Ideas for Using Watercolor Pencils

Written by vivienne lydamore
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Ideas for Using Watercolor Pencils
Use watercolour pencils for both drawing and painting. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Artists use watercolour pencils to combine the convenience of coloured pencils with the versatility of watercolour paints. If you carry watercolour pencils and a sketchbook, you can make watercolour sketches on the go without hauling an easel and watercolour supplies. Watercolour pencils also come in handy for practicing basic art skills and working with kids. Some ideas for using watercolour pencils can help you become familiar with these versatile art tools.

Practice Painting an Apple

Draw several apple outlines on watercolour paper and use different kinds of pencil strokes on each apple. Use vertical strokes on one, horizontal on another, crisscrossed strokes on the third, and circular strokes on the fourth. Add shadows near the bottom of one or two apples. Moisten a paint brush and stroke over each apple to see what happens with the various types of pencil strokes. Brush more water onto the apples to see how much the pigment lightens when diluted.

Embellish Scrapbook Pages

If you use stamps and drawings on scrapbook pages, watercolour pencils can give you special effects by adding colour. Use a wet brush to moisten the tip of a watercolour pencil and apply the pigment to a flower, leaf or other piece of art on your page. Draw a tree trunk with a dry watercolour pencil and moisten a brush to blend some of the pencil strokes. On a separate piece of paper, scribble several green hues and use a moist brush to pick up the colour and paint leafy branches on the tree.

Ideas for Using Watercolor Pencils
Use watercolour pencils to highlight scrapbook pages. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Make Bookmarks

Students can learn basic watercolour resist techniques by using watercolour pencils. After rubbing colour from the side of the pencil tip onto heavy paper, moisten the pigment with a brush and sprinkle salt onto the wet pigment. Students will see the salt push the pigment away to create the effect of sparkles or snowflakes. For another resist, students can draw a simple shape with a conventional white crayon and add colour using a brush loaded with moistened pigment from a watercolour pencil. The white crayon drawing will show through the paint. Cut the paper into bookmark sizes when the paint dries and laminate.

Ideas for Using Watercolor Pencils
Kids can make mixed media bookmarks with minimal mess. (Katy McDonnell/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Tint Black and White Photos

For inexpensive art, use watercolour pencils to tint black and white photos printed on drawing paper. Use watercolour pencils to experiment with tints and textures on the copies. Moisten areas suitable for pencil lines and lightly draw into the wet paper to see how the pigment spreads. For a sprinkle effect, rub sandpaper across the desired watercolour pencil and let the shavings fall onto lightly moistened areas of the photos. Use the sides of pencil tips to fill in selected areas and blend with a brush.

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