National Pencil Day - Our Top Picks

by Cass Art

March 30th is the designated National Pencil Day and to mark the occasion we’ve reviewed our blog to find our favourite doodlers and sketchers.

Jake Spicer

Jake tone and texture

Jake gave us an exclusive step by step guide on drawing a pencil portrait on the blog. He is renowned for sketching portraits in just 15 minutes, certainly enough time to reserve on national pencil day to exercise that part of the brain.  This tutorial is broken down into just five simple steps, so get your materials at the ready!

Johanna Basford

Johanna Basford Illustrations

Johanna took the world by storm and became part of an international craze for colouring books after the launch of Secret Garden. We were lucky enough to catch up with her about her craft early on and ask her about the process behind her enchanting illustrations.

Our favourite moment was when she gave us her theory behind the adult colouring trend:

Chances are the last time most people did a spot of colouring in they didn’t have a mortgage, a mean boss or worries about the fiscal debt. Colouring gives hard working grownups the opportunity to play and to indulge themselves in an activity which likely reminds them of more carefree days.”


Millie Marotta


Millie also launched into the spotlight with her beautiful illustrations as part of the adult colouring book trend. After it was proven that colouring could act as a form of therapy to reduce stress and anxiety by taking your mind off daily tasks or worries it took the country by storm. Millie’s books included some beautiful pages of exotic animals, jungles, tropical worlds and flowers.

Her books were even translated into 31 languages and topped the bestselling charts. We caught up with her on the Cass Art blog to talk about the method behind the magic.


Martha Burger

Drawing by Martha Student at UWE

We spoke to Martha when she was student at the University of West England studying illustration. Originally from Berlin, she creates whimsical illustrations that tell mini stories of their own. 

When describing how she found inspiration:

Absorbing my surroundings, collecting ideas and finally drawing. I always see, learn and discover new things that inspire me to create something.”


Chloe leaper

Framless Space, Chloe Leaper

Chloe really intrigued us with drawings that explored the ‘thirdspace’. She is Head of Cultural and Contextual Studies at The Art Academy and a practising artist. We caught up with her while she was an artist in residence at the National Open Art Competition exhibition.

Nina fowler

Nina Fowler


One of the first interviewees on our blog was Nina. She created very detailed large scale illustrations of film stars from the golden era with the aim of capturing not only their glamour but their rawness. She has clients such as Jude Law and has been nominated for the BP Portrait award. We took a look behind the scenes at her studio to see her process in action.


Daniella Turbin

Daniella Turbin

Daniella’s drawings reminded us of fragments from a dream. Her delicate pencil work stood out from the crowd. We caught up with her shortly after finishing her degree at Kent University and her work was exhibited at the Turner Contemporary. She explained her creative process and the method behind her haunting works:

“I have always used drawing as my primary tool to express a visual idea; drawings capture that initial idea in its raw state. I try to ensure that I draw as often as possible, even on days when I don't feel like drawing, and sometimes this can have the most unexpected results!”

Gideon Summerfield

Gideon Summerfield, Holocaust Survivor drawing

Gideon is a prolific sketcher and likes to set himself creative challenges which have even caught the eye of the BBC. In 2013 he embarked on a project to draw ten portraits of Holocaust survivors which were exhibited at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster and in Hackney. We caught up with him shortly afterward to talk about what motivated him to keep drawing.

Gideon told us of his experience:

“Within days I found myself overwhelmed with the enormity of the experience, of meeting extraordinary people who had led extraordinary lives.”

Marion Deuchars

Our favourite award winning illustrator, Marion has launched several activity books to encourage everyone to draw and paint. We caught up with her after the launch of her most recent book ‘Art Play’ to walk through her inspiration:

“I go work every day and play and I wanted to share that experience. Drawing and playing with art materials, like cutting, sticking, crafting, unleashes a creative part of the brain, the part that was there long before we started using language.”

Feeling Inspired?

We stock a range of pencils online and in stores nationwide. Get in touch to let us about your sketches through Facebook or Twitter. 

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