Monday, June 26, 2017

July 2017 newsletter: WC pencils techniques

Drawing a frog with watercolor pencil
For weeks now I’ve been working with watercolor pencil. It’s not easy. Sure there are some books (not many) and YouTube videos out there, but nothing that can prepare you for the patience needed to really create a believable picture.

While creating the rendering below, I found that the best method was drawing the entire frog as if it were a colored pencil project. After that, I gingerly added a light layer of water, melding the colors below--very much like adding solvent to colored pencils when blending. When everything was dry, I added more dry color and details. 

Layering: Color, Wet, Dry, Color At first, I went along with other people’s recommendations (authors and presenters). I added water to each layer of color, let it dry and then add another layer. I found this to cause a real mess for me. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good method, but I just found it to be difficult as well as tedious—color, wet, dry, color. I also didn’t get the best results.

Using lines, not so much color
Some folks use a lot of lines, hatch marks and cross hatching. I didn’t like that either 
because the marks would remain after the water was added. This may be cool if I were doing perhaps a grassy area and wanted green lines ghosting in the background. But aside from that application, I prefer to “color” in my subject using closely spaced lines or the side of my pencil.

Heavy outlines, then color
If you prefer to have your subject look like a drawing, you may opt to use heavy lines in an outline fashion. Some artists like to use this method for flowers that have dark edges. But be aware that it may be hard to pull any color away from the lines. And more importantly, you may not be able to change your mind.
 Yes, you can erase your watercolor pencils, but no matter how much you try, you’ll always leave a bit of residue and it gets worse when you use a hard line.

The picture below, which is from one of my test pages, shows how you can create a mess with heavy outlines. Unlike the garlic drawing above where I used dainty lines and light washes, these edges on the flower are hard and when water is applied, it can cause a blurry result. Notice though, that I accomplished something similar by first drawing two lines (in this example in ink, but can be laid down in pencil) and then "coloring" in between the lines. Voila! Blurry has been diminished. 

Layering: Drawing, Wet, Touch Up
While I vary my technique, sometimes adding water as I go along, I have found the best method for me, as stated above,  is to draw the object just like I were working with colored pencils. I apply all the color I can and then lay down water to blend. I let it dry completely, and add final details as the last step.

Making notes
Along the way, I've been taking notes on all the projects I've worked on. It helps me to remember what I did, what I learned and hopefully what I will or will not repeat. It is hard learning a new medium and this one is especially challenging. But once you get a handle on how these pencils work, it actually becomes a lot of fun.
I keep notes of all my experiments with watercolor pencils.

And finally
I created a pencil chart of several different manufacturers which is going into my watercolor pencil workbook. I thought it might be handy for you when you shop. Hope you find it useful.

Click on the above chart to make it larger

What's coming up!

Studio Classes and Workshops
New classes begin week of July 2, 2017*
Come join the fun while learning how to draw and/or paint in the Glastonbury Studios classes. Five-week term; limited to six students per class. Pre-registration and payment needed to secure your seat. To sign up for classes in my studio, please email me

Pencil to Brush
We will draw then paint a subject every two weeks (pencil and acrylic paint). Final week will be special project.
Every Tuesday morning*

10 am to 12:30 pm
$75 per five-week term

The Evening DrawSketching with pen and ink
Every Tuesday evening*
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
$75 per five-week term

The Morning DrawSketching with pen and ink
Every Wednesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$75 per five-week term

Pencil to Brush We will draw then paint a subject every two weeks (pencil and acrylic paint). Final week will be special project.
Every Thursday evening
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
$75 per five-week term

For more information email:
*July 4th Tuesday evening class will meet on Wednesday evening, July 5.

Glastonbury Studios One-Day Workshops
All studio workshops are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Includes supplies and lunch. The cost is $85. Class size is limited to nine students. Pre-registration is required. Only payment reserves your seat.
For full description of workshops see: 
Workshop Catalog

Drawing with Pastels/Oil and Soft
August 5

Beginning Acrylics
September 30

Stippling with ink and markers
October 14

Register by email:

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