Happy Summer! This month I wanted to deal with an issue that many of our colored pencil artists have – inserting backgrounds!

We start with P. Craig Ellertson who helps you to add backgrounds to your work with inspiration from his art and history.

Our book of the month Drawing is for Everyone by Kateri Ewing looks at an excerpt on creating a simple landscape with student examples.

Now let’s put it into practice by following Barb Sotiropoulos’ workshop of a lighthouse. We are so honored to have such high-caliber instructors bring these to you each month. Be sure to stop by www.BarbSotiArt.com and view her blogs, podcast sessions, and videos.

Jacob Oelmann not only has mastered adding backgrounds, but he actually creates entire fantasy worlds full of color and creativity.

Taking center stage of course is our amazing featured artist Nick Day. He is a wildlife artist whose work focuses mainly on birds. Take time to study his details and learn how he achieves it!

Sema Martin helps you know how to protect your artwork online and where you can safely attain photo references.

Everyone loves their pet, but Elenora Tiberia takes her passion to another level with her Husky art, as she puts their personality on paper.

Now it’s time for you to draw YOUR pet – be it a dog, cat, bird, or even a snake for the next Art Challenge! If you don’t have a pet – draw someone else’s. It could land you some of the $1,200 in prizes from Jerry’s Artarama and allows you to share it with our super supportive Flickr art group. The deadline for this one is October 1st. www.colorepencilmag.com/challenge.

Finally, we spotlight the Conté à Paris Pastel Pencils with a chance for you to win one of six 12pc sets. Just sign up with your email to enter by 7/31. www.coloredpencilmag.com/giveaway

Take some time away from the drawing board to enjoy some fireworks, food, and friends!