How to Use Water-Soluble Colored Pencils (Part 2)

This is part 2 of the How to Use Water-Soluble Colored Pencils lily demonstration by Kristy A. Kutch, contributor in Colored Pencil Explorations by Janie Gildow. Click here to view Part 1.

STEP 3: Punch Up Color
Using medium pressure layer Canary Yellow followed by Limepeel on the leaves, stems and buds. Burnish with the Colorless Blender pencil and then repeat with layers of Canary Yellow and Limepeel. Burnish the flower with Cream. This smoothes the paper tooth and gives a shimmery effect to the entire lily. Reapply Golden Ochre and Chrome Yellow Light, and add a touch of Canary Yellow for warmth. Use Black Grape to softly define the hollows on the edges of the petals where they curve upward and where the stamens cast their shadows. Add Black Grape and the thick lead Tuscan Red to the stems, leaves, and to the creases in the buds to continue to darken values and augment local color.

STEP 4: Sharpen and Refine the Image
With a very sharp Verithin Tuscan Red and Vermilion, edge and define the stamens and pistil in the center of the flower. Keep the defining edge clean and thin. Using circular strokes, texturize the tips of the stamens with Verithin Tuscan Red and Golden Brown, followed by Black Grape. Apply the fine tip of the Colorless Blender marker to the stalks and tips just enough to liquefy and blend the color. Add Verithin Vermilion to the top of the pistil and blend in the same manner with the fine tip of the Colorless Blender marker. Use the thick lead Tuscan Red with heavy pressure to indicate the irregular speckles on the petals, then apply the fine tip of the Colorless Blender marker to them, going outside of each speckle just a little to lightly smear the color and avoid a uniform polka dot effect.

STEP 5: Prepare the Masking Film
Place a piece of masking film, shiny side up and paper side down, over the lily. With the permanent marker, trace the outline of the lily, the buds, stems and leaves. It’s important that you use a permanent marker in this step (rather than one that is water-based) so that the ink dries quickly and doesn’t smudge.

STEP 6: Spatter the Background
Cut out the entire lily, and the two small negative areas inside it, from the masking film.
Peel away the paper backing from the masking film cutout and lightly press the protective pattern in place over the lily and leaves, matching lines and edges. Load the toothbrush with Albrecht Dürer Canary Yellow by wetting the toothbrush with water and running the water-soluble pencil back and forth across the damp toothbrush. Blot it lightly on a tissue. Placing your thumb along the edge of the bristles and using the lily as the epicenter, flick the yellow pigment across the white background, radiating around and out from the picture. Redampen the toothbrush, reload with pigment, reblot and continue to spatter until the entire background is covered evenly with yellow. If any droplets are too large, don’t blot them. Instead, touch a corner of the tissue to the oversized droplet and wick away the excess moisture. Complete the background with a layer of Wine Red and last a layer of Mauve. Allow each layer to dry at least ten minutes before spattering on a new color.

STEP 7: Peel Back the Film and Retouch
Allow the background to dry completely. Gently pull back an edge of the masking film and peel it away. You can save it on a piece of foil, in case it becomes necessary to reposition and reuse it. Retouch any spots where the film may have lifted the colored pencil. In any areas where the pattern extended beyond the lily and left white spaces, randomly dot in the background colors with a dry, and very sharp, water-soluble pencil, matching the spatters. Define and sharpen edges with Verithin Lavender or Tuscan Red. Mist with several light coats of ultraviolet light resistant spray in a well-ventilated area.

Kristy A. Kutch, CPSA
8″ x 9″ (20cm x 23cm)
Colored pencil and water-soluble colored pencil on 115-lb. (240gsm) watercolor paper
Collection of the artist


Kristy A. Kutch, CPSA, is a graduate of Purdue University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education, as well as a license in teaching. She has taught colored pencil/water-soluble pencil workshops nationwide. Kristy’s work has appeared in many books and publications including North Light Books’ Creating Radiant Flowers in Colored Pencil and Exploring ColorBest of Colored Pencil 1, 3 and 5, as well as Creative Colored Pencil (Rockport Books), Drawing and Painting with Colored Pencil (Watson-Guptill) and International Artist magazine. Visit Kristy’s website for contact info and to view more of her work.


Janie Gildow is a graduate of the Ohio State University and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority with a bachelor of Science in art education. After a career as an art instructor in the public schools, Janie has been a full-time professional artist since 1991.

She is co-author (with Barbara Benedetti Newton) of North Light Books’ The Colored Pencil Solution Book and Colored Pencil Explorations, and her award-winning work has been published in The Artist’s Magazine, American Artist, International Artist and in many books and publications including The Best of Colored Pencil 2, 3, 4 and 5 (Rockport Books).

Janie teaches workshops and judges art exhibitions throughout the United States. She is available to present the colored pencil to any group, including high school and college students. She is a Signature Member of the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA). Janie resides in sunny Arizona and teaches classes in Green Valley. Please visit her Web site at or email her at

Janie Gildow, CPSA
10″ x 14″ (25cm x 36cm)
Colored pencil on 140-lb. (300gsm) hot-pressed watercolor paper and black LetraMax board
Collection of the artist

Janie Gildow, CPSA
11″ x 10″ (28cm x 25cm)
Colored pencil and acrylic on Canson Mi-Teintes no. 431 Steel Gray paper
Collection of the artist


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