Sunday, January 8, 2017

Best Pencil for Drawing or Sketching on Watercolor Paper

Q: Whats the best pencil to use when drawing out my sketches on my watercolor paper? I'm using Arches 140# paper. Thanks

Susie's Reply: First of all you do not want to do a lot of drawing or sketching on watercolor paper if you will be doing any erasing For my classes I show my students how use either a hard lead 3H with a light touch to draw simple shapes or to trace an image via a light box. You don't need a detailed drawing just a shape or to locate an edge. Add details later. If I use a regular HB pencil, the lead or graphite is much softer resulting in a darker line so I erase most of the line just leaving a vague mark. This also helps keep the lead or graphite from being "sealed" in once paint or water is applied over the line. Some colors allow for erasing the pencil line from underneath and some do not. If I'm drawing on a dried wet-in-wet underpainting I like to use watercolor pencils that will blend in when painted over. As for the watersoluable pencils I find they work best when adding darker values to a light passage as they dissolve into the darker paint. But I find that they tend to "dirty" light juicy washes. I suggest to apply lighter value colors freely without lines first then go back and define the edges if you need to. The darker colors cover the lighter ones and you don't even know they were there. Challenge yourself to do as much as you can without the details of a drawing...add the details as you go. You will find your painting will not be as tight if you don't try to paint inside the lines. Go with the flow, let the watercolor paint itself, then adjust the edges to bring out the best parts of what happened!

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