Name: Jacqui Pemberton
Website address: www.jacquelinepemberton.com
Location: Albany, Western Australia
Please tell us a little about how you got started in coloured pencil art.
I can still remember my early childhood days in England (my birthplace), when as a four year old, my grandmother would present me with a sketch pad and box of pencils whenever the family would go to visit her. I would sit for hours drawing and colouring, and can still recall one of my first drawings of my other grandmotherâ€™s very â€˜Englishâ€™ house and garden which I could reproduce to this day.Â As I went through junior school, I would often be â€˜caughtâ€™ by the teachers for sitting in the back row â€˜doodlingâ€™ rather than doing the maths ( they obviously didnâ€™t know about right brain power back then!), and of course my favourite subject was art.Â I always seemed to enjoy drawing what I could directly see, in preference to drawing from my imagination, and was always good at copying from other pictures etc.Â As a young teenager I would spend hours copying images from â€˜Donald Duckâ€™ comics. I would colour them with coloured pencils and crayons, and then my dad would spray them with some sort of varnish to make them shiny like the comics!Â At age 14 I presented one of my comic pieces at a garden fete and won first prize!
By my early 20â€™s I had completed a distant ed certificate course in commercial art which covered all aspects of precise drawing and lettering, and also a certificate in art and design at a local Western Australian TAFE college.Â The art and design course pushed me to work with many subjects in numerous mediums and in many styles. I was always happiest when reproducing what I saw in detail, rather than abstract contemporary styles.
During the 1980â€™s and 1990â€™s whilst living in some of the remotest national parks on the south coast of Western Australia with my â€˜rangerâ€™ husband, I found myself in paradise, surrounded by nature. I discovered that when I truly â€˜lookedâ€™ into the heart of nature I could understand everything better. Each day as I fossicked about the bush discovering the flora, fauna, bird life, marine life, and the amazing textures found in the natural environment I wanted to draw everything in sight, in detail, to capture the precious moments.
My own style began to develop into detailed botanical illustration when I was asked in 1999 to work on a set of scientific illustrations from pressed specimens for the publication â€˜Flora of the South Westâ€™.Â Those drawings, some microscopic, were worked in pen and ink in line and stipple, and I enjoyed combining my art with science.Â I continued to draw in detail and created a series of botanical graphite drawings which, when displayed in local galleries gained me a lot of positive feedback.Â I also ventured into the art of pencil portraiture of people for a while, and created many drawings mostly of my family.
By 2005 I felt I would like to start adding some colour into my art pieces and whilst completing several units towards a B.A. in fine arts with Curtin university of WA,Â I experimented with many mediums once again; oils (too smelly), acrylics (too heavy) gouache (too thick), printmaking (kept cutting myself!), textiles (too much sewing and not enough drawing!), charcoal (too messy), water colour (kept losing the paint on the paper), pencil (now your talking), coloured pencil ( I had arrived!) I went on to complete a distant ed. Course in Botanical Illustration with the London Art College in UK, and in 2009 was awarded a Certificate of Merit.Â The work I completed, in graphite, coloured pencil, water colours, and pen and ink was submitted to the Society of Botanical Artists in UK as entry to their Diploma course in Botanical Illustration.Â I was accepted, and due to the, apparently, high standard of my work, was offered the opportunity of completing the entire 2 year course in coloured pencil. I am now Â¾ ways through that journey and consider myself so very fortunate to have one of the best coloured pencil botanical artists in UK as my tutor and mentor.
What do you love about using coloured pencils in your artwork?
My first love is drawing and coloured pencils are so immediate, versatile and transportable. I can take them anywhere quite easily and use them in a relatively small space.Â It is possible now to make a CP drawing look like a painting due to the high quality of materials available today.Â I can utilise the hundreds of colours available to me or work with a limited palette of a few colours to achieve a desired effect.Â Compared to any other medium, when working with colour pencilÂ I feel much more â€˜in controlâ€™ of what I am doing.Â I can sharpen the pencils to equal the point of the finest sable brush to create the detail I require for precise botanical work. I love layering the colours and watching my subjects emerge, as if by magic.Â If I donâ€™t like the result, I can relatively easily remove it and start again as coloured pencils are so forgiving.