Watercolor pencils are my favorite medium at the moment, I love them for their versatility and portability, I take them everywhere with me and I paint with them on my Bullet Journal daily.

It is a unique, amazing medium, specially for a beginner. If you like watercolor paint you should definitively try it!

If you are interested have a look at my Skillshare classes “How to use Watercolor Pencils” & “How to use Watercolor Pencils: Color Theory” 

These pencils are a combination between normal colored pencils and watercolor paint, and as with regular pencils we’re able to blend and create depth and also work on the details of our art.

Watch at the end of this post the step by step
Floral Wreath Tutorial (click here)

Creative Tip: Use watercolor pencils as portable paint by rubbing the tip of the pencil to a wet brush to apply the pigment and then use as normal watercolor paint.

What Kind of Paper is Best?

The pencil strokes allow us to show texture while still providing a watercolor paint effect, the end result is gorgeous. With so little effort we can cover a larger area of the paper more easily than typical colored pencils.
And even thought we don’t need that much water to activate the paint, the best paper for this medium is watercolor paper because it will hold up to water and re-working whereas other paper will not. The pigments will run better on watercolor paper so it will be easier to blend the colors without compromise the integrity of the paper.

Dry pencil on dry paper

This is the most obvious and simple way of using watercolor pencils:

With a dry pencil apply a layer of pigment on your paper, try not to use too much pressure on your pencil strokes; and then with a wet brush or a brush pen apply water and see how the vibrant colors apear before your eyes.

How to apply water?

This is where you can get creative!

To activate the pigment on the paper you can use a wet brush or a brush pen. This will create a smooth look to the painting.

To create a unique texture you can use your finger or even a sponge.

And finally to wet the pigment evenly you can use a sprayer to create a splatter look

Wet pencil on dry paper

This technique is best to work on the details of your watercolor artwork: dip the tip of your pencil on water and then draw on dry paper. As we activate the pigment on the pencil before drawing , the color will come out vibrant and you’ll have more control over the details than you’ll have with a bush.

Dry pencil on wet paper

After drawing your designs on a wet surface, use a wet brush to overlay the lines with water. You’ll see the lines become thicker and blurred. This watery technique is also great for adding expressive paint drips-mojar mina-aplicar pigmento al pincel

Creative tip: You can decide to activate the pigment on bigger areas of you art work and leave the pencils strokes for the details. This will give a unique look to your art peace!

Gradients: How to blend colors?

Blend one color:
With one hue apply the pigment with the pencil and afterwards with a wet brush activate the paint and keep on adding water until the color gets transparent. This is the watercolor flat wash technique, same hue different value.

Blend two colors:
To create a gradient with your watercolor pencils select two pencils in different hues and use smooth lines drawn closely together and then activate the pigments with a wet brush and blend until you are happy with the result.

Blend three or more colors:
Avoid to place next to each other complementary hues (colors that are opposite to each other on the chromatic circle). In this particular case: yellow, orange and red. Next add water with a brush.

Let’s practice!

On this 5 minutes tutorial for beginners I’ll teach you how to create a simple floral wreath with watercolor pencils and a brush pen (dry pencil on dry paper technique).

Please let me know if you find this post useful! And if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to leave a comment and tag me on Instagram (@emilia.desert) so I can see your creation!

Subscribe to my newsletter

No spam guarantee.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )