Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Since I love to paint with watercolors it was only a matter of time that I tried working with watercolor pencils. I actually bought a small set of Derwent Inktense pencils a while back, but they are permanent once dry and do not work the same as a regular WC pencil. They will be discussed in a future blog post.
Though slightly more expensive than other brands, I decided to go with the Albrecht Durer pencils after Cathy Johnson gave them the thumbs up. I wanted pencils that would be smooth to work with, would lay down a high concentration of pigment, and also blend well with each other.
Seeing that I could purchase individual pencils at roughly the same cost of a set, I chose the above colors on a recent trip to Blick. Since most all of my work is abstract, I picked what I felt were the brightest and most fun colors they had to offer. Once home, I did the obligatory color chart. I found the pencils to be just what I wanted - smooth and vibrant.
The color chart is important because the dry pencil marks look very different once you add water. They go down very dark, get super vibrant when wet, and dry lighter than you might expect. I understand this is typical of watercolor pencils.
Kandinsky inspired pencil testing. Multiple colors drawn in circles to see how well the colors blended. I'm happy with the results.
I then moved on and played around with attempting to mix specific colors. Seemed to work quite well.
I then jumped in and decided to color in this mandala. And that's just what I did. I completely colored it in and then I carefully painted water over it with a Niji Waterbrush. It ended up a little sloppy because you can't really allow one section to touch another while wet or they will run together. I also found that it's really not necessary to completely fill a section in with color - it's overkill. A few strokes will suffice, and you can always go back and add more later.
On this next piece, I used less pencil. I would draw a few lines with the pencil and then pull out the color with the waterbrush. If I wanted to darken an area, I'd add more pencil once an area was dry then re-wet.
An experiment in blending. Scribbled multi-colored lines were laid down first, and then I applied water. Black marker was added last.
This piece was drawn with the pencils, water was applied, then the marker.
And lastly, this was probably my favorite technique of all - picking up color from the tip of the pencil with the waterbrush and then painting with it. That makes for some extremely portable painting supplies - just a few pencils, a waterbrush and a paper towel to wipe the tip of the brush. Splendid!
I am quite happy with this purchase and would recommend these pencils to anyone. A set of 24 runs about $40 and you can buy them at Blick. They can also be purchased as open stock to test a few at a time or to build your own palette the way I did.
A cold pressed Clairefontaine Watercolor Pad was used for each of these examples. Your results will vary depending on the type of paper used.