Open to all everyone, from beginners through too familiar and advanced users, this 10-week course will explore the full potential of coloured pencils.
From preliminary sketches right through to final composition, participants will be individually guided through a range of core pencil principles such as line variation, colour grounding and tonal detailing. With the option of working from still life, personal reference and/or imagination, you will experiment with a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques including burnishing, sgraffito, impressing, gradients, pressure shading, crosshatching, stumbling and stippling.
Through these activities, participants will not only build technical skill and improve creative confidence, but also produce an extensive collection of unique, high-quality works that highlight the inventive capabilities of this humble, yet incredibly dynamic artistic medium.
A recommended material list will be provided before the course, however individuals are welcome to bring along existing items from their own collection.
Tutor's Suggested Materials
Below is an extensive list of recommended items, feel free to choose according to your own budget, it is worth noting that better prices may be found on alternative websites or even in high-street retailers and craft stores (I’ve listed some below). Please don’t feel the need to spend a lot of money on materials, there is no need to purchase large pencil sets or every type of paper – aim for quality over quantity.
To maximise learning and experimentation, I would encourage participants to have both wax-based and oil-based pencils. While there isn’t a drastic difference in their use, they have individual qualities. Wax-based pencils are great for blending whereas oil-based pencils are excellent for laying colour and adding fine detail (both can be used together). I have included watercolour pencils in the list; however, these are completely optional.
I have * items that may help those who are total newcomers to coloured pencils and appropriate papers.
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Paper Pad (270gsm – heavy) *
- Fabriano Academia Drawing Paper A4 (160gsm – medium)
- Daler-Rowney Cartridge Fine Grain A3 (120gsm – light)
- Faber-Castel Colour Pencils *
- Caran d'Ache Swisscolor Water-Resistant Colouring Pencils
- Derwent Procolour Colour Pencils
- Faber Castell Polychromos Artists Pencils *
- Holbein Artists Pencil
- Arteza Watercolour Pencils
- Caran d'Ache Swisscolor Watercolour Pencils
- Retractable Eraser
- Brush and Pencil Coloured Pencil Texture Fixative
- Plain Sketchbook
- Faber Castell Sketching Pencils
About the tutor
Ronan is a visual artist and researcher based in Belfast, who is currently completing a practice-based PhD with Belfast School of Art. He has trained as a fine artist specialising in research surrounding social class and queer identity within the contexts of contemporary craft.
In 2020 he received a Fellowship to Teaching Award from Ulster University, where he worked across various departments including fine art, sculpture and applied art (textile, ceramics and design). From foundation-level to Masters students, Ronan has presented educational seminars and studio critiques, delivered group workshops and individual tutorials and supervised assessments and grading for students (written and verbal).
He is currently a member of two artist-led studio groups based in Belfast (Flax Studios and Arcade Studios), where he regularly contributes to exhibitions, mentorship activities, production residencies and collaborations. Most recently Ronan was commissioned to develop and independently oversee a public engagement programme for Catalyst Arts, Belfast.