOW embossing ultra fine clear embossing powder. This creates a resist for when I add the colour using the Inktense blocks! 

Bright Vintage Card with Inktense Blocks

Now is the fun part! I sprayed the card with water and started adding some random blobs of colour using Inktense blocks. I then smudged the pigment slightly with my finger to combine the colours and dried with a heat tool, while also spraying with more water to make sure the colours blended well. Before the colours were completely dry I took an old cloth and rubbed any colour off of the embossed butterflies so they showed through. 

Bright Vintage Card with Inktense Blocks

Leaving that to one side to dry completely, I then stamped the butterflies again onto acetate using the Staz on inkpad (it stamps onto any surface!) and cut each one out individually. I used glossy accents in the centre of each one to attach them to the card, leaving the wings to fly free (I bent them slightly so they look as if they are flying off the card!) 

Bright Vintage Card with Inktense Blocks

As a finishing touch I added a bit of extra stamping to the bottom corner - again using the Staz on ink pad and one of the other text stamps in the set and a strip of gold glitter tape to highlight the bright colours. I hope you like the finished creation! 

Have a go at making your own colourful backgrounds with Inktense Blocks! If you'd like to share your projects over on the Derwent Facebook page we'd love to see them. I’ll be back soon with another project.


Sarah x

Comments
10:02 by Sarah Hurley Sarah Hurley

Interview: Niki Pilkington

9 October 2014

Interview: Niki Pilkington

Who’s your favourite artist / illustrator or designer?

I've always admired David Downton for the sheer class and beauty of his work, similarly Stina Persson, although what we do is worlds apart. I think this is a really exciting (and competitive) time to be an illustrator – there are so many creative’s out there doing such wonderful things, it really helps to keep me on my toes and pushes me to try new things. 

What do you listen to when drawing?

To be honest, I almost never draw to music, I’m not sure why but I find it much harder to get the work done. Instead I like to have films, TV shows, documentaries etc playing in the background. I find that having something on whilst I’m drawing means I can just get on with my work without really realising I’m ‘working’ it’s like company in what can be a very isolated career. 

Interview: Niki Pilkington

How do you get your head in a creative space?

I start by reaching for my journal (that I never leave the house without!), which is full of ideas that I’ve scribbled down – a collection of images, words, themes, colours and notes that I simply couldn’t live without. From there I will draw a rough sketch, adding lots of text and usually lots of changes once I see the layout. I then get to work on the final piece (on a fresh piece of paper - I don't like working over roughs because they're always so messy!)

What’s your background in art and design?

After following all the usual routes for an art student, GCSE’s, A-Level, and art foundation (all in North Wales), I went to Ravensbourne college of design & communication in London, where I was awarded a 1st Class BA Hons degree. My chosen degree was in 'Fashion illustration & promotion', but strongly favoured towards the promotions side, so it's fair to say that in terms of my style and technique, I'm a self-taught illustrator.

What do you find inspiring for your work?

It’s definitely not the work of other illustrators that inspires me, instead I look to graphic design, fashion, textiles, typography and nature, because I feel I gleam much more original ideas when I look away from illustration. I think this is what keeps my work looking original (I hope!!)

Interview: Niki Pilkington

What kind of materials do you use in your work?

I've always lived by 'if you have colour then you should use it', so there's always a strong colour identity in what I do, which is why I was so excited when I heard about these new Derwent Graphik pens! I have a penchant for neons too, or any type of pen that hurts your eyes if you use it for long enough. I almost always stick with pencil for the faces and detailed sections of the illustration – a mixture of Derwent graphic pencils, then express the rest though colour, patterns and textures. I like to include 3D elements in my work, because I feel that the added dimension gives my pieces an extra something that you don't come across very often in fashion illustration. I really enjoy the hands on, crafty part of putting the objects together and coming up with new ideas (I'm a sucker for different papers, glues, tapes and all things crafty!!) it's always a nice relief from my detailed slow pace style of drawing.

How long to you spend working on one piece or commission?

It really depends on what the piece is, and how detailed it needs to be – it can be anything from two days to a week and a half. If I’m working on a new collection, then I like to work on all the pieces simultaneously – this way, as they develop I can make sure that they look like a set. I also have a tendency to get bored if I’m working on a piece for too long – moving between a few illustrations means that they still start relatively fresh to me. 

Interview: Niki Pilkington

Top tips for students looking for a career as an illustrator / artist

I'd say just try your hardest, always, and don't take criticism to heart - try and use it to your advantage and learn from the feedback you get. Don't be afraid of negative comments when you're starting out - not everyone will like what you do and to be honest, it would be a boring world if we did! Listen to feedback you get, and build from that...and remember, no one likes a show off! 

What’s the one tool you can’t do without?

Most definitely a sharpener!! I can’t do anything without a ridiculously sharp pencil.

Interview: Niki Pilkington

Tell us about you! What, aside from drawing takes up your time?

I’ve just moved my life over to New York, so at the moment all my spare time is spent either turning our apartment into a home (I love being crafty and making new things for our space!) or exploring this amazing city. Because my job means I spend a lot of time alone, drawing, I like to socialise whenever I can and I’m a big fan of travelling and seeing new places. I love the fact that I can draw from anywhere, so whenever the opportunity arises, I jump at it.

Where can we see more of your work and what’s up and coming for you this year?

Since moving to New York, lots of exciting new opportunities have been popping up. As well as working on lots of exhibition work (for galleries over here and back in the UK), I’m also working closely on lots of exciting new things for a new store in LA which means I’ll be dividing my time between New York and LA over the next few months (lucky me!!). It’s all very top secret at the moment, but there will be lots of updates on nikipilkington.com very soon, as well as updates on all my other projects and commissions. Look out for lots of new additions to my Etsy store too – I’m bringing out lots of new products very soon.

Interview: Niki Pilkington

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09:48 by Kirsty Vickers Kirsty Vickers