Watercolor Pencil Drawing

September 25, 2018 1:04 am by theundertown
Bridge done with watercolour pencils by cathy johnson
17 year old artist creates incredibly lively watercolor and pencil art
Watercolor Pencil Drawing

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Watercolor papers typically have a heavier texture or “tooth”.  While some artists will prefer the texture, others may find that smoother surfaces are better suited for their needs.

Let everything dry. you’ll see an abstract, ghost version of your drawing. Add more definition to the composition using watercolor, colored pencils, ink pastels — whatever medium you like. Apply the details lightly so you can see the textures of the sprayed watercolor pencils. 

First sketch your composition in pencil, then layer in many colors in watercolor pencil. Aim for smooth transitions between colors, but don’t spend too much time on this stage — the water will blend everything later. 

Watercolor pencils can be used on top of a watercolor painting to add designs and fine details. This is a great way to create very fine, controlled lines that match the watercolor aesthetic.

Use a spray bottle filled with water to spray the paper. You want enough moisture that the pigments start to bleed, but not so much that the colors mix completely.

While watercolor pencils provide some advantages, there are some traditional watercolor techniques that may be difficult to duplicate.

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First, you can draw a spot of color on your paper, using this as you would use a palette. Using paper as a palette gives you more control of the color intensity and allows you to mix hues easily.

The manner in which watercolor pencils are used is ultimately up to the artist.  But, as with any medium, there are some things that may be helpful to keep in mind. Here are a few suggestions for drawing with watercolor pencils…

There’s more to explore on using watercolor pencils.  Here’s an additional video that features excepts of a Live Lesson (1 Hour) of a demonstration on watercolor pencils…  (There’s more information on this page as well.)

A solution for these artists would be illustration board.  Illustration board will provide the rigid support that is required while providing a smoother surface for more precise detailing.

Watercolor pencils can be used on-the-go as a substitute for watercolor pans or tubes. There are two ways to do it.

The only difference between watercolor pencils and regular pencils is in the binder used to hold the pigments. There is usually some kind of wax or oil in colored pencils and some kind of water-soluble gum in watercolor pencils.

“Lifting” or Erasing Watercolor Pencils Areas can be erased or “lifted” using traditional watercolor techniques.   Water can be applied to the area that is desired to be removed and a cotton swab or brush can be used to pull color up.   Although it may be difficult to remove the color completely, areas can made lighter using this technique.

Just know that the colors will look different after water is added. You might want to make a chart on a piece of watercolor paper to see how the colors will look once wet, as the water will usually make the colors appear much darker and more vibrant.

This is the most common way to paint with watercolor pencils. In this technique, you simply color areas of your work and then brush over them with plain water.

Watercolor pencils are a unique medium for creating art. They combine drawing with painting in a manner that no other medium can replicate.

Watercolor pencils are inexpensive and portable giving them an advantage over traditional watercolors.   They can be picked up at any art store.  Because they can be sharpened to a fine point, it is easy to apply details that may be hard to get with traditional watercolor paints.  Watercolor pencils can be used alongside traditional watercolor pencils.

Watercolor pencils can also be used to add patterns to a painting, the same way you would use colored pencils.

“Early this morning,” watercolor and mixed media by Sandrine Pelissier

Let’s explore techniques you can try with watercolor pencils.Technique #1: Color your drawing, then brush over it with water.

Watercolor pencils should be applied to watercolor paper or a heavy board such as illustration board.  As water is applied, thinner papers will buckle or even tear. 

Another option is to lift the paint directly from the watercolor pencil with a wet brush.

A variation on the brushing technique is to spray water instead of brushing it after your drawing is complete.

Because the medium is encased inside of a pencil that can be sharpened, the artist can create detailed and delicate marks that may be difficult to achieve with a brush.

While all the examples above use just one color, you can absolutely use more than one. Try layering colors or placing colors beside each other. To avoid muddying the painting, it’s best to brush the lighter areas first and move on to darker colors later.

Watercolor pencils are a medium that give the artist the best of both worlds of painting and drawing.  They are similar to colored pencils but behave differently when water is added.  This is because colored pencil pigment is held by a waxy or oil-based binder, while watercolor pencils have a water-soluble binder.

Watercolor pencils look the same as regular colored pencils, but when you start working with them, you quickly realize that they hold so much more potential. The magic happens when water is added, transforming the pencils and causing them to behave like watercolor paint.

Activating Watercolor Pencils with Water Watercolor pencils differ from colored pencils further with the ability to be activated with applications of water.  It is advised to slowly build up applications and activate them in layers so that the value and intensity of the color can be fully controlled.

You can control the color intensity by modifying your coloring: A “looser” coloring will produce a lighter color, as you can see in the blue swatches in the image above.

Traditional watercolor techniques can be used even when watercolor pencils are used. 

When water is applied to areas where watercolor pencils have been used, a watercolor effect is achieved. When this happens, the medium behaves in a similar manner as that of watercolor. 

Art Blog 5 Essential & Inventive Watercolor Pencil Techniques

Layering Applications of Watercolor Pencils As layers dry, additional applications of watercolor pencil can be drawn over layers underneath.   This allows the artist to control the color and adjust the painting gradually. 

The following video art lesson demonstrates an overview on how to use watercolor pencils…

These pencils present really exciting and unique opportunities to create complex, beautiful works of art. Here are a few ideas and techniques you can try with this exciting, versatile medium.

Typically, water is applied with a brush, but sponges and other tools can be used as well.  Nylon brushes work well for this, but natural hair brushes work too.  Bristle brushes are typically used for heavier bodied media like oils or acrylics, so it may be best not to use them with watercolor.

Technique #2: Color your drawing, then spray over it with water.

You can use the watercolor pencils dry or dip them in water before drawing to make a darker bolder line, like you see in the floral design on the right. Or, you could even try drawing with the pencils on wet paper, which will produce a soft line.

Check out this post on mixed media painting with watercolor pencils for a step-by-step tutorial on this technique.

Drawing with Watercolor Pencils Watercolor pencils can be applied just like colored pencils, but they will behave differently on the surface. This is, as mentioned before, due to the binder.

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The following video features excerpts from 2 one hour recorded live lessons on drawing/painting with watercolor pencils. (Members have access to the entire unedited lessons which can be accessed here.)

Technique #4: Use the pencils dry to add details on a watercolor painting.

Areas do not have to be completely dry.  Pencils can be applied while areas are still wet producing interesting effects.

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