Meet the Artist: Peter Nelson

Are you an aspiring artist with coloured pencil at hand? Then read ahead and discover how Derwent artist Peter Nelson got started with the humble pencil and where it’s taken him to today…

Tell us about you…

I am a leisure artist who has been using coloured pencils for around three years, starting with Derwent’s Watercolour range and quickly mastering Derwent’s Artist, Studio and Drawing ranges. I am a member of the UK Coloured Pencil Society and the International Guild of Realism.

How did you get into art?

I’ve always been interested in art, ever since I was a young boy but I went back to night school in 1986 and my love of art started again. I’ve been creative ever since.

What’s your artistic style?

I am drawn to immense detail and would describe my work as photorealistic.

What’s your favourite medium(s) and why?

My favourite medium is coloured pencils. I just love the way the versatility of the medium and the ability to achieve such fine detail and a wide variation of textures. With the variations in coloured pencils, I can also achieve a wide selection of subtlety or vibrancy. I find that I put a lot more man hours into coloured pencils than I ever did with watercolours. I am looking to get started in mixed media because there are so many advantages to mixing coloured pencils with watercolours.

Rolling Breaking

Tell us about your favourite piece of artwork that you have created.

Every piece of artwork I create becomes my favourite! Look back though, there are a couple that particularly stand out.

One I always come back to is Rolling Breakers, a seascape that created with a selection of Derwent products. It was one of my first big successes and the subject in question is something I get drawn into time and time again.

The other picture I particularly love is The Four Jolly Old Men of Lydford. I stumbled on the subject by accident and I just love the detail that went into creating the piece. It was also one of the first times I mixed pencil types to create my work.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a commission of a much-loved old dog, who recently passed away. It’s a really challenging piece, because I’m working from a selection of old photos that aren’t the best. It’s nearly A2 in size and I’m having to be as inventive as I can to create a detailed imagery as to how the hair lays on the dog. My main aim to capture the character of the animal, I want it to be a lasting memory for the family.

Where do you do most of your artwork?

All of my work is in my studio, which is basically a fantastic 4×4 man shed! I work under artificial lighting and put on my music, mainly Fleetwood Mac, before getting to work!

Four Jolly Old Men of Lydford

What has been your favourite new product or discovery over the last year?

In the last year, I’ve been using Derwent Line Makers, as they’re perfect for fine detail. When working with coloured pencil, the odd use of a Line Maker makes certain points sparkle. A purist would frown upon me using them, but I think they’re absolutely ideal and expand my creative freedom.

Using fine line marker pen and they are great for fine line detail. They make certain areas of the art sparkle. A liner pen makes areas of the art work stand, pencils would have to be super sharp and super black to achieve that. As a purist, some people would frown upon that but as an artist, it’s absolutely ideal. I don’t want to be restricted.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration for my art comes from everywhere and anywhere. I will take a photograph when I’m out and it’ll just jump out at me as ideal for art.

However, I do love weathered textures, decay and rust for example. But if you look throughout my artwork, I don’t really specialist in a certain topic. I will look at anything and everything and if the image or composition interests me, I’ll pick up my pencils and get to work!

What are your top tips for anyone looking to get started?

My top tip for any aspiring artist is to just get some pencils and start scribbling! See where it takes you! There is so much versatility in what you can achieve with coloured pencils that no two works are the same. And whatever is created is so unique to that particular artist.

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