The Creative Plan – Watercolour Pencils Day 2

Project_4_Day_2The technique used on Day 1, where the base layer was made up of cross-hatching colour, was so effective and interesting I adjusted today’s exercise to involve more of the same.


Layering – all colours at once

(using Staedtler Karan Aquarelles)

This drawing was about applying all the colours at once from light to dark. One concern was that the blue-purple sections might overpower the yellow-orange areas once I added water possibly resulting in muddied colours. 

Pencil work – initial stage

Like most exercises the first one of the day acts as a testing ground so I tend to go with my natural style of drawing whether its right or wrong for that medium or even if it ‘works for me’ or not. This stops me from being too intimidated with the task at hand and also allows me to get a feel for the medium.

After adding water

The dominance of the blue-purple pencilling didn’t end up being an issue at all. I was possibly expecting the colour to gush out with like my Derwent Inktense pencils, which I love and will explore next project, but the watercolour pencils don’t have the same reach. Similarly I thought the sky blue pencil would have travelled farther across the page then it did and hoped to transfer some of it to the bottom half of the picture but that wasn’t to be.


The end result wasn’t so bad. If this was more than just an exercise I probably would have added another layer to give the drawing more volume and depth. 

Layered – applying one colour at a time

(using Staedtler Karan Aquarelles)

First two layers.

As I had to wait for each layer to dry before adding the next it took some time to complete. Although I do love the cross-hatching texture, the colours were a bit too subtle for my personal taste. There is a lovely fullness to the scene and a feel for the dramatic to boot!

Adding a few more layers.

The original image (sourced from had light beaming down from the top centre. I tried recreating it by removing the colour with water, like I did with the green gumboot see last post, but it wasn’t as successful. Maybe the brand of pencil and paper were different from yesterday’s success or I should have adjusted the amount of water I had on my brush, perhaps even the choice of brush contributed as well…

Finished drawing

One colour – using graduating parallel lines

(using Albrecht Durer)

This was my favourite of the day. When I started it didn’t feel quite right and was uncertain if this was going in the direction I intended. Unfortunately it’s so hard to tell if what you’re initially putting down is going to work once you finally add water. You have to keep pluggin’ away and keep the faith!

Pencil stage – with tea spill

Even after I added water and it was still wet I thought it might need another layer, but once dried it looked really good. The richness and variety in the colour is down to it being a Durer pencil I think,  it has a more painterly quality and seems very receptive to water treatment, which you can even see in the section where I spilt my tea on it while I was still drawing! (see image above)

Adding water.

This was one of those moments where I surprised myself! Not wanting to blow my own horn here, but there were elements about it that reminded me of a Rembrandt etching.

The Three Trees by Rembrandt, an etching courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art

I think it’s the linework – where I wanted to thicken up the lines I went over them twice so it effectively created a dip pen & ink feel to it. This did take some time to set up but was well worth it.


The van Gogh treatment

(using Staedtler Karan Aquarelles)

This refers to how Vincent van Gogh applied pure colour, ie straight out of the tube onto his canvas and used linear brushstrokes. His painting style was so viscous, like a comb run through thick, wet hair. There is so much wonderful kinetic energy in his paintings and that inspired this exercise. 

Wheatfield with Cypresses by van Gogh, courtesy of the National Gallery, UK
Pencil layer

I really like the effect, similar to the last drawing. Although there was some hard labour initially (I was applying heavier pressure in some areas for more pigment coverage) it was almost too easy to create. Technically it wasn’t that complicated considering where I ended up. Again I tried removing colour to create the beams of light but the result looks amateurish.

Finished drawing

This has become an enjoyable project. Possibly because it does play to my strengths, ie drawing rather than painting, and compared to traditional colour pencils, watercolour pencils are a lot softer meaning there’s not as much wear and tear on my hand.


Next post
The Creative Plan – Day 3 Watercolour Pencil

Previous post
The Creative Plan – Day 1 Watercolour Pencils

5 thoughts on “The Creative Plan – Watercolour Pencils Day 2

  1. Yowsers! LOVE the Albrecht Durer pencil study and with good reason you say Rembrandt because that was the first thing that popped into my mind when those first images popped up. I love Van Gogh’s lines and have spent ages staring when I had the chance to see the real drawings.

  2. Some really nice looks and textures. The blue one has so much in it – from details to plain areas – and a sense of drama to the whole picture. Gorgeous Meegan.

Comments are closed.

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: