Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks

12 March 2014

Today I'm sharing a scrapbook page using Inktense Pencils and Blocks on card and burlap...

Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks

I started with two pieces of kraft 12" x 12" card; I was using one as my base and one to make a custom paper for my background and to punch the butterflies out of. I set aside my base piece of card and sprayed my custom paper with water, using Inktense Blocks to build up colourful paper - the colours seem to pop even more on kraft card!

Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks

Once it was dry I used it to mount my photo on, creating a border around the edge. I then cut some pieces for layering behind and punched the butterflies out of the left overs (the butterfly punch is a Martha Stewart punch)

I wanted to try using the Inktense onto another material, as I wanted to add some texture into my layout. I used a piece of this 6x6" DCWV burlap paper - this has been matted onto a base paper so it's really easy to use in your crafting! I used a piece of repositionable adhesive to affix it to my desk and masking tape to secure the mask over the top.

Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks

I then lightly misted water through the hearts (don't use too much water or it will blur) and coloured through the stencil using the bright pink Inktense pencil.

Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks

Once this was dry, I assembled my layout, making sure I was happy with the position of everything before adhering it to the base. I stenciled another couple of hearts onto the ledger paper I used (from Basic Grey) I misted them with water and allowed them to blur and drip slightly down the page...

Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks

I used glossy accents to attach my butterflies in the centre, bending the wings up slightly to give them more dimension, then added a doodled border around the edge of the layout.

Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks Scrapbooking with Inktense Pencils & Blocks

I hope you'll give Inktense Blocks & Inktense Pencils a try in your scrapbooking and on different materials! 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

10:30 by Sarah Hurley Sarah Hurley

Meet Derwent's New General Manager

9 March 2014

We'd like to introduce our new General Manager here at Derwent. Simon Wells joined us in January and we took the opportunity to interview him about his new role in the company.

Hi Simon, tell us a little about yourself and how you came to The Cumberland Pencil Company

I was born and educated in the North West and following university education in Dundee, I first moved to work in the Aerospace Industry in Liverpool and then London before joining the NHS in London where I had responsibility for the human resources function supporting women’s and children’s services in a new teaching hospital in Chelsea.

What attracted you to joining the company?

I joined ACCO Europe in 1997 based in the Aylesbury head office and headed up the HR function for the last 16 years mostly as Vice President Human Resources for the European region.

What are you looking forward to bringing to the company?

I have worked with a number of the Derwent team for a significant period of time and have always admired the innovation and creativity within the business and its people. I am looking forward to continuing growth with this great business.

Throughout my career I have always been people centric and believe if you look after the people they will look after you and the business. I am looking forward to working with our exceptional people to deliver an even more rewarding experience to our customers.

Who is your favourite artist?

My favourite artist is a very difficult question to answer. I was astonished at the quality of work submitted by all of those who entered the Derwent Art Prize in 2013 and I am looking forward to the submissions for the 2014 prize. That said, I bought a piece entitled 'Last 3 Remaining' by David Brammeld at the Derwent Art Prize exhibition at the Mall Galleries and this hangs proudly in my office as a testament to the quality of work that can be produced with our products.

Have you got a favourite Derwent product so far?

I am a traditionalist at heart and whilst I am very proud and excited about our new products, my favourite product is the Derwent Artists range followed by the XL Charcoal range. That said, the more you look at the endless possibilities with all of our varied and innovative product offering it is very difficult to choose a personal favourite.

Have you had a chance to explore the products? Will we be seeing an artist emerging?!

I have very limited artistic experience or ability but will be attending some of the art classes offered through our Pencil Museum. That said, my brother is a professional artist and has successfully used our products for many years.

You’ve recently moved up to Cumbria? What are you enjoying about the area?

As a young man from the Fylde Coast I spent a lot of my formative years in Cumbria playing sport and utilising the recreational opportunities available. The area has always held a fascination for me so in part it feels like being home.

14:24 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Tania Dreelinck - artist

6 March 2014

We first saw Tania Dreelink's striking wildlife drawings on Facebook and were struck by the life in her work. Here, Tania tells us about her work and why she loves drawing wildlife.

Tania Dreelinck - artist

Hi Tania. Please tell us a little about yourself and your life as an artist.

I was born and raised in Belgium and I have a big passion for nature and animals.

My full time job is making portraits of pets and I’ve recently started drawing wildlife. It’s my goal to do my first exhibition this year.

How did your interest in drawing begin?

Having been interested with all kind of things to express my creativity since I was a child, I taught myself different kinds of techniques.

That is how I found out I had an affinity with drawing, especially with pencils and from time to time pen and ink drawings.

But the real daily drawing and painting started when I got the opportunity to make exclusive hand-painted eggs for Disneyland Paris and Los Angeles, but I wanted more.

I wanted to be able to draw live animals, in which I could bring out their souls as well. That’s how I started to draw pets for people whose dear ones had passed away or

who wanted to eternalise their best animal friends on paper. And since I’ve always had a huge love for wildlife, I began to make my own drawings and paintings as well. I’d take pictures of those animals that touched me in different ways.

Tania Dreelinck - artist

Have you a favourite animal to draw?

There isn’t one animal in particular; every animal is unique and special in its own way. I choose them according to their way of being.

But if I have to make a choice then my preference goes to African animals such as elephants and rhinos, because of their charisma and their power. As well as the awareness that they deserve, some of them being threatened with extinction.

What are your 3 top tips for drawing animals?

Make sure you do some observing and studying on the animal you are about to draw. So you can let their natural behavior shine through.

If you want to create a real life portrait make sure you have a whole range of colours. Choosing the right colours when making a real life drawing or painting is very important.

Try to make contact with the animal’s soul, so you can bring out its lively true nature.  

Tania Dreelinck - artist

Do you have any advice for someone starting out in drawing?

First of all, work with the material that you are drawn to. Pastel, pencil, oil paint, acrylic etc.

Try to practice as much as possible and don’t be harsh on yourself when it doesn’t immediately work out the way you want it to be.

When you feel you’re “stuck” in a drawing, don’t push it. Put it aside for a while and come back later to it, with a fresh view.

Use quality materials; your final results will be much better and profound.

And last but not least - have fun!


For more info and work please visit my 2 Facebook pages:

Creations of Life – Art from the Heart

Tania Dreelinck: Fine artist

Or my personal websites:


Tania Dreelinck - artist

12:28 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Michael Campion - drawing for charity

3 March 2014

We spoke to Michael Campion of Monochrome Art about using his drawing skills for a good cause. Inspiring!

Charity work is always something that has been close to my heart. If I can help in any small way, then that’s what I will do. I’ve been involved in a couple of things for charity.

The first time it happened was a little bit by accident! Back in 2012 I started a drawing of Brian O’Driscoll. My intention was to sell it off and give the money to charity. However the drawing got damaged and I was unable to finish it. At this stage, Ciaran Kelly from Twitter stepped in. His idea was simple. I would do a drawing of three rugby players and he would get it signed. He would then auction it off and anything raised would go to three charities, Hospice Ireland, SOSAD and Clane rugby club.   

Michael Campion - drawing for charity

That drawing gave me a good feeling and I enjoyed being able to use my talent to make a difference to other people’s lives. A friend of mine asked if I could do something for her charity cricket4cancer (Saint Frances hospice) which she tirelessly fundraises for every year so I gave her a voucher for a commission to be raffled off. The winner was David Smith and he got a drawing of his parents which he was very happy with.

Most recently I got involved with Action Ireland Trust. My sister Laura is involved with the charity and they were looking to raise money at a gala dinner event they were holding. It was set up independently and has recently started work with transition year students. I offered to donate a commission which was auctioned off at their black tie event in the Grand Hotel in Malahide. The commission raised about 10% of the overall amount raised. The money was used to ship equipment to Africa.

Charity work is something that I think we all forget about in these tough times. All it takes is just one kind gesture to make someone else feel good. I’d like to think those on the receiving end of my drawings gain a little happiness and if I can do that and help out a charity at the same time then that makes me very happy too!

To see more of Michael's work visit his Facebook page.

Ireland to ship equipment to Africa. 

11:00 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Interview: Dino Tomic

24 February 2014

We had the pleasure of interviewing artist Dino Tomic about his work as an artist. Here, he answers a few questions for us:

Interview: Dino Tomic

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Dino Tomic and I was born in Croatia but I’ve lived in Norway since I was 14. I’ve just turned 25 years old. I have a Bachelors’ degree in arts and I work full time as a tattoo artist in my own shop in Notodden, Norway.

When did you start drawing?

I’ve always liked to draw; when I was small I was always doodling on everything. But at the age of 16-18 I really started focusing on art. From that point on I almost never had a day that I did not draw something. I set myself a goal to do a drawing /painting/tattoo a day… I’ve kept that going now for many years.

Your family portrait series is fantastic. What challenges did you face when drawing these pieces?

Thank you. Well everything was a challenge and that’s a good thing. If you get too comfortable with what you are doing you stop getting better (that’s how I feel) and this is why I’m always up for a challenge.  There is no better way to prove your skills than working on a large scale with colour pencils. I also quickly noticed that I would need to mix other media into the project to make it work, like acrylic and dry chalk.

There was a lot of trial and error, but that is the fun part of it. You learn from the mistakes you make, and use them to your advantage.

Interview: Dino Tomic

What did your family think of the pieces?

Well only my Mom and Dad have seen them. My grandparents live in Croatia so they haven’t had a chance to see them yet. Right now I’m working on my last large scale portrait and when it’s done I’ll try to see if I can find a gallery in Croatia that I can send it to so that they have the chance to see it.

Who or what inspires your work?

I have a huge list of artists. But the real inspiration comes from knowing that other artists work as hard as I do.  Everyone who has mastered their craft gives me inspiration. Just looking at what people do and knowing how much knowledge and years of hard work goes into it, gives me huge inspiration.

Which is your favourite piece of work and why?

I can’t say which one is my favorite. But the ones I’m most proud of are the large scale family portraits I’m doing. Just the amount of time it takes me to complete them, I get very attached to them and I feel like I’m giving everything I have and more to make them perfect.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in drawing?

Don’t give up. And practice. Set yourself a goal and don’t get distracted. Use YouTube, there is more than enough good videos out there that you can learn everything you need to know.

You’re also a tattoo artist – do you find it easy to translate your drawings into tattoos?

No I don’t. Skin is a medium which is very hard to work on, it has a lot of restrictions. I’m thinking of stopping my tattoo career and I will try to focus on drawings/ paintings.

It is fun, but you need to be very social to work in the tattoo industry, and I like my space and freedom when I’m creating art.

Interview: Dino Tomic

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on my grandmother. And this is the last large drawing I was going to do. But I will probably do one self-portrait in the same scale, after I finish my grandmother.

What does the future hold for your art?

I’ve got my next project planned out. I’m keeping it a secret. So if you want to know what it is you will need to follow me on Facebook /Instagram /DeviantArt.

But I will say this. It will be the biggest and most demanding project that I’ve created until now. And after I’ve finished it, it will blow people away (or that’s the plan) not just because of how much work I will add into it but also who I will paint.

I’ll take my time and work hard and have a positive mind about it and about what the future will bring.


13:49 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Art Prize 2014 Judge: Josh Spero

11 February 2014

We're featuring the new Derwent Art Prize judges for 2014 on our blog over the next few weeks. Here, Josh Spero tells us about himself and his thoughts on the Prize.

Art Prize 2014 Judge: Josh Spero

Would you like tell us about your background?

After studying Classics, when I stupidly didn’t do any of the art papers, I came back to London to do a journalism postgraduate course. One of my good friends was working at an art PR firm and he invited me to plenty of private views, so I started to get around the London scene a bit. I then joined Spear’s in 2008 and since we’re a magazine for high net worths, art (and the art market) plays a big role; I’ve interviewed artists, gallerists, fair organisers, art advisers, art investors and lots of others here. In 2012, Tatler asked me to be their art critic, which I very much enjoy doing too, since I get to range across all eras, media and schools of art.

This is the second year of the Derwent Art Prize – did you feel particularly drawn to any of last years’ shortlisted works?

Art Prize 2014 Judge: Josh Spero

Chrys Allen: Walk in Progress: Koli, winner of the Derwent Art Prize 2013

Chrys Allen’s scrolls were an intriguing use of pencils – the scrolls suggested narrative, Japanese influences, an unrolling mystery. Liz Collini’s faint words (‘You would have loved it’) looked like a love letter crossed with an architectural drawing. Justin Harris’ otherwise banal scenes were given life and texture all with the use of a simple pencil. And I liked Kieran Ingram’s skeleton which seemed to be evaporating out of (or into) a vortex behind it. 

Art Prize 2014 Judge: Josh Spero

Art Prize 2014 Judge: Josh Spero

Top left: Kieran Ingram, Gorget & Pauldron. Top right: Justin Harris, Homestudy 3. Bottom: Liz Collini, Construction II. Shortlisted entries to the Derwent Art Prize 2013.

What will you be looking for when judging the 2014 Derwent Art Prize?

I think my criteria are quite diverse and probably irreconcilable: I like works which are more conceptual or suggestive or fantastic, but then there is always wonder in a simple scene perfectly executed.

Do you enjoy drawing yourself?

I haven’t drawn much, but an hour spent in front of a Henry Moore at Tate Modern was well spent. I did get told afterwards I shouldn’t have drawn the outlines and then shaded inside, which taught me. I wish I could draw better, but then I should practise more.

What advice would you give to those wishing to enter the Prize this year?

Do your best! That’s all.

To enter the Derwent Art Prize 2014, please visit for more information.

12:05 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Pera Maro - surrealist artist

3 February 2014

We had the pleasure of interviewing Pera Maro for the blog! We love her quirky, colourful style. Learn more about Pera:

Pera Maro - surrealist artist

Hello Pera, please tell us a little about yourself

I live in Slovenia. I studied fashion design, but always preferred painting and drawing rather than designing clothes. Currently I'm finishing a postgraduate Master of Arts degree specialising in Surrealism. About two years ago I decided that art has to be my profession. Before that I was working in two cultural institutions, but on the other side from artists; I was the one who organised exhibitions of their art projects.

My father had a great artistic side and when his other work allowed him free time, he made wonderful sculptures and paintings, which I cherish the most, so I must have been born this way.

Pera Maro - surrealist artist

We just love your surreal and imaginative style – how did you develop this style?

Inspirations for drawings are the result of my colourful imagination; sometimes they also develop during the drawing process when I enter inside a new blank white canvas or they appear out of nowhere. The ideas come to me very spontaneously, for example, I can watch a tennis game and get inspiration for my next painting. I just adore colour pencils, nevertheless I also like the smell of oil paints. It’s hard to explain how I’ve developed my style; I think it’s just me, and I’m glad if people see it as unique because that gives me some kind of signature.

Pera Maro - surrealist artist

What is your favourite thing to draw?

I like to draw surreal human creatures, animals and landscapes. I also like to explore surreal fairy tale interactions between humans and animals. With my visual images I like to present happiness, melancholy, fear and other emotions and unrealised wishes that people might have.

Do you have a piece of work which is your favourite?

All are my favourites; every single one has a story of its own, and it’s quite hard to part from them.

What advice would you give to people wishing to explore their imaginative side?

To nurture and cherish your inner world, to let emotions overwhelm you sometimes and not to be afraid of solitude, because it may bring your playful imagination out of nowhere.


Thanks so much Pera for sharing your work with us. To find out more about Pera, why not visit her on Facebook?

Pera Maro - surrealist artist

10:12 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Macmillan Coffee Morning

28 January 2014

Whether it's a Victoria sponge or a gooey chocolate brownie, everyone adores cake! Which is why we held a Macmillan Coffee Morning at the end of December here at Derwent.

All the staff pulled together baking some magnificently indulgent goodies for the whole factory!

We made £270 for Macmillan from selling the cakes as well as having a collection instead of sending out Christmas cards! Thanks also to our parent company ACCO for matching our donation -in total we gave £539.45 to the charity.

Here's a few snaps from the event - it was a fabulous morning and we were very, very full!


Macmillan Coffee Morning

Macmillan Coffee Morning

08:00 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Steve Morris - an interview

23 January 2014

We're starting a series of interviews with a wide range of Derwent users who got in touch through social media. We aim to shed some light on our customers and to give an insight into professional and amateur artists alike!

Here, Steve Morris has kindly agreed to chat to us about how he uses drawing to help cope with a long term illness.

Hello Steve! Tell us a little about yourself:

To start with, I’m 55 years old and I live in Bewdley, Worcestershire. Whilst drawing has always been my hobby since childhood, I grew up to be a builder/joiner and cabinet maker to name but a few of my trades.

Some years ago I was diagnosed with MS which has a tendency to stop you in your tracks and listen to what’s important in life and the things you hear can be pleasant sometimes and make you take note of what you can and cannot do anymore.

Building has gone now (which used to keep my creative side busy) to be replaced with my long term love....drawing!

Steve Morris - an interview

When did you start drawing?

Since I was at junior school I have been interested in drawing and my fondest memories include a huge picture of rabbits that the teachers let me do as part of a play backdrop. I can still recall it today.

But my serious side took off about 7-8 years ago after discovering my limits due to the MS.

How do you feel drawing helps with your health problems?

It seemed as though I was being told to take time out and use the gift I was given; the gift to create something with my own hands, as thankfully the only part of me not too affected by the MS is my right hand. So glad I’m not a leftie!

Whilst I don't have much patience when it comes to life, when it comes to drawing or sculpting then I have all the patience in the world.

My art takes me away from reality and into my own world, the world that I create and control and not the other way round.

The normal aches and pains that go with living don’t hinder me in any way when I’m sat drawing so there is relief for me through art both mentally and physically.

Steve Morris - an interview

What is your favourite subject to draw?

My favourite subject to draw used to be landscapes, especially trees. I loved the texture and the grittiness of an old tree that showed the tests of time. I suppose that I can understand how they must feel being stuck in the ground, anchored to a way of life that's not of their choosing but adapting to what life has thrown their way.

Recently, thanks once again to Derwent, I have discovered Pastels, which has led me to doing portraits of pets such as cats and dogs of which I have already done a few commissions; with one of them being in the US.

Have you any tips for other people wanting to learn to draw?

My tips for drawing...where to start? Don’t be afraid! Remember that this is ONLY a drawing when all is said and done and if you do it with the correct pencils and you don’t press on the surface too hard you can always erase it. Life will carry on! Also, DRAW WHAT YOU SEE. Don’t draw it as you think it should be. Instead use a sheet of paper to rest your drawing hand on and cover up most of the picture so that you only see what you have achieved AFTER you have drawn it, that way you won’t be tempted to make it up.

What is your favourite medium to draw with?

My favourite medium has always been graphite. Until now. Since discovering Pastels I find I’m torn between the two right now so a marriage of both will work for me.

What is your favourite piece of work?

My favourite piece would have to be a drawing I did a couple of years ago of a place in Ludlow, Worcestershire in an area known as Mill on the Green. When I first drew this piece I had a print made of it and then used charcoal on it to add depth, contrast and a lovely black tone that I couldn’t give to it before the printing process due to the fact that charcoal will not lay on graphite. It’s kind of like trying to draw on glass.

Steve Morris - an interview

Thanks so much to Steve for the interview. To see more of his work, visit Steve's Facebook page:


15:46 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Derwent at In The Making at the Design Museum

22 January 2014

Derwent is taking part in an exhibition at the Design Museum, London called In The Making.

In The Making, curated by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby from BarberOsgerby, captures over twenty objects mid-manufacture, putting the aesthetic of the unfinished centre stage. Varying from the £2 coin to our very own pencils, a surprising range of objects have been chosen to be exhibited in an incomplete state, celebrating the intriguing beauty of the production process.

Derwent at In The Making at the Design Museum

Edward and Jay said ‘We have always been fascinated by the making process as it is an integral part of our work. We have curated an exhibition that will provide a platform to capture and reveal a frozen moment in the manufacturing process and unveils an everyday object in its unfinished state. Often the object is as beautiful, if not more so, than the finished product!'

We have to agree! Below are some of the exhibits in their half-made state.


Derwent at In The Making at the Design Museum


Derwent at In The Making at the Design Museum

In The Making runs from 22nd January until 4th May, 2014.

For more information visit:

12:36 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson