Students Competition Win!

As a tutor for the college and also being an artist myself (Melanie Phillips pencil pet portraits)I quite often have art catalogues drop through my letter box and one of the regular suppliers that I order from is Ken Bromley Art Supplies. I have been receiving their catalogue for more years than I care to remember, even when it was a simple black and white photocopied catalogue.
These days its a wonderful glossy booklet with a full colour image on the from and beautiful artwork adorning each issue. My copy arrived on Friday and I immediately recognised one of my students as the cover artist. Upon looking inside realised that Isobel had won their recent competition with her ‘Sleeping Lion ‘ piece. I was thrilled!
I emailed her immediately to ask if we could do a piece about her win on the college news blog and she has very kindly written the text below. I have added a copy of her winning piece along with a photo of the catalogue that Isobel took. I hope that you all find Isobel’s story  an inspiration.

Im sure we’ve all been there, when you see an art competition and you think should I enter that? I don’t know you but I always get a rush of excitement and think wouldn’t it be amazing if I won a prize quickly followed by don’t be so ridiculous all those other entries are so brilliant no one will even look at mine! A few months ago i found myself thinking all of these things! It started when my husband asked me to paint a picture of Newcastle and the Tyne Bridge. I decided to be brave and try something new and thought i would try experimenting with acrylics. While searching on the internet i found a range of Liquitex mediums such as black lava gel, glass beads texture gel and pouring medium and thought that sounded like a lot of fun. My normal art suppliers didn’t stock them and thats when I came across Ken Bromley Art Supplies. Having made my purchases I then discovered their cover competition. The only reason I really entered the Ken Bromley Art Supplies cover competition was because I could hear my Mum’s voice in my head telling me to have a go because you just don’t know! I am extremely glad I listened because amazingly I actually won! The prize consisted of choosing £100 of art materials and having my picture on the front of their Autumn/Winter catalogue. When the catalogue arrived at my door it was the best feeling at the world seeing my picture of ‘Sleeping Lion’ there on the cover!

Here is my story of how I got there! A while ago I embarked on the ‘Pet Portrait’ course with Melanie after my very supportive Mum gave me the money. It was at the start of this course that I decided to give coloured pencils ago as the last time I had was when I was at school! Straight away I knew I had found something I was going to love. I tried a couple of different brands of pencils, a few different papers and read as many books as I could find on the subject. When I tried Prismacolor pencils I knew these were by far my personal favourites along with Stonehenge paper. What I love about these pencils is their softness and the wonderful effects that can be achieved when building up lots of layers of colours. It takes me many many hours to complete a picture like ‘Sleeping Lion’ but when I draw I loose all sense of time!

While I started with pet portraits, I soon discovered a passion for wildlife art. My Mum also loved art and she discovered an artist called Vic Bearcroft. I was lucky enough to go on a pastel workshop he was holding at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent. I had never used pastels before and had never drawn a big cat before, but I came away hooked on both! It was while I was on this workshop that I had the opportunity to get up close to some magnificent big cats and take hundreds of photos. Sadly my Mum passed away shortly afterwards and I found drawing too painful so my photos lay unused. After a while I knew I needed to pick up my pencils again because I knew my Mum would be very sad to know I’d stopped doing the thing I loved most. ‘Sleeping Lion’ is based on one of these photos and was actually a very therapeutic exercise. I also decided to set up my own website ( and over the summer i also set up a facebook page for my art ( I also thought how great it would be to have prints of some of my wildlife art so I decided to go for it! While its still early days in starting up my own business, it certainly gives me a great feeling knowing I’m giving it go. If I could give any advice to anyone it would be to have a go, you just don’t know what’s round the corner, sometimes you might find a nice surprise!

Isobel buckley
Pet Portraits Diploma (D5)

1 thought on “Students Competition Win!

  1. Isobel ,
    Your artwork is beautiful . Delighted for you . Best of Luck in the future.
    Celia Carlile

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