Saturday, February 28, 2015

Watercolor Pencil Practice - Continued

Taking one of my newest lucky bamboos, I decided to do more practice using watercolor pencils from tips and suggestions after taking Cathy Johnson's course on the subject.  My favorite pencils being the Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils.  Reason they are my favorite is because they dissolve so easily with brush and water.

And to share with others in addition to helping me remember what I did, I've scanned along the way.....

First thing I did was work a light pencil sketch on my page.

I think most often I enjoy starting my sketches and paintings with a light pencil sketch and it's not necessarily for precision.  For me using pencil first helps me to become familiar with my subject without fears or hesitation.  I can focus (without pressure) on lines, curves, negative space and relationships between parts of the subject rather than fearing every stroke I lay down in brush mark or ink line being wrong.  It frees me.  For some people that might be the opposite but this is how I enjoy working.

Because I worked in pencil, I could have erased it all and started over when I realized I was going to run off the top of the page but you know what..............that's OK.  Normally I don't erase anything until later (normally after I've painted or put my lines in with ink) but erasing is OK too if or when you decide to do so.  It's no crime to use pencil and eraser.  It doesn't hurt anyone to include the person doing so.  It's just another means of creating.  I know from hearing what others say and from reading, for some people using pencil might mean limitations or boundaries.  Some folks might even see it as cheating of sorts.  That too is OK...........for them.  It's a personal thing and what works for each of us / you is what's most important. 

I started with the vase and worked my way up and out. If I was going to run off the page, I'd rather have a leaf do so then the bottom of my vase.  Plus I wanted to get the ellipse of the vase worked out first as it's one of my toughest subjects to get right. 

Next step was adding color with the watercolor pencils.......dry. 

I used two watercolor pencils to begin laying down color in the leaves.........a light and dark green.  I'm still trying to gauge amount of dry pencil coverage to put down without going too far.  Ideally would be to get the tones right first time; but then I also know I can always layer if I don't get it right the first time. 

Next step - I used a damp brush blending the pencil marks on paper.

I tend to be a bit timid at first with how wet my brush should be.  If I want that wild explosion of color, then I know to use a wet brush.  However if I want more control, I start out damp........not wet.  Plus it doesn't take as long to dry :-)

While that was drying, I started the little pot using mainly the side of the pencil point for quicker coverage.  I noticed I tend to do this in a small circular motion in large open areas and going to the point in tighter areas.

Rest of the process

These steps I repeated to include going back over in areas already worked on the paper to build up tones.  I saved inking as my last step.

My finished page - in the Strathmore Soft Cover Visual sketchbook.

I'm still working through/learning how light or dark to go with dry pencil; how much water to use in my brush; and how much care needs to be taken not to disturb the watercolor already on paper when working layers. 

And for's this "journey" I now enjoy more than the actual results.  Nice results are just extra icing on the cake :-)  I've come a long way because it used to be the opposite for me.  I used to be more concerned with the results and never enjoyed the journey or process.  I'd often feel frustrated or stressed which for me hurt and held me back from personal growth (at least that's how I see it for myself).   Now I truly feel so much freer and happier and I do think I see some improvement.  If nothing else, it helps with building confidence and even more helps take me to a place where nothing else matters except what I'm doing at that given time.  An escape..................a safe place I can get lost in for however much time it might take me :-)

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