Painting with watercolour pencils is easy if you know a few basic rules. First of all, you should have everything ready that you need to paint with the watercolour pencils:
Choose a colour set that contains the most important basic colours. These open up more design possibilities and make your watercolours look more realistic.
It is best to use paper from a watercolour block with a structured surface and a minimum weight of 200 to 300 g/m2.
The undisputed classic is the round brush, which has a round opening and tapered brush hairs. A small round brush is best suited for fine details, the larger counterpart for large areas. For watercolouring corners and edges, however, you should use a flat brush.
Having a glass full of water nearby is necessary for painting with watercolours to wet your brushes. You should change the water regularly as soon as it becomes too discoloured.
Paper towels are handy to have close by as you will occasionally use them to squeeze the brushes.
Painting with watercolour pencils:
What painting techniques are there?
The good thing about watercolour pencils is that you can also use them like conventional coloured pencils to draw and hatch with them on normal paper (copy/sketch paper). They have a slightly softer lead so that the pencils release a lot of colour with little pressure. The special thing about watercolour pencils, however, is that they are watercolourable.
There are a few techniques you can use to paint with watercolour pencils. Nadja shows you which ones in the video.
Since a lot of water is used for painting watercolours with pencils, you should definitely use special watercolour paper.
There are 9 basic techniques that you can use and try out when painting with watercolour pencils. Download the exercise sheet for the techniques beforehand to use during the video.
#1: Flat wash
Colour an area with the watercolour pencils and then wet it with a little water. Make sure that the watercolour pencils are applied as evenly as possible. You can also make the surface more even with your brush strokes.
#2: Gradient wash
With the gradient wash technique, apply the colour more prominently at one end and then let it run out. To do this, apply more pressure to the colour pencil at one end. Reduce the pressure towards the lighter side. Where you want the area to be the lightest, do not apply any pigments with the colour pencil. Only a few pigments are "pushed" here with water and brush.
#3: Damp watercolour pencil on dry paper
For this technique, dip the tip of your watercolour pencil into a small container of water. Then you draw soft lines on dry watercolour paper, which will immediately flow discreetly. To use this technique, you need to wet the watercolour pencil at short intervals, as the tip dries quickly.
#4: Dry watercolour pencil on wet watercolour paper
Another technique: Moisten the paper with water beforehand. You can spray it or apply a thin layer of moisture with a brush. When you colour the paper with the watercolour pencils, the colours will melt and create beautiful gradients.
#5: Colour transitions
With this technique, you first apply the colours with the watercolour pencils to the dry watercolour paper. Then you paint everything with a brush and water. Important: When applying the pigments with the watercolour pencil, you can already draw a thin layer of both colours on top of each other where the colours are to mix. When you add water, the colours will blend seamlessly.
#6: Mixing colours
You can also mix your own colour that is not included in the watercolour pencil palette. Apply two colours dry on top of each other and then dissolve them with water so that they mix on the paper.
You can also work with watercolour pencils in several layers of wet-on-dry. Blend a first layer of colour with water and let it dry completely. To achieve more depth or a darker colour, you can colour a second or third layer and blend it again with water.
#8: Pencil tip colour
You can also moisten the tip of the watercolour pencil with water to dissolve the pigments. You can then pick them up with the brush and draw with them.
#9: Sandpaper technique
Create random effects or structures when drawing with your watercolour pencils by spreading pigments from the lead on the paper and dissolving them with water. Here you can experiment and try out a lot of designs.
Painting with watercolour pencils: Find more inspiration here
Do you want to try out the techniques yourself and experiment with your watercolour pencils? Then get started straight away! In the video below, Nadja shows you how she paints a poppy meadow using different techniques.
Download our free template for painting with watercolour pencils for beginners to use during the video and get started.
Want to see how to transfer the template to watercolour paper again? Nadja explains it step by step in this video on our page for getting started with watercolour painting.
You can also combine different techniques and products in one watercolour painting. You can find out exactly how to do this in this video.
Download the motif template to use during the video.
How do watercolour pencils differ from watercolour paints?
Painting with watercolour pencils is particularly suitable for beginners who are not yet as skilled with a brush as they offer the control of a pencil while allowing for beautiful watercolour effects. They are also easy to carry and the perfect all-rounder for on-the-go watercolour drawing.
You can create artistic images with pencils just as you can with watercolour paints - the only difference is that colours from paint tubes have a slightly more intense pigmentation than watercolour pencils.
How do watercolour pencils differ from coloured pencils?
Visually, watercolour pencils differ from regular coloured pencils by having a small brush symbol embossed on them. Their shape makes them extremely handy and allows for easy colour application. You can create dry drawings with them or paint your drawings with water.
Finally, the lead of the watercolour pencils is the most important distinguishing feature from conventional coloured pencils. While the ingredients of the watercolour lead are very similar to the waterproof lead, it contains additional substances to achieve watercolourability. This allows you to apply colours in a glazed way and create a transparent look. Or you can use the watercolour pencils to accentuate the contours and lines of your watercolour painting to give it more expression and depth.