How To Use Watercolor Pencils | A Video Series (Part 1)

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Watercolor Pencils

A beautiful but different way of creating wonderful works of watercolor art is to paint using a pencil – a watercolor pencil. But how to use watercolor pencils properly to create a beautiful work of art?

To start, simply dry sketch your masterpiece on the canvas and, with the right brush and a bit of skill, change that pencil sketch into a breathtaking watercolor painting.

Paint with watercolour pencils
Water soluble colored pencils can open up a whole new world of art possibilities.

Watercolor pencils, unlike standard colored pencils, are constructed using water-soluble binders in which the various pigments are suspended.  A special watercolor canvas is then sketched upon and shaded using these pencils.

Once the landscape, portrait or other subject is sketched out on the canvas, a paintbrush is then dipped in water and the water is “painted” over the various pencil colors that have been drawn onto the canvas.

This “activates” the dry watercolor paints and they become useable as normal watercolors. There are a wide variety of styles and techniques that can be applied to the use of watercolor pencils.

We, at Easel Art Pro felt that it was important to include various styles and techniques for using watercolor pencils. We also wanted to do that in a way that would be the most helpful and demonstrative to our readers and followers. Tutorial videos seemed to be the best way to do that (besides hands-on experience). Follow along with these videos and you can do both.

We searched youtube and compiled a group of informative videos that attempt to give you a variety of ways to use watercolor pencils. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Rather, these watercolor pencil videos are complied here in order to get you started on your personal journey to explore this art form.

How To Use Watercolor Pencil Paper

Let’s start with what kind of paper you should select when using watercolor pencils and go through a few basics and other methods and techniques you should know about this art form.

As you can see, there are several ways to apply the color to the canvas and they are interchangeable during the same project.  These techniques allow you various methods of blending wet or dry watercolor pencil applications, ways of layering to create a more uniform coloring, wet and dry outlining and other helpful tips and tricks to get you started in using watercolor pencils.

Supplies Mentioned in This Video

• Strathmore 360 Watercolor Paper

Use watercolor paperThis heavy-weight paper is ideal for mastering watercolor techniques. This set comes with a hot press finish for finer detail and less absorption. Acid-free sheets measure 9×12 inches and come in a package of 12.

Get it on Amazon

• Pointed Round Brushes

Use watercolor brushesThis set of round pointed tip paintbrushes can be used with almost any paint medium. 9 different brush sizes all come with long handles for better ease of control.

They are well balanced with a smooth finished for comfort and are simple to clean in water.
Buy This Set

• Ohuhu Water Brush Pens for Watercolor Pencils

Use watercolor brush pensUse watercolor pencils dry on canvas then use a water brush to apply brushstrokes of water to targeted colored areas. This set comes with 6 water brush pens in a variety of sizes. High-quality nylon brush tips will stay intact without spray, spread, or smear.

To use, simply squeeze pen barrel to easily control the water flow. Easy clean-up with water after use.   Find Out More…

• Copic 9-Piece Outliners Inking Set

Use ink outliners on watercolor edges. These high-quality pigment-based ink outliners are simply elegant. The go on smooth, dry fast, have strong tips that draw crisp lines with less pooling. These all-purpose pens sport a dark-black waterproof ink that works well with other canvas mediums.   Use with watercolors is well-known because the ink will not bleed.

Get Yours Here

How To Use Watercolor Pencils

The quality of your watercolor pencils will make a big difference in your final piece of art work. The density of the pigment in the pencil allows for brighter colors and easier more vibrant blending. Sparse pigment color is cheaper watercolor pencils cause a variety of issues including weak coloring, watery or grainy finish and even fading over time. Spend the extra money and choose a professional class of watercolor pencils. They will last well and perform well and you will be ever grateful that you did not subject your masterworks of art to inferior paints that fade and darken over time.

Get Free Art Lessons Here

After selecting a high-quality set of watercolor pencils, you’ll want to get a feel for how they look dry and how their appearance changes with the addition of watered brush strokes. You do this by designing a graph of color swatches. It’s fun and you can determine the gradient effects each pencil will produce. This will later help you with your shading as you refer to this color chart during your actual painting process.

Kirsty then shows you how to sketch out your watercolor project and demonstrates masking off the parts of the art work to be protected prior to applying your watercolor pencils. She including simple hints that make your project funner and easier, like using masking pens, Washi tape, borders, backgrounds and other neat little tricks. She then instructs you on the actual pencil color application.

This is quite a well done step-by-step tutorial that really shows the process of creating a finished project that looks professional and well executed. There is a lifelike look and sense to the final product. Kristy also provides extra tips, tricks and hints that really will round out your watercolor skill set.

Supplies Mentioned in This Video

• Watercolor Pencils

how to use high quality watercolor pencils
These are professional grade watercolor pencils.

Professional Quality watercolor pencils mix better, last longer and stray brighter over time.

This Faber-Castell 60 count pencil set is of professional quality and used by many artists for high quality watercolor pencil projects.
Buy it Here

• Winsor & Newton Art Masking Fluid

Use masking fluid to protected areas of your watercolor pencil art.Use masking fluid is as a method of temporarily sealing off parts of your art work from your watercolor paints. Once the masking fluid drys, paint on your canvas as usual and the masked areas won’t absorb the watercolor paints.

When your watercolors dry, simply rub off the masked areas and your canvas will then absorb your watercolors normally.
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• Washi Tape

Use Washi tape to protect the edges of your watercolor artwork.This multi-purpose art adhesive is great for art projects of all kinds. It works especially well for masking off borders on watercolor pencil projects or other works of art..

This set features 30 rolls of 15mm wide Washi Tape in a variety of colors and is great for scrapbooks, planners and arts and crafts.

Buy on Amazon

• Molotow Masking Fluid Pen

Use a masking pen to protect areas of your watercolor painting.Use the pen to apply a mask to area of your painting that are not to be painted. When dry color with watercolor pencils as you would normally. Apply brushstrokes of water to your colorized portions and let dry. Then remove the masking material.
Get Masking Pen Here

12 Watercolor Pencil Techniques

There are many techniques to be used in water color pencil projects. You can color dry pencil on dry paper, then add brushstrokes of water. Another technique is to layer in a gradual radiant shading. You can see in this video 12 methods of using these watercolor pencils that when combined really give you a wide amount of versatility in your art work. Lifting pigment to your project, blending and wetting you watercolor pencil tip are even covered. this is a light fun tutorial that really adds to your toolbox of painting styles.

Take some time to practice these techniques and look for ways to incorporate them into your next watercolor pencil art project. It will show your growing creativity and repertoire of painting skills.

Supplies Mentioned in This Video

KOH-I-NOOR Mondeluz Watercolor Pencils

Student grade watercolor pencils should not be used in professional art works.Student Grade PencilsSet of 48 watercolor pencils. May not be suiting for long-lasting professional grade compositions.

Click for More Info…

• Water Color Paint Brushes

Round Tip Watercolor Brush
Flat Tip Watercolor Brush

• Benvo Washi Tape (for masking)

Washi tape works well to protect areas of your watercolor art.This multi-purpose art adhesive is great for art projects of all kinds. It works especially well for masking off borders on watercolor pencil projects or other works of art.

This set features 10 rolls of 0.6 inch wide wide Washi Tape in a variety of colors and is great for scrapbooks, planners and arts and crafts. Each roll is 33 feet long. Easy to stick and remove without any residue. Buy on Amazon

Fabriano Cold Press  Watercolor Paper

Use high quality watercolor paper in your permanent art.This studio grade watercolor pad of 50 sheets provides you with a high-quality 140lb cold press canvas suitable for most watercolor pencil projects. 

It’s acid free and is accurately sized at 9×12 Inches.

Buy It Now!

Great Beginner ‘How To’ Tutorial

This video is for the beginner and uses tips and guides that start at the basics and help you through the entire procedure, in an easy to follow step-by-step tutorial, that walks you through a practice project that simplifies the art of using watercolor pencils.

In this video, Shayda walks you carefully through not only the basic materials you need, but takes you through the entire process of getting to know your watercolor pencils. She talks about shading, darkening, as well as the effects of adding water to the canvass. She also shows you how to move the paint to lift, blend, lighten and various other ways to control your paints as you render your personal masterpiece.

Supplies Mentioned in This Video

Caran D’ache Swiss Watercolor Pencils

Swiss made watercolour pencils

These fine Swiss water color pencils began production in 1931 and have been a European favorite ever since.

Wonderful for fine detailed work, drawings, art graphics and illustrations due to the high pigment concentration in each pencil lead.

Buy on Amazon (80 ct.)
Buy on Amazon (40 ct.)

Buy on Amazon (12 ct.)

• Staedtler Premium German Watercolor Pencils

German made watercolor pencilsThese premium quality pencils are constructed in Germany using brilliant light-fast colors and provide your with exceptional blending quality for a smooth and color-intensive work of art.

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Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper

Use professional grade watercolor paper.This is very high quality 140 lb. Hot Press block of watercolor paper that comes in a 20 Sheet pack and is suitable for professional grade water colors and watercolor pencils.

Get it in 2 days with Amazon Prime

• Grumbacher #8 Round Watercolor Brush

How To Use Watercolor Pencils with a brush.
Buy It Now

More Advanced Techniques

Lets take things to a bit higher level. Easel Art Pro searched for progressively advanced tutorials that can really increase your abilities as an artist. This cute little pumpkin lesson adds a new dimension to watercolor pencil art that we think will be fun and interesting.

Realize that some art supplies are more of a student quality and while great for practice and personal satisfaction and fun are not meant to stand as professional grade materials that will stand the test of time. This video is about technique and style and not about the materials them selves. That said, we have listed the supplies that we can see are used in this video as a way of trying to be helpful to your needs.

Supplies Mentioned in This Video

• Arteza Watercolor Sketchbook

Watercolor sketch books make a more portable portfolio.Watercolor paper bound in the form of a beautiful take-anywhere sketch pad. Each set is spiral bound and contains 30 acid free cold pressed watercolor sheets of premium paper. Perfect for use with wet, dry or mixed media arts.

Find on Amazon

• Arteza Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor pencilsThis Value Pack of 48 watercolor pencils are pre-sharpened and come in a gentle triangle shape for easy and comfortable gripping. The unique shape keeps your pencils from rolling off the table. 

Find on Amazon

• OOKU Artist Series Water Brush Pens

Watercolor Brush Pens work well student and professional artisans alike.This set of 7 Watercolor Brush Pens are perfect for student and professional artisans alike. These premium brushes provide finer control of water flow the assorted brush tips give you consistently fine, medium or bold strokes as needed. Easy to use and clean these exceptionally crafted pen won’t leak and use high-quality nylon brush tips.

Get OOKU Water Brush Pens

How To Use Watercolor Pencils
– Finer Skills Techniques

As we move to higher and higher skill levels, we chose this more intricate composition to test your abilities and help you grow your watercolor pencil skill set. This tutorial on watercolor sunflowers is a little over 15 minutes long and in that short time your will be able to follow along an entire project. The instruction here is quite professional and well-explained. We hope you find it beneficial and exciting.

Get Free Access to Over 70 Painting Tutorials Here

This virtual instructor employs an easy and natural flowing style to demonstrate blending, intensity, layering and wetting the actual color lead. Shading and contrast are also addressed. He then demonstrates an entire project highlighting contrast, flow, layering and intensity levels.  He also explains transition zones, how to activate the watercolor paints on the canvas.

Texture layers and warmth layers are demonstrated to create depth and complexity. Specific colors are noted as he activates the various colors and what style of brush strokes to use to avoid over blending or muddling of colors.

Tricks about quickening the drying time and other techniques are showcased. The finished piece is much more complex than any of our previous videos. Careful study of the artist’s methods will serve you well as you enhance your skills on your way to becoming a master artist. It is wonderful to see the sunflowers almost come alive right before your eyes.

Supplies Mentioned in This Video

Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper

How To Use Watercolor Pencils and Watercolor PaperThis is very high quality 140 lb. Hot Press block of watercolor paper that comes in a 20 Sheet pack and is suitable for professional grade water colors and watercolor pencils.

Get it on Amazon

• Derwent Watercolor Pencils 

How To find quality Watercolor PencilsThese break-resistant water soluble color pencils are come with a hexagonal barrel to give you greater precision on your detailed drawings. Great for achieving rich textured lines using a wetted tip. When used on dampened paper you can brighten your colors and soften the edges of your renderings.

Their softer pigment formation allows quicker transfer of color to paper to better assist with blending and layering.

Find Derwent Water Color Pencils Here

• Grumbacher Golden Edge Round Watercolor Brush

How To Use Watercolor Pencils and Brushes
Buy it now

Our tutorial series on watercolor pencils continues with even more ways to enhance your artisanship. Click the link below to go to our part 2 in this water color pencil series of video tutorial.

Continue > > How Use Watercolor Pencils – Part 2

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