A Complete Guide On Choosing Watercolour Pencils

    Watercolour pencils have a mystical quality. Even though they appear to be regular coloured pencils, a touch of water quickly changes their markings into a wonderfully spreading colour that appears just like watercolour paint.

    In this article, we will explain what watercolour pencils are, particular techniques for using watercolour pencils, and propose some of the best watercolour pencils for your work. We will also see how to paint with watercolour pencils.

    What Are Watercolour Pencils?

    Watercolour pencils resemble ordinary coloured pencils in appearance. The distinction is that they react to water and can produce effects akin to watercolour paints. Water is soluble in the binding of watercolour pencil pigments. When water is added, the binding releases additional pigment, resulting in vibrant hues.

    Traditional coloured pencils include an oil or wax-based binder, which helps them to adhere to the surface of the paper and is more suited for layering and blending. Watercolour pencils cannot be blended or layered in the same manner, but you may get some fascinating effects by adding water.

    Watercolour Pencils Vs. Paints

    So, how do watercolour pencils stack up against paints? Are these simply paints in pencil? No, not exactly. These are two distinct but related forms of media. Mastering watercolour pencils will not turn you become a master painter. Even seasoned painters would need to brush up on their techniques if they switched to pencils.

    watercolour pencils

    Watercolour pencils and paint, on the other hand, work nicely together. You may add details to your watercolour painting with pencils. Alternatively, paint a backdrop and sketch the primary subject using pencils. Both show you how to use colours and water. Watercolour painting is widely regarded as the most challenging kind of painting.

    Watercolour pencils can help you get started with watercolour painting. You’ll discover how water affects pigments, how it carries paint over paper, and how it mixes colours.

    Benefits Of Watercolour Pencils

    The advantages of utilising watercolour pencils over paints may be summarised in three points:

    watercolour pencils

    • Control
    • Detail
    • Convenience

    Most individuals find it simpler to control a pencil than a brush. Watercolour pencils become less frightening as a result of this. They also use less water, which is the greatest unpredictability of watercolour. Having greater control over the water allows you to have more control over the pigments on the page.

    Pencils also allow for greater detail. A watercolour pencil’s sharp point helps you to lay down more visual information than a brush’s flexible end. You don’t even need to add water if you want a very sharp line.

    Watercolour pencils are another easy technique to create in colour. Unlike paints, all you need are your favourite pencils, a brush, and a tiny quantity of water.

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    Materials Needed To Paint

    1. Watercolour Pencils

    If you’re just getting started, go with a basic package of 12 watercolour pencils. If you’re on a tight budget or just feeling brave, you can get away with only the three main colours: red, yellow, and blue. Black and white can be beneficial, but they aren’t required. Watercolour pencil sets of high quality are available for artists of all ability levels, from novice to experienced. Let’s have a look at other alternatives.

    This collection of 12 pencils is an excellent way to begin working with the medium. They are reasonably priced while yet providing a high level of quality that will allow you to experience the genuine sense of working with watercolour pencils. These Derwent pencils are easy to sharpen and are made to be break-resistant.

    While a package of Derwent watercolour pencils will not allow you to colour everything, these pencils are blendable and can be layered or softened with water to produce a wide variety of hues with a relatively little quantity of pencils. Because the colour in these isn’t permanent, you may go back after it’s dried and modify it by adding more water and pigment.

    watercolour pencils

    The Faber Castell watercolour pencils come in a package of 30, which offers you a lot more tonal range than the set of 12. The pigment core in these pencils is extremely soft, which means that it is stronger and less prone to breaking than tougher, brittle leads. The Faber Castell watercolour pencils 48 contains vivid, powerful colours that are permanent, meaning they can’t be changed after they’ve dried.

    This reduces bleeding, allowing you to paint one colour, let it dry, and then paint another colour right up to it without worrying about the colours flowing into each other. The Faber Castell watercolour pencils are high-quality watercolour pencils, and the 120 colours included in the package allow you to colour almost anything you can think of, especially when you consider the blending and layering possibilities.

    The leads are break-resistant, and these pencils have exceptional lightfastness, which means that your work will not fade when exposed to sunlight or other factors, and it will make drawing with watercolour pencils simpler.

    2. Paper

    When it comes to paper, you’ll want to go with something a little thicker than regular sketching paper. When you add water to regular paper, it will warp and wrinkle. Watercolour paper, depending on its quality, can contain a significant quantity of water without being distorted. Watercolour paper is available in three different textures: hot press, cold press, and rough.

    watercolour pencils

    Many painters work with cold press paper, which has some roughness or “tooth.” When most people think of watercolour paper, they usually think of cold press. It’s great for adding texture. The surface of hot press watercolour paper is smooth, similar to drawing paper. It is, nevertheless, thick enough to hold water without warping.

    3. Textures

    Watercolour paper is available in three different textures: hot press, cold press, and rough. Many painters work with cold press paper, which has some roughness or “tooth.” When most people think of watercolour paper, they usually think of cold press. It’s great for adding texture. The surface of hot press watercolour paper is smooth, similar to drawing paper. It is, nevertheless, thick enough to hold water without warping.

    watercolour pencils

    Because hot press paper absorbs colour more slowly than cold press paper, you have more time to alter the paint before it dries. Rough paper is comparable to cold press paper, but it has a more textured surface.

    4. Weight

    Papers will be labelled with a weight, such as 90 lb, 140 lb, or 300 lb. Watercolor paper is measured by the weight of 500 sheets. A greater weight of paper may contain more water. The most widely used paper is 140-pound paper. Watercolour paper of excellent quality and affordability is available from firms such as Strathmore and Canson, while experts may choose Arches or Reeves.

    These are some specific samples of paper from these manufacturers that are good for use with watercolour pencils:

    • Strathmore Cold Pressed 140-Pound Watercolor Paper: This watercolour paper pad has 12 sheets of heavy quality watercolour paper. The cold-pressed paper is ideal for experimenting with watercolour pencils and creating texture. This Strathmore pad is competitively priced and suitable for both beginners and experts.
    • Canson XL Series Watercolor Pad: This pad is a bargain at this pricing. It is made of 30 sheets of 140-pound cold-pressed paper, making it strong enough to survive several washing without warping or dissolving.

    The wire binding is useful since it allows you to flip the cover all the way open without bending the pages.

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    • Arches 140-Pound Rough Watercolor Paper: The Arches pad comes with 20 sheets of watercolour paper. The rough paper provides great textural effects in paintings, and each piece of Arches paper is quality-inspected. Because it is more costly, this is a higher-end paper that would be best suited to serious or professional artists.
    • Bellofy Artist Pro Series Sketchpad: This sketchpad is made of lesser weight 98-pound paper, so it’s thinner than some of the other alternatives on our list, but it’s ideal for use with watercolour pencils because you’ll be using less water than you would with traditional watercolour paints. The 100 sheets in this book will outlast any of the other smaller pads we’ve talked about.

    5. Brush

    You won’t need to put much thought into selecting a brush for watercolour pencils. A low-cost brush will suffice. The highest quality watercolour brushes are Faber-Castell watercolour pencils, but the price reflects this. There are now numerous synthetic brushes and sable-synthetic blend brushes that function almost as well as sable brushes.

    The brush shape and size are important factors to consider. You can use a circular brush, although a flat brush may also be used to produce tiny details. Round brushes are more adaptable, but flat brushes can create smooth level backgrounds. Size 4 watercolour pencils are my go-to for little watercolour pencil drawings, with size 2 for extremely minute details.

    watercolour pencils

    To learn what sizes of brushes are available, see a brush sizing table. Consider the size of the project and select a few brushes accordingly. Remember that a bigger brush will contain more water, so novices should start small. The Faber Castell watercolour pencils 24 is an excellent choice for beginners.

    This package is incredibly affordable, and it comes with eight various sized round brushes. The brushes are composed of a nylon and goat hair blend, so they hold water well and brush it on evenly.

    Consider the Reeves watercolour pencil set for greater versatility, which contains a size 2 round brush for tiny details, a size 8 round brush for covering big areas, a half-inch angle shader, and a three-quarter-inch wash brush. The tiny points and sharp edges of these artist watercolour pencils, manufactured of synthetic Kolinsky sable, give unmatched detail capabilities.

    Consider this da Vinci Watercolor Brush if you want a high-quality, genuine sable watercolour brush. It’s composed of Russian blue squirrel hair, thus it’s a genuine sable brush with great water-holding qualities. The wood handle and copper wire wrap are both environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

    6. Other Optional Materials

    For early sketching, a graphite pencil might be useful. If you have a choice, choose a pencil with a 2B to 4B lead for drawing. This Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencil Set has twelve various black and soft leads that are ideal for everything from sketching to fine detail drawing. The soft (B series) pencils feature a thick 3.5 mm core that allows for the creation of soft, smooth lines.

    The Staedtler Lumograph Graphite Drawing & Sketching Pencils, which come in a set of six pencils, are another excellent alternative for sketching pencils. When applied, they produce rich, dark colours and are ideal for sketching a preliminary drawing. Another useful substance is masking fluid.

    This fluid can be used to mask off sections of your painting that you wish to stay white or a substantially lighter hue. Clouds, the sheen on a piece of fruit, or the whites of a person’s eyes are all examples. Because it is colourless and will not stain, this Winsor & Newton Art Masking Fluid is an ideal choice.

    Simply paint it into the areas that you want to keep white, let it dry, then add your watercolour pencils and water around it, and then rub off the masking fluid with your finger or a rubber eraser after the paint is done. It will create a clean negative space, which is otherwise difficult to produce with watercolour paints.

    The main disadvantage of using a transparent masking fluid is that it is difficult to see as you apply it, so you may not be able to know if you’ve adequately coated the target region. To make things simpler, use coloured masking fluid, such as this Pebeo Drawing Gum. It’s coloured blue to make it easier to see.

    Allow those spots to dry after applying masking fluid using an inexpensive brush. Then you may sketch and paint without having to worry about getting colour on certain areas. When you’re finished, carefully wipe away the masking fluid to expose a clean, white surface underneath.

    Choose The Best Watercolour Pencils

    The finest watercolour pencils generate vibrant colours and come in a variety of shades. Greater vibrancy helps you to create a variety of tones by varying the pressure you apply, and a wide colour range allows you to find the ideal hue even if it’s difficult to blend from a pencil.

    It’s also a good idea to select pencils that are sold separately so that you can quickly replace the colours you use the most. We hope you get a viable idea about watercolours through this guide.

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