The UK Coloured Pencil Society (UKCPS) was founded in 2001 by Bob Ebdon, spurred by a letter in A&I magazine from Pat Heffer (who became a founder member, enthusiastic supporter and finally President). A few people sharing their interest of coloured pencil art, who had never met except via the internet, started the Society and it was launched at Patchings Art Centre in Nottinghamshire. The Society has grown over the years: the second issue of the quarterly magazine (September 2001) reported they had just reached the 100 member mark, and now there are just over 500 members.
Three main aims are at the heart of the Society: to promote coloured pencils as a fine art medium, to support UK-based artists who use coloured pencils, and to educate artists and the public in general about coloured pencils. It has enabled professional coloured pencil artists to promote their artistry within this specialisation and share their expertise with amateur members.
All the committee members of the UKCPS are volunteers. The Society co-ordinates local groups around the country, trying to link up members in the same area to meet regularly to encourage use of this medium.
Coloured pencil (CP) is often recognised as an essential tool for the intricacies of botanical, wildlife and animal works, but is now equally widely applied to portraiture, still life and landscapes as well as experimental modern pieces. All subject matter is covered by artists showing at the annual exhibition.
The manufacture of coloured pencils has improved over the years, and there are now many choices of type and colour. The Society does not promote one make of pencil, tool or support material over any other.
Due to new products, defining a ‘coloured pencil’ becomes more challenging, but our definition as specified in our annual exhibition rules is: "wood-cased, wax- or oil-based coloured pencil". Pastel pencils are excluded.
Some of our past winners from our Annual Exhibition
We hold an annual open exhibition, usually in the spring of each year. This has taken place at the Menier Gallery in London for the past two years and will again in 2017. An independent jury of three select the successful entries to the exhibition and a guest judge chooses the awards winners on the opening day.
Members who exhibit in three open annual exhibitions are awarded signature status and are entitled to denote ‘UKCPS’ after their name.
There is no selection process to become a member of the UKCPS. All artists – professional, amateur or beginners – are welcome, and from all over the world, despite the name of the Society. Click on the button below if you would like to join us.