Using graphite watersoluble pencils

I am not a lover of watersoluble watercolour pencils. They always seem far too  ‘wishy washy’ and I can never get the colour I want. However I love the graphite ones. Not alot of people know  this but if you find you have a graphite pencil in your collection that has a picture of a brush on it then it is watersoluble and very useful for sketching especially for quick outdoor studies as we have been doing in class recently.

The brush means this is a watersoluble pencil

Aqua pens are filled with water and can be useful especially for work outdoors

I find it best to do a fair bit of a sketch but not to fully complete it before using the water. In this way you can see the first effects and then you might find that you want to modify your sketching technique especially if you are new to this way of working.  As the sketch is progressing you can draw back into  areas to modify them. Below I have shown a quick  little demo of how I use them to depict ivy clad trees.

Sketch with graphite pencil

Adding water with brush or aqua pen

Start where there is less graphite to avoid 'dirtying' light areas

Light ivy tones against a darker tree

Below are a couple of very quick sketches  ( 4-5 mins) done outdoors in a similar way. I find that it is a good idea to work very quickly to get the essence of the subject and to get your eye in when you first start working before settling down to do a more finished drawing if that is your intention.

There is enough information here to be able to use the drawings to paint a  loose watercolour study of an ivy clad tree.
More to come- it’s far too hot to be outside today!

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Wendy Powell Jones

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