Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tutorial & Giveaway: The Watercolor Pencil Sketchbook


Thank you again to everyone who entered my "Watercolor Pencils" online class giveaway yesterday.  Today's winner is:

Michelle Weatherson

Congratulations! Please email me to confirm your place in the class.

I'm giving away another place on this class today, just leave a comment on this post to be in the draw. 


So today, I wanted to talk a little about keeping a sketchbook using watercolor pencil.

There are so many ways you can expand your art skills, practice technique, or simply capture images of the world around you.  One of my favorite, and most effective ways is to keep a sketchbook using watercolor pencils.

The watercolor pencil sketch-kit is remarkably simple.  All you need is a sketchbook, a selection of watercolor pencils (preferably a good brand like Faber-Castell or Derwent), a water-brush, and a pen.


When you're out an about, and you simply want to study something like these leaves, you can make quick notes, and pencil in a quick outline sketch using your watercolor pencil.


I often explore colors and texture by overlaying pencil marks on the contours of the subject.  You can mix colors directly on the page this way and capture variations in color tones. It is quick and easy and can be done while you're out exploring the world around you.


For example, these leaves have underlying colors of orange, olive, and red.  I layered pencil strokes in these colors, following the contours of the leaves, then used my water-brush to blend the colors directly on the page.  


You can see how many of these colors mixed into beautiful autumn tones, while maintaining the pencil strokes as a way to describe the texture on the leaves.


Once you dilute the colors with water, you can reapply more pencil marks directly onto the wet page, this helps create a boldness and intensity to your colors.


An important part of sketchbook studies is to maintain swatches of the colors you use.  This helps you determine what colors work together and what colors combine to create other tones.  Color matching from subject to medium is an important technique and requires lots of practice, regardless of the medium you use.  


When you are doing a sketchbook study such as this, be sure to scribble a swatch of each color you use along the edge of the page.  You can blend it out with water to see how it changes, and remember to label each swatch with the color name.


Another way to build tone and texture is to paint directly from the tip of the pencil.  I often use this technique if I am washing in large areas of background and I don't want the obvious pencils strokes to be visible.


Keeping a sketchbook using watercolor pencil is one of the most simple, effective, and mobile ways to practice your art skills and capture the world around you. 


In my upcoming class, we explore lots of tips, tricks, and techniques for keeping a watercolor pencil sketchbook.



If you'd like to go into the draw to win a place in this online class, please leave a comment at the end of this post. I'm giving away a place every day this week (2 on Friday Sketches).


Entries for today's draw have now closed.  Please click here for another chance to win.

Thanks for checking. xx