WATERCOLOUR PENCIL WASH PROCEDURETake powder from the pencil tip using a craft knifeMix to a thin wash on a dish palette or on a large white plate ( You are better using two layers of thinner colour than one thicker one ) Apply loosely with a brushThis option is ideal for backgrounds and for establishing the shapes on the paper which can later be refined and corrected with CPYou can erase any graphite pencil lines selectively once the watercolour layer is dry and use the watercolour wash image as your guide for the CP.MOISTENED DRY PIGMENT PROCEDUREAlternatively you can apply light even shading of colour directly on to the paper with your watercolour pencils. AVOID firm lines at all costs as these will bed into the paper and be almost impossible to lift or soften with water later.Your shading needs to be evenly and lightly applied.Masking Fluid can be used to reserve white areas, but there is also a possibility of using a soft CP white wax pencil ( Coloursoft etc )to lay down a protective skin of wax on areas of the paper, this can be erased later after the wash has been applied, to reveal the white surface underneath. You will need to test this out with your own choice of paper/white pencil/watercolour pencil wash, as there are many differences between brands and some work better than others.TRADITIONAL WATERCOLOURBroadly speaking, the process for using washes based on Watercolour pencils is the method to use with traditional pan or tube watercolour OTHER WATER BASED MEDIAINK Features1 Permanency of colour2 Edges of the coloured area are more intense3 But beware some fugitive colours4 Fine marker pens offer a contrasting line which can be very effective when CP is applied over the topACRYLIC Features 1 Permanency with strong colours. Most colours will be lightfast.2 You need to keep surfaces and brushes moist as once it dries, acrylic is locked to the surface. Brushes can become sticks.3 White acrylic can provide an excellent base for working on black paper - especially for images involving glass4 Most brands will work with CP but it is well worth testing first. You might need to add a Matte medium to some brands.5 I have found the more liquid brands of acrylics work best ( for me ). I use ProColor ( from a Canadian manufacturer and sold through Linda Wain in the UK ). It works well on paper and prepared board. Don’t try it on canvas or canvas board if you are going to use CP on the top. The surface will be too roughI use a heavyweight hot pressed paper.SEE the adjoining page ‘CP and ... ‘ for more on the techniques for CP and AcrylicAPRIL 2012I see a new variety of Acrylic Guache is promoted by Jacksons Art in the UK. This is a Japanese manufactured brand called ‘Turner’ and comes in over 250 individual colours. It is said to be suitable as a base for a whole variety of media and will take over metal as well as glass and other difficult surfaces. I am not sure that it is really necessary to have 250 plus colours in tubes, but no doubt the buying public will decide how useful the product is.ON THIS SAME SUBJECTThere is an acrylic based product that provides an excellent base for CP as well as Pastel and Pastel Pencil. This is COLOURFIX PRIMER manufactured in Australia by Art Spectrum. The 250ml tubs come in a range of colours but the white provides an excellent base for pencil work, producing a hard sanded finish which looks and acts in a very similar way to the sanded paper and card surfaces you buy. The primer can be brushed on to a base of mount board or card and sanded down to a very smooth finish if required. One advantage of using the white primer is the fact that it can be tinted with ordinary acrylic or even watercolour pigment and thus provide a pre-coloured base suitable for your individual artworkOTHER MEDIAWATER SOLUBLE PENThis is a good approach if you are a keen sketcher or capable drawer.I have used a soluble ink in a fine point fountain pen and after drawing a rough sketch to get the shapes right and everything in position, I re-draw the picture over the top with the pen. Apply some ink shading for very dark areas and vary your shading for intermediate areas. Your aim at this point is to get a series of lines and areas of shading to represent the foundation stage of the picture. Don’t worry about some of the lines being in the wrong place - if you are working on watercolour paper most of the colour will lift when you apply water later. once the ink is dry, erase the pencil to provide a clear background. Next, use a springy watercolour brush to work the ink where it needs to be softened being careful to avoid any areas where highlights are needed. This gives you a monochrome ink study on to which you can apply wax pencil. See the part completed image below to get an idea.An alternative to a fountain pen could be to use a fine point fibre tip pen such asa Stabilo 88 fineliner BUT do ensure that the ink in whatever fineliner you use is fully watersolubleif you wish to soften the pen line. The Stabilo is waterbased but fairly permanent, so select a mid toned colour. In my view the traditional pen and ink offers much more flexibility.I am told that Parker Quink ink reacts to the brush and water treatment by splitting intoseveral colours - interesting !This Welsh cottage sceneis on Fabriano Hot Pressedpaper ( 300gsm) and the ink isWaterman Brown ink.The later colour is DerwentColoursoft and Procolour Wax type pencils. There are five layers of different greens on the sunlit grass.I show below another ink and CP study of a Yorkshire Village where the brown ink under the coloured pencil makes a useful stone coloured link which holds the picture together.A more widely ink based picture which relies on the ink wash to provide an out of focus backgroundis this scene of an old city gate in Germany.This is an ideal approach for landscape sketching, but I do recommend hot pressed watercolour paper rather than cartridge paper as the W/C paper gives you more ability to correct, blend and lift the ink lines if necessary.
WATERCOLOUR & CP My preferred option is to use watercolour pencils to establish the initial colour wash to the paper. You can easily use traditional watercolour from tube or pan if you prefer. The pigment is the same. I prefer to use the same colour choice that I will use later from the pencils and often use the Caran d’Ache Supracolour Watercolour pencils to produce the wash and then use the same pencils for the dry colour.
This picture would have been acceptable by the UKCPS in open competition as a ‘Pure’ Coloured Pencil work until 2010 following which it became Mixed Media (as water was used as a solvent).The new rules established by the UKCPS for the 2013 Open Exhibition entry accepted the use of water as a solvent,provided that at least 50% of the surface has been completed with dry colour . This is my reading of the rule amendment ( January 2013 ) HOWEVER, you will need to check the up to date position carefully before entering a UKCPS Society Open exhibition with a watercolour pencil wash underpainting..Rules in other competitive exhibitions may vary a great deal. It is always wise to check carefully with the organisers if the entry form is in any way doubtful
Below is a sample of this process where Supracolour was used for the initial wash and as dry pencil for the finished work. Left is the initial stage - the wash of pencil colour over the original drawing. The graphite pencil is erased later On the Right is the finished picture
GOUACHEWater based paint similar in many ways to watercolour, but with a high level of body colour in the mixture which gives it a chalky opaque look. When dry it has much the same surface as fixed pastel. Designer Gouache was developed for illustrators to use for advertising artwork which would be used once for producing litho plates and then destroyed. Designer Gouache colours are often not very lightfast, but they do work as a base for CP. BEWARE that layers of dark colours over light and light over dark can result in bleeding of colour from one layer through to another if the earlier layer is still damp. Gouache is not as stable a surface as Acrylic and water in a later layer can damp down to lower levels if several layers of paint are used.GRAPHITE Using a hard graphite pencil will prove more successful than a soft one under CP as the soft graphite will tend to smudge and smear as CP is applied on the top.The very fine line shading and hatching from a hard graphite pencil can contrast well with soft colour shading from CP.Bear in mind that Derwent manufacture ‘Graphitint’ which is a useful variant on Graphite that includes a water soluble colour pigment.The original formula had a large number of low lightfast colours, but the modern variety of Graphitint is more durable.Under CP the Graphitint should be even more stable.FOR MORE ON GRAPHITE WITH Coloured Pencil - see next Sub Section ‘CP and ....’ Where there is more on this TopicOIL PAINT Has anybody tried it ? My First impression is that it would be a non starter. However,I understand a number of USA based artists have been experimenting and using a heated tablet to work on which melts the wax as well as softening the oil paintJust as you can't successfully use Acrylic paint over oil paint ( but you can use oils over acrylic ), I would expect the soft slow drying oil surface to be an unsuccessful base for CP. It would seem not. Tell me if you have any more information.COLLAGE I haven't tried it, but I believe that excellent results can be achieved.An 'old' or unsuccessful painting can be used as a base and a light coat of gesso applied to dull the base colours before layers of thin tissue or rice paper are applied whilst the gesso is still wet. With the original image still just visible, you can then work CP into the hardened paper surface. Another variant I have seen is the application of CP over layers of cut and torn magazine content with typeface still visible. The typeface can be at all angles but the object is to look for colour and pattern and apply the base of cut and torn paper to the foundation. These paper scraps can be secured with a PVA adhesive and I am told that provided that the final finish of the base is not glossy, either Wax CP or even watercolour pencil colour can be applied on the top. I have had no experience, and would be interested to know more.