Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor pencils (also called water-soluble pencils) are just what the name implies – colored pencils with watercolor properties. You simply draw with them as you would any other colored pencil, then take a wet brush to turn your work into a painting.

Watercolor pencils come encased in wood like regular pencils or as woodless pencils secured by a thin binding paper. You can purchase them in sets of up to forty pencils, or you can buy them individually. Because it’s easier to apply color with softer pencils, it’s worth trying out a couple of individual colors from different brands to see which you like better.

These pencils lend themselves to a variety of uses:

• Use them instead of a graphite pencil to outline the area you are painting. This way no graphite is left behind.

• Draw with the pencils on dry paper and then wash over it with clean water

• Wet your brush, then touch the tip of a pencil to obtain the color and apply it to your paper

• Dip the tip of the pencil into the water, then draw with your pencil

• Wet the paper, then draw directly on that

• Draw on dry paper but only add water to specific portions of your drawing

• Draw on top of a painting that is already dry

• Layer the colors as you would with regular colored pencils, then apply the water

All you need to begin is paper (because the paper will buckle when water is applied, I recommend you use watercolor paper just as if you were painting), a round watercolor brush , a cloth for wiping your brush, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, and your pencils.

As with any other type of media you try, practice with the pencils a while to determine how much color is needed to achieve the intensity and effects you desire. Because the color will be diluted by water, the final painting often appears lighter than the pencil you applied.