The UK Colour 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 colour 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 750 members.
In June 2018, the Society was granted charity status with the following Object: To promote the art of drawing for the public benefit through the use of colour pencils by providing at least one annual exhibition to showcase work with workshops and demonstrations to help educate the public how to use colour pencils and by providing such other support to educate the public as the trustees deem appropriate.
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.
Colour 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 our exhibitions.
The manufacture of colour 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 'colour pencil' becomes more challenging, but our definition, as specified in our annual exhibition rules, is: "wood-cased, wax- or oil-based colour pencil". Pastel pencils are excluded.
We hold an annual open exhibition with an independent jury selecting the successful entries to the exhibition and a separate judge chooses the award winners.
Members who exhibit in three open annual exhibitions are awarded signature status and are entitled to denote 'UKCPS' after their name.
In 2018 we introduced an annual online exhibition - Inside the Lines - which takes place each December for members only. Since 2020 this is juried and those selected for three years are awarded UKCPSO signature status.
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 link below if you would like to join us.