Worth repeating

   Posted by: WebmasterJJ   in Colored Pencils

This is a post from last year but it’s worth repeating as it’s a question I get asked a lot.


Let me take you on my journey to find the perfect sharpener for colored pencils.  First things first,  there are three types of pencil sharpeners available that I use and recommend;  electric, battery powered, and handheld.  

What type you use really depends upon your needs at the moment, for example if you are working on a tutorial (packet) and have a number of brand new pencils to sharpen you will want to use the electric sharpener to get your pencil started.

Perhaps you are taking a colored pencil class and have new pencils to sharpen, but don’t have easy access to electricity for your electric sharpener, this is where you’d want to use a battery powered sharpener as it has great portability and convenience.

A handheld sharpener also works well in the classroom setting, but is what you will want to use when you need to get a finer point on your pencil without eating up as much wax.  Some say that turning the sharpener instead of your hand will get you a better point, but I have found that as long as you hold your pencil straight up and down in line with the hole of the sharpener it is really your preference whether you turn the sharpener or turn your pencil.

Tips for using an electric pencil sharpener.

  1. Sharpen a no. 2 lead pencil with the sharpener prior to sharpening any colored pencils.
  2. Use the smallest hole.
  3. Prismacolors are wax-based, soft-lead pencils and pushing them down into the sharpener will break the lead off the pencil. Gently insert the pencil and let the sharpener do the work for you.
  4. If a colored pencil breaks off inside the electric sharpener, use a no. 2 pencil to push the wax point through.
  5. Every couple of months sharpen a no. 2 pencil to clean the wax off the blades.
  6. Never trust the light to tell you that a pencil is sharp. Learn to listen to the sound of the pencil being sharpened.

To see all the sharpeners that I recommend and offer, click here or copy and paste into your browser: http://www.janellejohnson.com/products.php?cat=12&pg=2

Here is a hand-held sharpener for the Lyra Polycolor pencils I am now painting with.  http://www.janellejohnson.com/proddetail.php?prod=LyraShrp&cat=12

*** By the way, I am now offering E-Tutorials on my website. Take a look here…  http://www.janellejohnson.com/categories.php?cat=42


Sharpening your skills

   Posted by: admin   in Miscellaneous

Getting one-on-one pointers from J.D.

Recently I attended a portrait drawing workshop hosted by J.D. Hillberry.  It reminded me of what it’s like to be a student, and how much fun it is to get together and share and improve on our drawing and painting skills.  Below is the portrait I did on day one,  read on to see how I honed my skills by day three!

Day one facial features study.

Read the rest of this entry »


Artist Expo July 2011

   Posted by: admin   in Seminars

Busy in the booth

Hey everyone, haven’t meant to leave you all hanging the last two weeks but we were so overwhelmed with the success of Artist Expo that at the end of the day we were worn out! Artist Expo was a hit thanks to founder Tim Mulvey.

All three classes that I taught were well received and the student’s response was positive.

Teaching Tropic Queen

We’ve been in the colored pencil business for 16 years now and the popularity is still increasing!

If you were unable to make it to the trade show, the two classes that I taught are now available for purchase as tutorials Tropic Queen and  Headed South.  Make plans to attend next years Artist Expo Houston June 26th-30th 2012 in The Woodlands, Texas.

Although the Kansas weather wasn’t cool enough to get excited about returning to, I was anxious to see my granddaughter Norah.  This is the longest I’ve been away from her since she was born and I missed her so much!

Well it’s back to work.  I have deadlines to meet for The Decorative Painter and PaintWorks magazines.  Watch the website because I will be posting pictures of those three colored pencil projects.


See more pictures from Artists Expo

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Class with Sheila Theodoratos

   Posted by: admin   in CPSA Convention-Dallas 2011

Day Two Workshop was so much fun! My mind is full of creative thinking for new ways to start the creative process flowing and how to keep it flowing as a painting is designed.

Sheila’s last name is pronounced Theodore autos. Easy to say and remember.

Sheila’s art is fun, fun, fun and full of symbolism and storytelling. She shared with the 40 student class how she goes about the creative thinking process and how to build on your own life experiences. This workshop was not product oriented, but creative design oriented. Students brought photos, drawings, 3D objects, and reference material and by the end of the day everyone was leaving class with a renewed energy.

Mary Jo Jung and me getting ready to start the day.

Sheila is assisting me with the design that I'm working on and the story that it will tell.

Tomorrow is the trade show, stay tuned.


Class with Bonnie Auten

   Posted by: admin   in CPSA Convention-Dallas 2011

Hello from Dallas, TX! I’m attending the Colored Pencil Society of America’s 19th Annual International Exhibition at the Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel.

I’m having the time of my life! It’s colored pencil everywhere you look!

Day  One workshop was all about exploring the use of Caran d’Ache Neocolor II crayons as well as Pablo and Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils. The pencils were applied to UArt sanded pastel paper, a different surface that was fun to work on! Bonnie shared her techniques as we learned to combine, paint, blend, layer, and glaze to build color quickly. A great way to do backgrounds and large solid areas of color. We used the medium both wet and dry.

It was a fantastic class and me and my table partner, Mary Jo Jung, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

Bonnie instructing

Mary Jo Jung

The Gallery Exhibit is at the Charles Eisemann Center right across the street from the hotel. The exhibit of colored pencil artwork will be on display until July 31. The array of 100% colored pencil artwork is astounding!

I’ll be posting more tomorrow after the creativity class with Sheila Theodoratos!

Then it’s the trade show on Saturday!



Cases for Colored Pencils

   Posted by: admin   in Supplies for colored pencil

July 4th is the kick off of the summer travel season, so now is the right time to treat yourself to the best way to tote your colored pencils with pencil cases and artist cases.  In this post you will find photos and information about both styles of cases to help you find what best fits your needs.  As an added bonus, the first 10 orders of any combination of 2 cases will receive a set of 24 Prismacolor Premier Art Stix  (pictured below) at no charge,  that’s a value of $42!  My summer travels will kick off with Artist Expo in Houston, if you are attending as well you can go ahead and order, select your payment option, and include a note that says you will be at the Artist Expo and you can pick it up on site and save yourself some shipping costs.  I hope to see you there!

The Prismacolor Premier Art Stix are the same core formula as Prismacolor pencils.  The smooth, rich, vibrant colors blend perfectly with the pencils. Art Stix are used for filling in large spaces or backgrounds (The above photo is for example only, colors shown are not necessarily indicative of colors include in set).

Artist Cases are great, not only for taking pencils with you on the go, but they also allow you to carry supplies in the same case.  The cases hold 12 single pencils on the left-hand side of the case (or 24 pencils if you double up in each loop).  On the right-hand side of the case is a pouch constructed of heavy-duty plastic that closes with a zipper.  As you can see in the picture above, fitting supplies of varying sizes in the pouch is not a problem.  The artists cases come in 11 different colors so you are sure to find one that fits your personality!  To order an artist case click here:  Artist Case ( To qualify for the bonus offer remember you must order any combination of 2 cases)

If you are needing to carry a larger amount of colored pencils then you will want to check out my pencil cases.  They come equipped to hold either 120 or 132 pencils (I offer both styles).  If you haven’t expanded to the 132 pencil set yet you may want to go with the 120 pencil case, you can always double up your pencils in a few loops if needed as you add more pencils.  The cases come in 11 colors for both the 120 & 132 quantities.  To order a pencil case click here: Pencil Case ( To qualify for the bonus offer remember you must order any combination of 2 cases)

In July I will be attending the Colored Pencil Society of America convention in Dallas, TX.  I’ll keep you up to date on my artistic journey as I sharpen my pencils and head south.

Never a dull point!



What sharpener should you use?

   Posted by: admin   in Supplies for colored pencil

Let me take you on my journey to find the perfect sharpener for colored pencils.  First things first,  there are three types of pencil sharpeners available that I use and recommend;  electric, battery powered, and handheld.   Read the rest of this entry »


New Colored Pencil Tutorials

   Posted by: admin   in Colored Pencils

Remember the day when the lesson was called “packet”, well the new descriptive term is “Tutorial”.

Splash!-Trumpeter Swan was taught to a sold-out, 35 student class at the SDP Conference. It was fantastic! A big thanks to all the students! It motivates me to get class submissions ready for 2012 SDP Wichita, KS.

The Splash! tutorial is now ready for purchase on my website www.janellejohnson.com

You’ll find these in the Gallery on the Home Page.

We’ll be adding new items throughout the week.

The pictures above feature Splash! on different surfaces. Instructions are included for this in the tutorial.

Another tutorial available is “Flee to the Mountains”. I previewed a picture of this a while back on the blog. It’s based on several photos that Jeff, my husband, took while we were in Canada.

The newest item in our life right now is the studio and what’s going on here.

Natalie, my daughter-in-law, and Norah, my granddaughter, are working with me. So if you call or email you may talk to Natalie Johnson, Studio Manager. Were still working on her title, so go-with-the-flow if she answers the phone differently!

Best wishes to all and have a great Memorial Day weekend!!