Did you just buy a watercolor pencil set, or have you considered gifting one to a friend or relative? Watercolor art is famous for its unique look, and a great watercolor artist can create art the looks both lifelike and dreamy. A journey starts with a single step, however.
This guide will go over how to use watercolor pencils properly, so beginners can start here to learn the basics of how to use their watercolor pencil kit. Watercolor art is complex and involves skill with both color pencils and paintbrushes, so let’s get started in learning how to paint masterpieces.
What are Watercolor Pencils
With or without water
Watercolor has existed for over 8000 years, but watercolor pencils are a recent innovation. Standard watercolor paint utilizes wax or oil as its base, but watercolor pencils have water-soluble binder.
This means that when water comes into contact with watercolor paint, pigments will literally dissolve and fuse with water to create intense color.
Watercolor pencils can be used without water, however. Some artists use them without water to capture unique colors, tones, and gradients. But watercolor pencils thrive when used with water to create art that is pleasant to behold and fun to create.
Quality of pencils
Getting started with watercolor pencils doesn’t need to break the bank, however. Entry-level pencils provide great tones to start creating amazing pictures, and many artists keep them in their toolbox to use with their paintings.
Higher-quality pencils create color that blend naturally in water, so it could be worth it to invest in a good set as a beginner. Learning with stellar watercolor pencils may lead to having a terrific painting experience.
The rest of this watercolor painting tutorial will cover basic watercolor techniques and tips for beginners to get started painting.
How to use Watercolor Pencils for Beginners
Setting up a proper workstation
Setting up a proper workstation is imperative when using watercolors. Watercolor paper should be used instead of other types of painting materials, for watercolor paper is built to withstand getting soaked.
Standard printing paper may rip under the strain of water and not soak up paint in a consistent manor.
After getting the appropriate paper, setting up a clean cup of water nearby with several pieces of tissue is the next step. The water will be used to mix with the watercolor paint, and the napkin will be used to periodically clean your paintbrush.
Ways to use watercolor pencils
After setting up your paper, cup of water, tissue and watercolor pencils, then you may begin to paint. There are two main ways to use watercolor pencils: sketching and pallet painting.
Sketching is much more beginner friendly, for playing around with different tones and gradients is easier to accomplish with a full drawing already in front of you.
You should focus on sketching your whole picture while focusing on how light will interact with your drawing. Unlike with color pencils, you don’t need to worry about details. You’ll spend most of your time deciding upon the right shapes for your objects.
Adding water will make it tricky to create intricate details, so sketching a preliminary painting with an emphasis on where boundaries will rest in your art will go a long way.
After sketching, you’ll want to watercolor section by section. This will keep your colors consistent by giving you a reference to look at while you paint. It will also let you focus on one area at a time.
Have a patience
Using watercolor requires having patience, for it can take up to half an hour for a certain part of your drawing to fully dry. Going through every part of your art slowly will let you come out with a beautiful picture.
Watercolor Pencil Techniques
Keys ways to improve your style
Aside from going section by section, there a few key ways to improve your style as a beginner. This involves coloring light to dark, managing your water well and using other types of pens in your watercolor creations.
You’ll want your colors to have high and low gradients, so knowing how to use water to achieve is this is indispensable. You should color from light to dark as a general rule in your sections, for you’ll be pulling water as you move your paintbrush around.
Starting with darker-shaded areas will drag water into your light areas, and you will end up with a single tone for that section.
Consistently going from light to dark areas throughout your painting will leave you with an artwork that is rich in gradients when you’re done painting.
Managing your water well
Secondly, managing your water well is critical to being good with watercolor pencils. When you use your paintbrush to add water to your sketches, the first contact with the paint will be with a lot of water.
Adding a lot of water to watercolor paint will give off a weaker color, so you should be aware of using the right amount after sketching.
You’ll be going from light to dark generally, so it is important to practice how water interacts with your paint. Keeping a consistent color with varying levels of water on a paintbrush will be a learning processes throughout a watercolor-painting career.
Other art mediums to create masterpieces
Finally, watercolor is commonly used with other art mediums to create masterpieces. Gel pens are recommended to add luster and detail to a finished product, and black pens can create outlines that match beautifully with different types of art styles.
These other mediums don’t have to be used, but they can be.If you are an excellent artist with pens, then this skill can translate with watercolor pencils to create an art style that is unique to you.
How to use Watercolor
After basic techniques, the following pieces of information may benefit you. The following tips can be applied to watercolor in general, but they especially pertain to watercolor pencils to use them to their full potential.
Watercolor-pencil skill directly correlates with paintbrush skill, so it’s important to pick a up a tutorial or two on how to use paintbrushes.
Having the right kind for your project is just as important as picking up good watercolor paper, and the results will speak for themselves.
Paintbrushes differ in their hair type, tip size, brush shape and thickness. It would be an excellent idea to find a starter kit of different paintbrushes and practice common brush patterns to get the most out of your watercolor pencils.
Color theory is also something that you should know the basics of. Advanced watercolor users will use amazing colors to complete an artwork, and all of this will be based on color theory.
You should know how to create secondary colors from primary colors, create warm or cool tones from your watercolor pencils and play around with the five main color schemes to fully utilize color in your next project.
Using shadows right
Finally, using shadows right is what turns a good watercolor artist into a great one. You’ll most likely run into situations that entail you to create shadows, so using techniques like glazing will let you add depth and form into your drawings.
Glazing entails painting multiple layers of paint over each other to create intense color, so being proficient in this skill can let you create stunning and lifelike shadows.
Color theory will also play into creating a shadow, for complementary and analogous colors will make grey or black tones pop out. Skill with a paintbrush, color theory, and knowledge of shadows are the key to creating stunning watercolor art.
Strength of the water-based
Although watercolor pencils generally lack detailed and sharp looks on their own, knowing how to play around with the strength of the water-based medium is the key to making great pictures. Mixing color is the name of the game in watercolor art, so it is important to hit the books and find out how colors can complement each other.
Love what you’re doing
These skills can grow day by until they are perfected, so it doesn’t matter how good you are in the beginning. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his whole lifetime, but his paintings are valued in the millions today. It’s important to have fun while painting with watercolor pencils too. If you love what you’re doing, then you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
Getting started with watercolor pencils is easy, and the tools are out there for individuals to become great watercolor artists. This guide covered how to use watercolor pencils, tips to enhance art techniques and advice on improving in the long term.
Buying a set today or gifting one to a loved one can provide a fantastic outlet for an individual to express themselves in a creative way, and the upfront costs will be minimal compared to other types of art projects.
Art students can find this guide useful for motivation to grow in their watercolor abilities, and interested budding artists may find enough information here to jump into trying watercolor pencils out for the first time. As with all art, practice makes perfect.
Coloring a beautiful sunset using skills that you’ve dedicated the time to learn is one of the best feelings in the world, so consider persevering on to become a watercolor master.