Tuesday Tutorial: Using Watercolor Pencils

When I browse through an art display, I am usually drawn towards those that have the soft, cloudy look of watercolors.  If you are like me, then you will enjoy using our new Watercolor Pencil collection.  I am sure that you have thought “not for me” or “I could never do that”,  but today I want to give you a few tips for using Watercolor Pencils, in hopes that you give them a go in the near future. In February, I will have a both a Local and Online Class showing each of these in greater detail.


Watercolor pencils can be used just like any other colored pencil, but in order to create the soft gauzy look you must “activate” or add water to the pigment. There are several ways to do this depending on the look you are trying to achieve. For today’s Tuesday Tutorial, I am going to give you a quick overview of each.

The Colored Pencil Technique:

You can use these pencils just like a colored pencil and simply shade in your images. As you can see below, I shaded the rose image using three shades of yellow. The fact that our new Watercolor Pencils have three yellows, is one of the reason I bought them. Having multiple shades to choose from, really adds dimension to your artwork.


The Dry Surface Technique:

After shading in your images, you can use a Waterbrush or soft nylon brush to
activate the color on your image.  By shading the image first, then adding color, you mute the pigment and end up with a softer version of the color you started out with. If you compare these two photos, you can see the softer look given to the rose once water was added.

The Wet Surface Technique:

With this technique, you wet the paper first, then add your color using the watercolor pencil. This is best done on Watercolor Paper, but can be used on our patterned paper if you don’t overdo it. The overall look is a deep color with multiple contrasts in shades.


The Pencil Palette Technique:

This final technique leaves you with a look that is not too muted, nor too dark, but gives you a sweet, soft look on your images.  With this technique, you will swipe the Waterbrush or wet nylon brush across the tip of the pencil and then shade your image using the color on the brush.  I like to keep some paper towel nearby to blot my brush when I use this technique.


Personally, I like using a combination of all of these techniques to achieve the look I want.  It helps to  leave a little bit of white background when shading your images to add some contrast, highlights, and additional softness to the image. For the Love At First Site card kit, I used the a combination of the Dry Surface techniques on the roses, the Pencil Palette technique on the leaves, and the Wet Surface technique on the Banner.

If you would like to learn a little more about using Watercolor Pencils, please make sure to sign-up for my classes in February.  I will be showing you each of these techniques in greater detail, and walking you through how I created this card. I can’t wait to see what you create!


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6 thoughts on “Tuesday Tutorial: Using Watercolor Pencils”

  1. I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I especially liked your lessons on water color techniques. Besides cardmaking and scrapbooking I am a calligraphist and a member of the Philadelphia Calligraphy Society. These water color techniques look beautiful under my calligraphy sayings. Thanks again. I am also a CTMH consultant from NJ. Elaine

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