Watercolor Pencil Test

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This morning I painted this test image using Faber-Castell watercolor pencils. In the past I drew with the pencils first and then added water with a brush smudging out the color on the page. This time I applied a wet waterbrush to the tip of the pencil to pick up pigment and brush it on the page. It works much better.

I didn’t have anything in mind when I started. I just wanted to test the technique. So I didn’t do a pencil sketch first to lay out a composition. I began at the top using Prussian Blue. It turned into sky. It worked so well that I tried adding some Light Chrome Yellow to the waterbrush to see if I could get a green. I painted the hills. I picked up some more yellow and painted beneath the hills. I went from there down the page experimenting with various colors and mixes. After it dried, I then went back in and added some detail. I wanted to see how fine a line I could get with the petit waterbrush. I did the trees and brushes. I did the splatters by flicking the brush against the tip of the Ultramarine pencil close to the paper.

Finally I used the pencils to draw some fine lines. I did the grass in the foreground and lined the far shore of the river with a Dark Sepia pencil.

I worked on a lap desk. Here’s the setup from my point of view.

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The lap desk is a white plastic one with a bean bag on the back. I used drafting tape to hold the corners of the paper down. The brush is a Kuretake Waterbrush Pen – Petit. It used only about a quarter of its water reserve to do this painting. The paper is 6 x 9 inches. I cut a half sheet from a 9 x 12 inch pad of Strathmore Bristol vellum, 100 lb. I used a piece of paper towel to clean the brush. You just squeeze out some water and wipe the brush on the paper towel to clean.

I’m right handed. I found it convenient to hold the pencils in my left hand with the tips pointing up. I could easily pick up color with the waterbrush in my right hand and then paint. It was like holding a palette of colors in my left hand, but without a mixing pan. It occurs to me that I could hold the case and tuck a piece of paper in the front of the case to test colors and mixes. By the way, I made that self standing case from a piece of card stock. I patterned it after the original pencil box, but pared it down to fit 12 pencils instead of 24.

Jim

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