In the most common water-soluble pencil technique, the color is applied dry and then moistened for a watercolor look. The advantage is that the dry application allows for much more control than is available with traditional brushed-on watercolors. Another option is for the artist to break off a bit of the water-soluble pencil point, place it on a palette and let the point absorb a few drops of water for about half an hour. This results in a medium that looks and acts exactly like watercolor squeezed from a tube.
The artist can then create an underpainting or wash just as he or she would with watercolors. Color can also be taken directly from the water-soluble pencil tip with a brush and then applied to either wet or dry paper. Alternatively the color can be applied directly to a wet surface with a dry pencil or to a dry surface with a wet pencil point. Water-soluble pencil can also be combined with wax/oil-based pencil. All colors in this demonstration are Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer.
Color the leaf with gold ochre.
Apply water with a nearly dry watercolor brush.
Layer scarlet lake and emerald green.
Dab on water with a nearly dry watercolor brush.
Gary Greene has been a full-time artist since 1967 and is the author of four books and videos on colored pencil techniques, including No Experience Required: Colored and Watercolor Pencil. This demonstration is an excerpt from his article “Uptight is All Right” in the November 2008 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Click here to order your digital copy.
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