Creative World, Frankfurt 2013

30 January 2013

Derwent has just returned from a successful exhibition at Creative World in Frankfurt, Germany. Each year we attend this exhibition to show just what we have on offer for the coming year. Our exciting new products were on display and were very well received!

Creative World, Frankfurt 2013

Emma Chapman, Derwent's Marketing Communications Manager said ‘It is always daunting when first arriving on our stand at Frankfurt, facing only empty walls and shelves and 4-5 pallets of product and equipment.  Still, every year we manage to ‘pull it out of the bag’ and turn a blank canvas into an exciting and inspiring showcase for our fabulous products.  It is always a pleasure to see our customers amazed at how the stand looks and to be able to show them face to face what else we have developed this year as part of our product portfolio, when surely, there is nothing else left for Derwent to think up!’

We had our artist, Dee Cowell, on the stand who demonstrated the new products and answered any questions customers had. It's so important to be able to see the products in use as it shows their full potential!

We're looking forward to revealing our new products to you in the coming year - so keep your eyes peeled!

Creative World, Frankfurt 2013

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10:10 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Interview: Graham Bradshaw

1 October 2012

We came across Graham Bradshaw's work online and since then have been so impressed with his attention to detail and creativity in his drawings. We asked Graham to answer a few questions about his life and work:

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Liverpool but we moved away when I was very young. I was raised in a small village called Chinnor in Oxfordshire. Chinnor sits right on the edge of the Chilterns & is a really nice place to grow up; home to all my childhood memories. I now live in Rugby, Warwickshire with my wife, three children & a loopy German Shepherd. I work full time as a Team Leader for a company called Cemex which has  long 12 hour shifts but lots of time off in between. I’ve always been very hands on & mechanically minded, fixing, designing & making things has always played a part in my line of work. My favourite subjects at school where always Art, Woodwork & Metalwork. Drawing is something I do in my spare time; usually late at night when all the kids are asleep. Sometimes I’ll be up until the early hours because that’s the only time I get to draw. I find drawing very relaxing & once the headphones are on, the pencils come out & the iPod’s set to shuffle I’ll drift off into my own world & lose myself for while.

Interview: Graham Bradshaw

How would you describe your work?

I feel that my work is very much like every other graphite portrait artist. This is something I’d like to break away from rather than continuously drawing portraits of celebs, people’s family members & animals.  Please don’t get me wrong as I do enjoy drawing these things but I’d like to start combining ideas and making my work different if that makes sense. The drawing ‘Lost in a dream’ was my first attempt at breaking away from the normal. Although surreal, the drawing still holds a realistic vibe. I think the best way to describe my work at the moment is ‘evolving’.

How did you start out as an artist?

I began drawing at a very early age. At first I drew cartoons that I’d send in to Phillip Schofield. Phillip was really cool! He showed two of my cartoons on his children’s show on CBBC & also read out my name twice. The first cartoon was Scooby Doo & the other was Count Duckula. I received a letter & badge from the BBC to say thanks for sending in the drawings. I was really chuffed about it & remember wearing my badge to school every day for weeks. It wasn’t until I was twelve that I discovered my ability to draw people. It sounds bad but I stole my brother’s Derwent pencils & FHM magazine to draw Sherilyn Fenn. It was kind of accidental really but that’s where it all started I guess.

Interview: Graham Bradshaw

How has your style evolved over the years?

From the age of 18 I gave up drawing for years. My parents always told me I had a wasted talent but you know what it’s like being young; all I wanted to do was hang out with my mates & party. I’d draw the odd picture from time to time but never really took it anywhere. In my twenties I spent a lot of my time learning how to play guitar. I got good on guitar but I always knew I’d never be as good at that as I was at drawing. In 2010 I decided to start drawing again & began sharing my work online. I’m constantly competing against myself with every piece I draw striving to make every drawing better than my last. Back in 2010 my work was soft & lacked depth.  Over the last two years my style has become a lot more detailed, accurate & realistic but most importantly it has depth. I now know the exact pencil grades that suit my style & the paper I need to use; back in 2010 I didn’t have a clue & was still experimenting.

Do you have your own studio? How have you made the space work for you & your creativity?

I don’t have a studio as such but I do have a room that I share with my German Shepherd who snores a lot. In the room I have a large angled art desk that has a massive canvas of New York City above it. I love New York, it fascinates me, unfortunately I’ve never been there but it’s always been on my ‘to do’ list.

What is your favourite piece of work and why?

That would have to be ‘Lost in a Dream’ simply because it’s the first time I’ve really let myself go creatively. The drawing is a concept rather than just copying from a photograph.

Interview: Graham Bradshaw


Who or what inspires your work?

I’m inspired by a lot of things but mainly my kids. They often ask if they can see my drawings & if I’m drawing one of them they get really excited. Music inspires me a lot & listening to my iPod while I draw is a MUST! I can’t draw without music. If I’m having a tough time with a drawing I’ll change tracks to get a more uplifting tune which drives me to keep going. Artists who inspire me are Hyper-Realism artists such as Paul Cadden. I’d like to become Hyper-Realistic in my drawings but what I don’t want to do is copy another artist’s style. Finding my own direction & having my own ideas is my main goal as an artist. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to become an artist?

I’d tell them that there’s no such thing as one big break! The only reality in art is hard work. If you’re serious about becoming an artist then you’ll get your rewards, but if there ever comes a time when you stop enjoying what you do... give up! 

What are the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of being an artist?

Wow that’s a tough question because there’re so many. The best feeling is completing a commission that the owner loves & gets emotional over.  Then there’s the sense of achievement when you’ve completed a piece, the moment when you stand away from the art board for a while & admire your work from a distance. I also love it when you’re in the process of drawing & you get that feeling that it’s going better than you expected. Posting your new piece on Facebook & sitting there refreshing the page to see how many people have liked it; sad I know but any artist who doesn’t admit to doing this is a liar.

Posting on Facebook isn’t just exciting but it’s also a very nervous time for an artist. The most rewarding part is all the amazing people & other artists I’ve met since sharing my work online. One of my most memorable moments was when my artwork was seen by a member of the film industry. I was invited to Pinewood studios for the day to visit sets for The Da Vinci Code & Children Of Men. The Da Vinci Code was amazing; I don’t want to ruin it for people but they couldn’t get permission to film inside the real Louvre in Paris so they recreated the entire gallery at Pinewood. There was still blood on the floor when I went in because they’d filmed the opening scene the morning I was there. I wasn’t supposed to see the set because I was actually on my way to meet Tom Hanks. Tom wasn’t available because he was filming on another stage at the time so the guy I was with asked if I’d like to see The Louvre instead. I never did get to meet Mr Hanks but that day still remains one of the best days of my life thanks to my artwork. There’s more but I’ll let you (Derwent) reveal that when you’re ready.

Interview: Graham Bradshaw

What are your top tips for budding pencil artists?

My main tip is to be patient; never rush and always believe in your ability. If you ever get tired or start to struggle leave it alone & come back to it later. You’ll always see your drawing from a different prospective when you’ve been away from it for a while. As for techniques I’ve found that a tortillion (smudge stick) works great for accurate detail & blending. I often get asked how I keep the paper so clean. Most artists already know this but for those of you just starting out, try using a blank piece of paper to mask out the areas where you place your hand during drawing, that way you won’t smudge your work.

Thanks so much to Graham for sharing his thoughts with us. Find out more about Graham and his work by visiting:

www.grahamb-artist.com

www.twitter.com/grahambartist

www.facebook.com/grahambartist

Comments
09:00 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Alex Farthing: Memories

6 July 2012

Alex Farthing: Memories

We're featuring members of the Cumberland Pencil Company every few weeks to share their memories and experiences with the company.

Next is Alex Farthing, Pencil Museum Manager:

Can you give a description of your role in the Company?

I manage the Cumberland Pencil Museum, where I am responsible for the overall visit for the customer and the welfare of the team, the marketing and PR of the Museum and the expansion and growth of the business.

I joined the company 5 years ago. Over these years I have added Sketchers coffee shop, an annual program of free and paid artist workshop events, added a family membership club and introduced ‘Drew the Giant’, a friendly giant who owns the World’s Longest Coloured Pencil.

This year, I introduced an enhanced exhibition, giving a new insight into the company’s secret WW2 pencil gadget.

Alex Farthing: Memories

What do you like to do away from work?

It is 5pm on a Friday evening and my Husband has arrived at the Pencil Museum to pick me up in our campervan. We travel to the South Lakes to one of our favourite campsites, Low Wood, near Kendal, Skelwith Fold, near Hawkshead, or a hidden gem Park Coppice with direct access to Lake Coniston.

We arrive, Stephens plugs in the electric, I swivel my passenger seat around, reach into the fridge, pull out a chilled bottle of Chardonnay, and my weekend begins.

Saturday morning, scrambled eggs and crispy bacon served in bed; ultimate indulgence! Then put on our cycling gear, get on our mountain bikes and head for the amazing lanes and country off-road tracks around the Lakes.

Sunday comes too soon, but on our journey back to the North Lakes we can quite often be found in Zefferellies, in Ambleside sampling my favourite pizza, hand made with feather light dough and topped with ricotta cheese and wild rocket.

Moving to the Lakes had always been a dream, sometimes I have to pinch myself that the dream has turned into a reality.

What special memories do you have with the Company?

When I first joined the Company the Pencil Museum employed just 6 people, after the first 18 months I had managed to expand the business to support another 4 full time positions. Those first 18 months were very difficult. I really had to push the staff and develop them into a strong team and finally 2 years on, after huge changes within their role and expectations of them, I felt they were ready to go for an award, Tourism Team of the Year.

The Cumbria Tourism Awards ceremony is a black tie affair; all 10 of the team came along. The evening was just glorious; it was the middle of May at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, glass of champagne in our hands overlooking the mountains wearing our newly bought dresses.

The awards begin. Our award is the 7th one to be given out and we are up against 3 other businesses. The tension was immense. The host read out the four names of the businesses; my heart was pounding so hard in my chest, the winning team are…The Cumberland Pencil Museum team!

My team are strong, enthusiastic, determined ladies and a massive roar of “YES!!!”, was yelled in the air and we all stood on the stage together and collected the award.

It cemented the team together, and was such a milestone and turning point for the rest of the journey that I had still to take the team on. Today 4 years on, the team of 10 are now 12 and they grow in enthusiasm and skill each month. I am so very proud of my team. They consist of 12 customer focused, enthusiastic individuals. What more can a manager ask for.

If I asked that question to my team they would laugh and say I would definitely think of something!

Alex Farthing: Memories

Thanks to Alex for sharing her memories. Visit www.pencilmuseum.co.uk for more info on the Museum.

Comments
10:51 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Developing a Personal Style

18 November 2011

A guest blog from Lina Maria Carrillo on developing a personal style as an artist.

Developing a Personal Style

I have loved to draw ever since I can remember. Looking back at my work, I can see how I have gradually developed my own style as an artist. When flipping through my sketchbooks now, I laugh how many identical swans a 4 year old could possible draw over and over again. I like to hope that this level of persistence and commitment some day will serve me well in my artistic career. Later on, I have also cringed at some styles I have experimented with, particularly my naked life-drawing phase!

I think this is basically the same story for every person who likes to draw; we each like to hope that our work has evolved over time and stands out in our own way.

I believe the best way to develop our own artistic identity is to follow what we love. If you love to draw realistic, abstract or even finger paint, go for it!. There is no use trying to emulate someone else’s style, as at the end of the day our best work should clearly reflect who we are as an artist and our love for art.

At a personal level, now that my passion has turned into more of a career, I have to think about whether my work is pleasing to the audience’s eye, whether it is commercial enough to be used for advertisement purposes, and most importantly, whether it is effective in putting my point across. Having my own blog pushes me to come up with new ideas every week. I experiment with new techniques with digital media; I like to play around with my watercolors to create patterns that I can scan and play around with on my computer.

Eventually, when a stranger can pick my work out of others because it has my personal touch, this is something I definitely strive for. Developing my own style seems to be a continuous evolution but I am happy to forever be learning new methods and techniques. This is what I love most about being an artist!

Lina Maria Carrillo

Paperplaneslmc.blogspot.com

Developing a Personal Style

Developing a Personal Style

Comments
11:26 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Sketching & Design: a Perfect Combination

18 August 2011

Sketching & Design: a Perfect Combination

We asked world-renowned web designer Grace Smith to tell us a little about how she uses sketching to develop ideas for her design work.

Sketching & Design: a Perfect Combination

Sketching isn't optional for me as a designer, it's essential. I can't go straight to digital at the start of a project, I always start off with some browser templates or Moleskine (and a few Derwent pencils!)

Sketching kick-starts my creativity and allows me to get ideas out on paper and is the fastest way to brainstorm and convey as many ideas as possible with the least amount of effort.

Process

Staring at a blank Photoshop canvas is not a great way to start a project. Although it may sound exciting to just jump straight in, it can also be quite overwhelming. Sketching gets you over this hurdle and allows you to quickly explore concepts and ideas. I see it as the frame upon which I craft my projects.

Whether it's a website design, logo design or iPhone app design, it all begins with a pencil and paper. Sketching enables me to break down ideas and fully explore design and layout options and I find putting it down on paper tends to raise questions and ideas, and leads to changes.

I focus on wireframing and layout when sketching for Web Design and iPhone UI Design, looking at the overall picture instead of minor details too early in the process. I usually start by jotting down the main points and goals of a project on a separate page, which I can then quickly refer back to when I'm sketching.

This is the exact process I used when redesigning my own site - Postscript5, which was recently relaunched. Brainstorming ideas and sketching out layouts for each area of the site led me down some creative avenues I wouldn't have experimented with had I not taken the time to sketch!

I sketch quickly and freely as I'm not concerned with how it looks but on developing and exploring ideas. Plus usually no one but you sees the sketches so don't get caught up in  trying to draw a masterpiece!

My process for Logo Design differs slightly in that the sketches are scanned and digitally treated (in Photoshop or Illustrator). However before the sketches are treated they are shown to the client for feedback and revised, only at this point are they then scanned and given a design treatment. This allows for quick iteration and feedback and makes for a much more efficient design process.

Benefits

As you begin sketching at the start of a project, you soon discover potential obstacles and problems that you may not have seen until much later in the design phase. I've therefore found that while the approach may differ slightly on each project, sketching has cut down dramatically on revisions later in the design stage.

As a designer it now means huge amounts of time aren't invested in refining concepts and solutions which may not be in the right direction, as the sketch (or a sketch turned into a wireframe) can be shown to the client, for approval.

Resources

1. Sketching Resources for User Experience Designers

2. To Sketch or not to Sketch

3. Collection of Printable Browser and Wireframe Sketching Templates

4. An in-depth look at my Wireframing process

Conclusion

Too many people get hung up on not being able to draw, but great drawing skill isn’t necessary to capture your ideas. Sketching should be fast and loose, you're not trying to recreate a Picasso, it’s about transferring ideas from your brain to paper.

It's the place where you make your mistakes and your discoveries and lay the foundations of your ideas.

Now excuse me while I go and grab my Derwent Pencils and Moleskine and get sketching!

Sketching & Design: a Perfect Combination

Bio

Grace Smith is the principal designer of Postscript5, a small, boutique web design studio based in Northern Ireland, where she works with clients from around the globe.

Comments
11:38 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Interview: Robin Grenville Evans

9 August 2011

Interview: Robin Grenville Evans

Please tell us a little about yourself

I’m Robin Grenville Evans,  known to many people as ‘Evsie’ (Pronounced Ev-zee, not Eve-zee), which is how I sign many of my cartoons. I live with my little family in Kendal and I enjoy being middle aged.

What inspires you and your work?

It depends what I’m doing. Because I’m always working on something, I’m always inspired. For cartoons, ideas come to me sometimes from real life situations and conversations. If I’m doing something in a fantasy or science fiction vein, I look very close up at plants, insects and rocks – ordinary things can become very otherworldly. I’m not a ‘serious’ artist, I think. I draw to entertain firstly myself, and then anyone else who happens to like what I do.

How and when did you start drawing?

I understand I was drawing recognisable objects – such as steam trains – when I was about two, but I can’t swear to that. I know I spent most of my childhood writing and drawing comic strips, and it was I confess a world I escaped into. I still have a lot of these, and, looking at them now, it’s clear that I really needed some kind of guidance. Lots of energy and imagination, but no discipline. Pretty much the same today!

Interview: Robin Grenville Evans


What are the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of being an artist?

If I want to see a picture, I can take a pencil and a sheet of paper, and I can create that picture. People say I’m too critical of my own work, but I have to be – however, I do like a lot of my own drawings and paintings. I love being able to draw, and I never take it for granted. 

What aspects of your personality, if any, are reflected in your work?

I’ve had people say that a lot of my cartoon characters (even animal ones) look and act a bit like me. Such personality as I have is mostly learned from my own creations, so you might say that my work is reflected in me, rather than the other way around. This may be because I’ve often had characters saying and doing things that I’m not quick-witted or brave enough to, and over the years,  some of it is rubbing off. I’ve only just thought of that, but I think it’s true.

Interview: Robin Grenville Evans


What would be your advice for someone starting out in drawing?

Firstly, never take advice from a cartoonist!  Secondly, if you’re a young person, don’t suddenly drop it when you leave school.  o many people stop drawing when they turn about 15, and don’t take it up again until they retire.  If you’re good at it, or, more importantly, if you enjoy it, always have access to the simplest drawing materials, and there will never, ever be a reason to be bored. There is a living to be made from it, but I took a strange and bumpy route, and so I can’t offer anything very sensible on that subject.

 

Thanks so much to Robin for agreeing to be interviewed. Robin is one of a group of fantastic artists who hold family fun days at the Pencil Museum. Events are constantly taking place at the Museum so check the website for up to date info: www.pencilmuseum.co.uk. The drawing below is one of 3 of the winners of the Name Our Giant competition - here's Drew with one of the winners! Drew can be found in the Museum - see if you can spot him and his various memorabilia (coming soon!)

For more information on Robin and his work please visit: www.grenville-evans.co.uk

Interview: Robin Grenville Evans

Interview: Robin Grenville Evans

Comments
11:43 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Book Review: The Drawing Bible

3 August 2011

Book Review: The Drawing Bible

 

Having not drawn much since University, it got me wondering how easy it would be to pick up the craft once more. I have a basic level of understanding when it comes to sketching etc but I really wanted to learn a little more.

There are hundreds of drawing books on the market so I decided to choose a comprehensive guide, which encompasses many skills and techniques. The Drawing Bible by Marylin Scott (Search Press, 2005) promises to be ‘An essential reference for the practicing artist.’ Notice the word ‘practicing’ there. I must admit I was initially worried about being very much a beginner but decided to give the book a whirl.

Much to my surprise the contents were easily accessible with a clear contents area broken down into informative headings such as ‘Choosing and using materials’ and ‘Subjects’. The materials pages for example, were packed full of photos and an extensive range of products you can use to draw, such as pencils (of course!), waterproof inks and even how to make your own oil charcoal. I did feel spoilt for choice at this stage!

One of the most useful aspects of the book was the sections that showed techniques for each type of drawing material. I enjoyed practicing the skills taught such as cross hatching for pencils and blending with pastels. These techniques are so important to master as they are the basis of all drawing and the book covered these skills thoroughly.

Book Review: The Drawing Bible

 

Once I found my grounding in the techniques I moved on to the ‘Further Techniques’ section. This was exciting for me as it meant I could begin tackling a ‘real’ drawing and not just little hatches and scribbles on a scrap of paper! There are various sections such as ‘Line and Wash’, ‘Sgraffito’ and ‘Masking’ all of which were well explained and beautifully illustrated with clear photographs. This area of the book is perfect for even the most developed artist – there really is something for everyone!

The final section of the book is ‘Subjects’ and believe me, there is a wide range of subjects to master. My favourite study area is animals so I decided to develop my knowledge in this field. I used some of the skills I’d learned in the previous sections in the book to draw a frog. Despite not having drawn for many years I was really surprised at how easy I found it. Using 2B and 4H pencils I used a ‘Stippling’ technique to create areas of shade and texture on the bumpy skin of my frog. I also used a ‘Masking’ technique on his eye area to create highlights.


Book Review: The Drawing Bible

 

Overall I loved this handy book. The contents were clearly displayed and the sections colour referenced for ease of use. It’s a fantastic book for dipping in and out of or as a handbook for taking out and about. With the wide range of easy to follow techniques and varied subject matters, it really is an essential book for both amateur and professional.

The Drawing Bible, by Marylin Scott (ISBN: 978-1-84448-094-4) is available from all good retailers RRP: £12.99

 

Comments
09:35 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Featured Artist: Karen Middleton

27 July 2011

Here at Derwent, we're always impressed by quirky drawings. Karen Middleton creates beautiful, ethereal drawings that inspire people.

What do you think? For more information, why not visit: www.karenmiddletonillustration.co.uk or www.pencilportraitart.mosaicglobe.com

 

Featured Artist: Karen Middleton

Featured Artist: Karen Middleton

Featured Artist: Karen Middleton

Comments
12:14 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Another Large Pencil!

13 July 2011

Another Large Pencil!

I came across a story about the World's Longest Pencil in St Louis; how impressive! It measures an enormous 76 feet, including 2½ feet for the eraser and was made in 2007. Here's some facts about it:

1. The Pencil contains 4,000 lbs of Pennsylvania graphite.
2. It took 3 weeks, and over 7,000 man-hours to complete.
3. This Pencil is the equivalent of 1,900,000 regular pencils.
4. The Eraser is rubber (yes it erases) and weighs in at 250 lbs.

The Pencil Museum in Keswick has the World's Longest Coloured Pencil which really deserves a visit too!

Comments
14:43 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson

Volunteering with African Impact

13 June 2011

Alison Spratley who works here at Derwent has described how much volunteering and providing pencils to orphaned children in St Lucia meant to her:

My dream was one day to volunteer abroad and work with young children.

Research led me to an organisation called African Impact and The Happy Africa Foundation (THAF), an organisation who are dedicated to sustainable change and progress for underprivileged communities in Eastern and Southern Africa.

I secured a place on the Orphan Day Care and HIV Education project in St Lucia SA. 

On my arrival the team at African Impact made me feel very welcome and in no time at all, we were planning my schedule of work for the coming weeks with my fellow volunteers. We were involved in various community projects, looking after and teaching young Zulu children at three different crèches, managing Holiday and After School clubs, providing HIV education, gardening or working on the 10 families projects.

Many of the schools and crèches in Khula and Eswenalisha are poorly funded and seriously lacking in resources.  Some of the most basic facilities are missing from crèches and classrooms. African Impact wants to help ensure that every child can be cared for and educated in a safe and sanitary environment, whilst benefitting from the facilities that most of us take for granted.

Before leaving the UK I wanted to organise as many donations as possible, and was overwhelmed by the generosity of my work colleagues and friends.

Derwent kindly donated a large quantity of pencils and accessories.  With the support of my work colleagues and Bill Bailey from Rexel South Africa the Derwent donations were delivered safely to African Impact. With the pencils provided the children demonstrated how creative and expressive they could be with their drawings and colouring.

Volunteering with African Impact

I would like to thank Derwent, Bill (Rexel SA) and my friends for their kindness and support for such a good cause.  

I was touched and inspired by the children of Khula, many of whom melted your heart with their cheeky grin, lovely smiles and loveable nature.  A lot of the young children are orphans and looked after by their grandparents, therefore the work that African Impact does is vital to their daily lives, giving them an opportunity to learn, be loved, and feel safe in their environment.

My time in St Lucia was truly an amazing experience, worthwhile and very rewarding, but most of all it made me realise the importance of helping others less fortunate than myself. Without organisations like African Impact you can’t image what some of the children and families have to endure on a daily basis.  Therefore it is important for me to continue supporting African Impact by doing what I can here in the UK.

If you are interested in the progress of African Impact SA please visit their website to find out more, http://africanimpact.com or visit them on Facebook  

Before leaving the UK a friend said to me “that if everyone of us gave up 3 weeks in our lifetime, what a difference we could make in the world”.  On that note, I hope to one day return to Africa, where I can try to make that difference!

Volunteering with African Impact

Comments
14:20 by Rebecca Watson Rebecca Watson