Adding Details with Watersoluble Pencils

I found it very exciting to combine watersoluble pencils with my watercolors for this painting of a promontory that jutted out over the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I used watercolor as the background. Then, I masked the edge of the rock formation and laid in many successive layers of watercolor in atmospheric blues to suggest great distance. When I removed the mask, I completed the foreground rock shape itself with watercolor pencils, combining tight details with loose, sketchy areas, something I would never have thought of if I had stayed with my usual “tried-and-true” materials and technique.

Note: If you need to use a liquid mask, it’s usually more successful to apply it and remove it before you begin to add the pencil work, because the vigorous application of the lead can lift the mask.

Claire Sykes is a freelance writer based in Victoria, British Columbia, who specializes in art, music and design.

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