Exhibition Requirements

CPSA holds three annual exhibitions: the International Exhibition, Explore This! and ArtSpectations. While the exhibitions vary with respect to what materials are acceptable for use, some basic requirements apply to all three. For additional information see:

Colored Pencil Defined
Products Allowed for CPSA Exhibitions
Prospectus PDFs


  • Artwork completed more than three years prior to an exhibition deadline.
  • Work copied from copyrighted or published materials, including images that were purchased or used with permission. The concept, design and execution of the artwork shall be solely and completely that of the artist.
  • Work copied from someone else’s photograph, even with permission.
  • Hand-coloring with colored pencil over photographs or digital images.
  • Collaborative works executed by more than one artist, including classroom projects and exercises. It is permissible, however, to submit a painting of your own design that was worked on in a classroom or critiqued by others, as long as you are the primary creative force.


  • Only wax-based, oil-based, or water-soluble colored pencils that meet the CPSA definition of colored pencil. Please consult the list of acceptable products.
  • Graphite or tinted graphite, only when underneath or blended with colored pencil. Pure, exposed graphite is not allowed.
  • Water and other solvents used to dissolve colored pencil.
  • Colorless blenders in pencil, woodless pencil or powdered form to blend colored pencil.
  • Workable fixative used between layers of pencil; final fixatives and varnishes used as a final layer.
  • Any manufacturer-prepared surface, except scratchboard.
  • Two-dimensional artwork intended to be displayed and hung as a single entity (i.e., diptych or triptych).


  • Any dry drawing material not conforming to the CPSA definition of colored pencil. Please consult the list of acceptable products.
  • Any other medium which is not colored pencil (ink, watercolor, pastels, acrylic, gouache, markers, loose/unbound pigment powder, etc.), including watercolors and pastels formed into bricks or pans.
  • Work produced by coloring over any kind of printed digital image, such as photographs or computer printouts.
  • Artist-prepared grounds or surfaces (i.e., the application of grounds, washes, or other non-colored pencil materials that alter the texture, color, or value of a manufacturer-prepared surface).
  • Scratchboard.
  • Three-dimensional artwork.
  • Collage.
  • Artwork created on multiple surfaces to be hung and displayed as discrete, separate images.
Hendrix FlyingTiger ET2016
Flying Tiger, Betty Hendrix, CPSA


  • Wax-based, oil-based, or water-soluble colored pencil as the predominant medium.
  • The use of some medium that does not meet the definition of colored pencil or some surface, technique, or element that would render the artwork ineligible for the CPSA International Exhibition as described above.

NOTE: While hand-coloring of a photograph or printed image is not permissible, you may create an original and completely different drawing over a digital image or photo.


  • Artwork must meet the requirements for either the CPSA International or Explore This! Exhibition.
  • Artwork cannot have previously been in a CPSA International or Explore This! Exhibition.

NOTE: Artwork entered in this show may be submitted to a CPSA International or Explore This! Exhibition providing it meets the requirements of that show.