Let me just say how thrilled I am to feature Alyona Nickelsen this month! For over five years, through her time as our Q&A columnist and writing books, we have been trying to arrange the privilege of sharing her artwork, inventions, and story with you. Finally, the time is right!

Alyona has changed the colored pencil world in profound ways. Her first book Colored Pencil Painting Bible is the most popular book on colored pencils ever written. This month her second book Colored Pencil Painting Portraits is released, and on 6/30 five lucky subscribers will win a copy through our random drawing!

On behalf of colored pencil artists everywhere, Alyona continues to develop tools that make our medium faster, easier, and better. You’ll notice her new line of Brush and Pencil products is used in some of the articles this month, so pick up the Colored Pencil Painting Kit available from her website or your local art store and experience results like never before.

Better yet, our print readers don’t have to wait to try one of Brush and Pencil’s prized products – look for the free Titanium White sample included with the print issue (while supplies last).

Also this month, Sarah Stribbling shares her beautiful bees and butterflies, M’Lissa Geatches introduces Brush and Pencil products through her crab tutorial, and Barb Sotiropoulos’ Q&A question is on how to create bright colors on black paper. Artist Diego Jourdan Pereira continues his three part series on line work and The Art Gear Guide tests Spectrum Noir AquaBlend watercolor pencils. Visit www.coloredpencilmag.com/giveaways to see how you can win an AquaBlend 24 pencil set to try them out yourself – five winners will be selected!

Last, check out this month’s art challenge photo “Boa Baby” from Alyona’s new Colored Pencil Painting Portraits book. You won’t want to miss the chance to draw this fun portrait and win great prizes!

Sally Robertson