Monday, March 18, 2013

Introducing The Pencil Art Society

A new art society has been formed to promote pencil art and pencil artists.

The Pencil Art Society arrives complete with:
All they need now is a blog!  They say they have one - but I can't find a link to it - so if anybody comes across it do please let me know.

Title and strapline of the Pencil Art Society
I'm definitely not a fan of the colour scheme - I find it gloomy.
I have to say I'm not surprised that a new society for pencil artists should be created for the following reasons:
  • there was no art society purely dedicated to pencil art in all its forms
  • there's a big overlap between those who create art in graphite and those who create art in coloured pencils
  • many pencil artists are dedicated to art created using dry media but are less enamoured with increasingly narrow definitions about what's eligible media for exhibitions.
This society has a distinctly Canadian - and female - feel to it plus the membership fee is in Canadian dollars.
  • Alexandra Bastien, Founder Member, President and Exhibition Director comes from and lives in Quebec
  • Erica Walker, Founder Member, Vice President and Education Director lives in Ontario
  • Lissa Rachelle Robillard Founder Membe, Secretary and Web Services Director lives in Ontario
All but two of the members to date (as listed on the website) are women.

Purpose of the Pencil Art Society
The Pencil Art Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the recognition of pencil media, specifically graphite pencil and coloured pencil, as fine art.
I've reworked their phrasing of their purpose to highlight what i see as the key aspects of its proposed focus and activities - as follows

  • Artists' Careers:  supporting the professional advancement of artists working primarily in pencil media 
  • Pencil Art Exhibitions: holding International Pencil Art Exhibitions
  • Developing Competent Pencil Artists: promoting knowledge, skill and excellence in the use of pencil media
  • Pencil Art Education: creating learning and teaching opportunities for pencil artists
  • Pencil Artists' Network: providing a means for pencil artists to connect and network together
  • Pencil Media - Quality Assurance: advocating for excellence in the quality of all pencil media
  • Working Together: working with like-minded organizations and individuals worldwide to advance our objectives.
I'd expect alliances to be made with the existing coloured pencil societies as they have a high degree of mutual interest over eg quality assurance of pencil media.

Eligible and accepted media
The Pencil Art Society considers the following to be fine art media and acceptable for use by artists in its exhibitions:
  • graphite pencil
  • coloured pencil (used dry and/or with solvent)
  • watersoluble pencils (used dry)
  • charcoal
  • conté
I'm intrigued by the fact solvent is allowed but water is not.

Membership of the Pencil Art Society
Our society is open to new members who want to share with us their passion for drawing with graphite, coloured pencil, watersoluble pencil (used dry), charcoal and conté. Our goal is to work together to develop new projects and to share our many treasures. Our website is now active and fully functional. We have a blog, a Twitter feed and a Facebook Group page. We will be very active on social media and we hope you will be there with us! To read the latest news ... to gather information, ideas, or inspiration ... to participate in online exhibitions, competitions, and gallery shows ... or for the chance to attend numerous workshops and meet with passionateartists ... you must join us! This is your invitation!
Statement by the PSA
Membership of the society is for artists 18 years and older and the membership fee is $25.00 (Canadian dollars).  You can see the names of the people who have become members in the right column of the website.  Each has a webpage detailing social media sites and contact details plus images and a statement about their art.  Inevitably a number of these are at very early stage of development.

This is the membership form. Oddly it's right at the bottom of the page.

  • I'm looking for a "How to join the Pencil Art Society" and I'm not finding it.  The membership page goes into long explanations about life memberships and honorary memberships and master artists before getting round to the details of ordinary membership.  
  • The membership fee is in Canadian dollars but there is no indication of how international members can pay.  
  • The acronym NOT is being used with no explanation.  (I think it should read PAS)
  • the membership application form is a web form which does not provide for a copy to be kept by the person submitting the application.

  • It might be more helpful to the vast majority if the information for the different classes of membership are ordered according to how a member might travel through the society eg
    • ordinary member
    • signature member
    • master artist
    • life member
  • There's a need for a "how to pay by paypal" section if the Society wants to be an international society.  Their Press Release certainly indicates they want international exposure.
  • Consider introducing a downloadable pdf file and/or Word file for the application - so that members can retain a copy for their files?

Signature status
Regular, Life or Honourary Members of the Pencil Art Society may attain Signature Status within the Pencil Art Society by being juried into five (5) Pencil Art Society Annual International Juried Exhibitions. Once Signature status is attained, the member is entitled to add PAS after his or her name.
The membership page provides the details about how signature status can be achieved.

There is also a class of membership known as Master Artist whose entry requirements are more restrictive - and will probably be limited to practising (professional) Artists. It's nice to see the professional artist being recognised!


The intention is to have two exhibitions a year.
  • every Spring, PAS will sponsor an Annual Juried Online Digital Exhibition, which will be open to PAS members only.
  • In 2013 there will be a a Special Inaugural Juried Online Digital Exhibition  this year. The complete prospectus will be emailed to all members by July 1.  The Award Winners will be announced on October 12. 
  • PAS intends to hold an International Exhibition in a gallery every Fall, as close to October as possible, in conjunction with its Annual Pencil Power Conference and AGM.  This will be an Open Exhibition and will focus exclusively on 100% pencil artwork.

and finally......

While there are some areas where I think presentation and customer focus can be improved, I think the progress to date shown by the Pencil Art Society is excellent.  Plus this is an IT and media savvy art society!
  • It fully recognises the importance of social media and its advantages for promotion and growth of the society and its members
  • It's arrived in the world with a fully functioning website, twitter account and Facebook group.  Not only that the PAS Executive is structured as a virtual team and will be holding its meetings with the help of with current technology (eg voice over internet phone) and other aids to desktop sharing, document sharing and decision making during all meetings (eg video conferencing).
  • It has clear statements about all its intended activities and initial timescales for what happens when
  • it recognises the scope of the society to both advance learning amongst its members and promote teaching opportunities for its members.
Existing art societies could learn a thing or two about marketing based on the efforts to date!

Please note subscriptions only become live after you have verified the link in the email you will receive


  1. Thank you for this information.
    I agree. Solvent but not water for water based pencils seems odd.

  2. The first .com address that you have is their blog. It seems to be their first post, and they are not allowing comments with it but have it tagged. I am interested to see this site as it develops. Hopefully, it will open the door for more exposure to graphite artists. :)

  3. Aha - I thought that was the normal "news" site. I was expecting a different site.

  4. Katherine, on behalf of all of us on the executive board of the Pencil Art Society, thank you so much for this very helpful and positive review! We're so grateful that you took the time to explore our site so thoroughly and for joining our FB Group page. We will be going through all of your observations and suggestions and will be implementing as many as we can to improve the site as soon as possible.

    I have addressed the blog link and commenting issues already, I hope satisfactorily.

    Re: the pencil media we ultimately decided to accept as "official pencil media", we will be writing about the whats and whys of our decision in one of our upcoming blog posts, so we hope you'll all stay tuned for that :)

    Again, we thank you sincerely for your review and for helping us to PAS the word about our new society!

  5. as a graphite artist this is fantastic news!! here is their website:

    thanks SO much for all the info on it!

  6. I don't know much about colored pencil artists but I wonder if the allowance/disallowance is because water soluble pencils, as frequently done by James Gurney on Gurney Journey for example, turn into a more watercolor wash look and ending up with less pencil whereas a solvent melts the pencil into a more painted/glazed/translucent/opaque look?

    I know many color pencil artists see their work as paintings like pastelists do.

    I'm not saying water soluble should not be allowed just that they may not want that predominantly watercolor look.
    Still odd perhaps since that is saying that a painted look IS allowed providing it is NOT watercolor.


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