5 Watercolour Pencil Techniques for Beginners

#FunFact Watercolour pencils were invented back in the 1940's. It can work as a regular colour pencil for normal drawings and as a watercolor pencil with the use of a paint brush and water for paintings. Most people love it as they get to enjoy the best of both worlds of painting and drawing.

Watercolour pencils basically possess the same physical structure as a traditional colour pencil - the only difference is that the binding in these pencils is water-soluble. In other words, if you add water to the pencil, it will release more pigment.

Thanks to it’s versatility, you can experiment with different colours, tones and techniques. Let’s look at the top 5 ways to use watercolour pencils - it’s all super simple and fun!

Watercolour Pencil Technique

What You Need:

  1. Watercolour Pencil
    Recommendation: Faber-Castell 114564 24 Watercolour Colour Pencil
  2. Brush
    Recommendation: Astar AB576-4 Artist Grip Brushes Set
  3. Paper
    Recommendation: IK Yellow A4 Paper 80GSM
  4. Paper Towel
    Recommendation: Royal Gold Kitchen Towel
  5. Water

Draw onto Dry Paper and Add Water

The technique dry-on-dry is self-explanatory. With this technique, you start to draw using the watercolour pencil. Start with lighter colours and then layer on the darker tones.

Once you are happy with your drawing, it is time to add some water - lightly damp a brush with water and remove the excess water using a paper towel. Next, add water to the lighter tones in your artwork. The pigments will start to intensify as you lightly wet the colours. If you are moving on to a new colour, make sure to rinse the brush first or change to a new brush. Otherwise, you will end up mixing up the colours to the one already on your brush.

Picture Credit: Incredible ArtPicture Credit: Incredible Art

Immerse Watercolour Pencils into Water

This technique is rather simple as you will just need to wet your watercolour pencils before drawing. This method is also known as wet-on-dry. Once your pencils are wet, start drawing on the paper. This will activate the pigments in the watercolour pencil and give you a more defined drawing. A point to note, this technique would not give you the watercolour effect or the gradient effect as much. It would be more pigmented and defined.

However, remember to completely dry your watercolour pencils after using them to prolong its use. Otherwise, it will get soggy, and you would not be able to use them as a “dry” colour pencil anymore.

Picture Credit: Incredible Art
Picture Credit: Incredible Art

Draw onto Wet Paper

This method is famously known as “dry-on-wet”. This technique will require you to wet the paper evenly using a flat paint brush. You will only need to wet the area you want to draw on and not the entire paper. Next, using the watercolour pencil, draw onto the wet area. The results are almost like the wet-on-dry method, but the effects last longer and are more vibrant. It will also look more textured and grainier compared to a smooth watercolour like effect.

Wet Watercolour Pencil on Wet Paper

The fourth technique and you might have guessed it right, is the “wet-on-wet” technique. This method is one of the trickiest as the effect is unpredictable because of its fluid nature. Firstly, wet the paper evenly with an adequate amount of water. Next, dip your pencil into water and start drawing. This technique is normally used to cover large areas when you need only a little colour on the paper.

Pro-Tip: Tilt the paper on all four angles to help the watercolour flow and you will have a more natural effect.

Be Precise

Now that you have gone through the 4 different techniques of using the watercolour pencil, let’s start adding on details into the artwork you have created. Using any of the techniques above, emphasize the areas of painting by shading or outlining it. Besides the usual brushes, you can also get creative by using tools like sponges, cotton buds, toothbrushes etc to create different textures.

One of the best parts about using watercolour pencils is portability. It’s dry and small and easy to carry around. What more can you ask? Moreover, it reduces the mess of wet paint seeping out through its casing.

Faber Castell Watercolour Colour Pencil

If we have convinced you to explore the fun and creativity of using watercolour colour pencils, head over to Lion File to find all the necessary supplies you will need to get started.