4 Watercolor Pencil Techniques

Watercolor pencils look the same as regular colored pencils and can be used the same way. The magic happens when water is added, transforming the pencils and causing them to behave like watercolor paint.

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.

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.

Let’s Explore Techniques You Can Try With Watercolor Pencils

Technique #1: Color Your Drawing By Layering Colors, And Then Paint Over The Area With A Brush And Plain Water

This is the most common way to paint with watercolor pencils. In this technique, you are simply coloring areas of your painting and then brushing over them with plain water. I recommend you brush the lighter areas first, as you don’t want to brush darker pigments into the lighter areas of the painting.

The first thing to consider when using watercolor pencils is that colors will look different after water is added. It’s generally a good idea 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.

Technique #2: Use Watercolor Pencils As Portable Paint

Watercolor pencils can be used on-the-go as a substitute for watercolor pans. You can either draw a spot of color on an area of your paper, using this as you would use a palette, or directly rub your brush against the tip of the pencil. However, using paper as a palette will give you more control with the intensity of the color.

Technique #3: Use The Pencils Dry To Add Details On A Watercolor Painting

Watercolor pencils can be used on top of a watercolor painting to add designs and fine details. I find this technique really useful when painting cityscapes, for example, to create very fine lines like electric wires or buildings details.

Technique #4: Add Patterns With Watercolor Pencils

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

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