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Meet the Artist… Justine Williams

Updated: Feb 6

Today we catch up with a very talented customer, coloured pencil artist Justine Williams.

Hello Justine! Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Justine Williams, Kent based coloured pencil artist

I’m a Kent based coloured pencil artist. I love to create photorealistic animal drawings of all types of wildlife. It is a magical process which I become completely immersed in.

Have you always been creative?

From a young age I loved drawing wildlife, but it was during lockdown that I truly found a passion for drawing, in particular animals from the countryside around where I live. I discovered that while drawing I could completely switch off my thoughts and allow myself to let go and connect to the process. It has become my meditation and therapy.

How do you decide what to draw; and what is your process?

The main focus of my work centres around the relationship we have with wildlife and the connections that each species has with one another. I look for interesting reference photos which show an emotional element between both, whether it is a fox and crow or a big brown bear and a young girl hugging - as with one of my latest pieces. I choose each image while thinking about the composition and how my idea will look in the finished work.

A Justine Williams coloured pencil original drawing of a girl and a bear hugging, in a copper coloured frame

What materials do you use? Do you have a favourite material, paper or pencil?

I use Polychromes, Caran d Ache and Prismacolor pencils formulated to be 100% lightfast, meaning that the core is resistant to colour change for up to 100 years under museum conditions. I also love to use Caran d Ache Neo pastel to create backgrounds as they are wonderfully smooth, the colours are vibrant with high concentration which creates a lovely non-powdery result.

My favourite paper is Canson Mi-Teintes. I have tried many different types of paper over the years, but this is my all-time favourite. It really is a personal thing that each artist has to experiment with, but the reason I like this one is the texture, the large range of colours available and the ability to build many layers of coloured pencil on the surface, creating depth.

Your pictures are amazingly accurate and detailed. How long do they take to create?

Each piece can take 5 hours (5” x 5”) to 50 hours (40’ x 30’).

Justine Williams working on her photorealistic coloured pencil drawings in her art studio

How has your practice changed over time?

My first few drawings were created by following a tutorial so even though I am very proud of them they were obviously another artist’s idea, and I was guided through the process.

As I became more confident, I started to select my own reference photos from free reference sites and then found photographers whose images I particularly liked. I message them for permission to use the image for my work.

I have also become braver with my compositions; in the early days I would just draw one image in the centre of the paper, but now I will include many more elements and any one piece can include other mediums such as watercolour, metallic watercolour, oil prints from botanicals picked from my garden.


Do you have a piece that you are most proud of?

My last piece is always the one I say is my favourite, but I think the one I am most proud of is 'The Noble Hare' which was the first drawing I created without a tutorial, I was over the moon with the result. I was even more proud as I posted it on a coloured pencil group, and it was bought by a collector in the USA.

Justine Williams' 'A Noble Hare' original coloured pencil drawing

What is the best thing for you about making art?

The sense of calm when creating is such a therapeutic side to the process. The moment I meet a customer and their face lights up when they see my work. The connections I have made within the art community is wonderful, and the fact that people love my work as much as I love creating it is just mind blowing!

What have you learned about yourself through art?

I can be extremely patient (not something that I would consider was a natural part of my everyday personality!) I have learnt that everyone has that unique something that can be revealed at any time. For me it was in my 50’s. I believe everyone is born creative but some of us just get sidetracked. So many people that have said to me “I always wanted to do something else for a job but felt it wouldn't earn me any money“.

What are your hopes for 2024?

I hope to connect through my art with more amazing artists, and aspiring artists who like me want to find their inherent purpose, or true calling in life. I hope to share my creative process by producing many more drawings for others to enjoy. I would love to offer a few small intimate workshops for people who would like to join me in learning how to capture wildlife with coloured pencils. 

Thanks Justine. To see more of Justine's work, you can visit her website or find her on Instagram. Watch this space for news of upcoming workshops to be held later this year hosted by us at Creative Frames, including Justine! - SIGN UP for more info.

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