Play Time

When you come in from work too tired to concentrate on anything too seriously then it’s time to play.

I thought I would play with watercolour pencils.

What attracted me to Watercolour pencils was how they could be used both wet and dry.  Use them dry first then add water to dissolve the pigment, forcing it to sink into the tooth of the paper. Then once this undercoat is dry, the finer details can be drawn in dry over the top.

To try this technique, I came across a tutorial of a Donkey by Lisa Ann Watkins on her Patreon Channel. She does advise having a practice with the pencils before you start. But of course, I started drawing the Donkey before playing about with the pencils!

I guess before I go any further I should get to know them.

The pencils I am using are the  Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils by Faber Castell.

She also recommends aqua brushes and as they have refillable water chambers, a jar of water is not necessary. Liking the idea I bought a pack of 3 Pentel Aqua Brushes. Each brush tip is a different size… fine, medium and broad. This makes them convenient for drawing and sketching outside.

But the skill will be in controlling the amount of water that comes out of the tip. A squeeze too hard could end in disaster. A recommendation is that you squeeze gently and wipe off excess moisture with a  paper towel before going near any drawing.

So here goes… its time to play…



There are different ways to use them. You can use them dry and add water as you will see in the red and blue squares. The red and blue squares on the left are just pencil and then the water was added to the second squares on the right and you can see the pigment does sink into the tooth.

An interesting feature is that pigment can be picked up in the brush which I then used to draw lines at the side.  The effectiveness of this will depend on the amount of pigment that is initially laid down. I guess a palette of colours could be created from which you could pick up the different colours to create a painting.

When I applied the water I took great care to dry the excess water off the brushes to prevent the colours from mixing.  The strips of red, blue, yellow and green show no signs of mixing. The key to this is definitely a damp brush, not a wet brush. Another possibility is to dampen the paper and add the pencils dry on top and watch the pigment dissolve as demonstrated by the red, blue, green and yellow in the last square. Watching YouTube videos illustrated other possibilities on how to use watercolour pencils.

More playing is definitely required.

In the meantime, my current contract finishes on Saturday and on Sunday I will then be free to continue with the Donkey.

Finish, continue, plan and start

Finish, continue, plan and start seems to be the cycle that I constantly go through.

Having finished the squirrel sketch in charcoal and with a bit more time I continued with another garden bird for my bird gallery. This was the Great Tit, a frequent visitor to gardens in the UK. He is, for the time being, the last in a series of small garden birds as the next birds on my list to draw will be water birds. Not yet decided which one to start with. It might be a duck or maybe a coot. But that is for the future.


In the meantime, I still have a portrait of a Lion to finish.  Unfortunately, he was put to one side due to other work commitments. Although with three days off over the last weekend I did snatch some quality time to add in some more facial details.

There are still eleven days to go before my current work contract finishes and although at the moment that seems like a long time… I know it will fly by!

With only two days off next weekend and with lots of household chores to catch up on, quality time will be limited. It is unlikely that I will have any time to continue with the lion. Alternatively, what I could do… is to plan for my next project.

A project that I have decided to do is one that involves the use of watercolour pencils. I came across a tutorial showing you how to use them as part of the base layer for doing a portrait of a donkey. He was such a comical character that I decided he would be fun to do.  Watercolour pencils are something that up until now I have only played about with.

Generally, you start off using them dry and then the fun part comes when you add the water. This could go wrong! A lot of practice will be required!

Therefore, the best way to use my next two days off … will be to play!