Easy Watercolor Pencil Techniques for beginners and novice painters

Easy watercolor pencil techniques being applied to a watercolor nebula painting

(watercolor pencil scribbling in action)

What are watercolor pencils?

Watercolor pencils are water-soluble pigment pencils that are super fun and easy to use! Like you may be, I was initially hesitant to try them out, because I didn’t know anything about them, or if they would even be worth my time experimenting with! Since I’ve tried painting with them, I’ve had so much fun creating vibrant paintings using these easy watercolor pencil techniques.

What materials work with watercolor pencils?

I use regular watercolor paper with my watercolor pencils. The paper I love using is Canson XL paper, as I find the colors are extremely vibrant on this paper! I use Mont Marte watercolor pencils, but you can really use any brand you like for these. I recommend using larger brushes with a fine tip to mix the watercolor pencil strokes. These are the only materials necessary for completing a project! For more info on the materials I love to use, go to my materials page.

Easiest watercolor pencil technique

You use watercolor pencils by scribbling onto your paper using different pressures and colors layered together. Then, the best part: applying water with a watercolor brush and bringing those dull scribbled colors to life! Check out my watercolor pencil tutorial on galaxy painting here!

Frequently Asked Questions about Watercolor Pencils

What are watercolor pencils best used for painting?

Watercolor pencils can be used to create almost any watercolor effect you want! They can be used to create very vibrant galaxies, beautiful planets, beautiful florals and landscapes.

I challenge you to try using watercolor pencils for any project you would normally try with your usual watercolor paints! 

Can you dip your watercolor pencil in water?

Yes, you can! It will create a really creamy thick layer on your paper when you apply it, and this can be blended out with a watercolor brush if you like. However,I would recommend using this technique sparingly.

How do I start using watercolor pencils?

Start by applying pencil strokes of your lightest colors in the painting (ie: yellow, orange, red, light blues) and begin to add darker colors by layering into the lighter regions by a slight amount. This will create a gradient between these two colors when you apply water with a brush. Next, apply some darker colors (ie: brown, blue, purple) to the painting with some darker strokes, applying more pressure to your paper. 

Apply water with a paint brush starting at the darkest edges of your paintings, and working towards your lighter regions. Stop just before these light regions to give your brush a wash, then mix it into the light and darker region. This creates a natural gradient.

Can you mix watercolor pencil colors?

Yes, and they will create new blends! Keep this in mind as you mix blue and yellow in particular, since these colors mixed together will create a bright green! If you choose to layer many colors, use more pressure on your pencil when coloring the main colors that should overpower the others,and apply light pencil strokes for colors that are accent/secondary colors. You can also mix colors to create more neutral tones, by mixing the opposite color on the color wheel to a color to make it more dull.

Overall, watercolor pencils are a really fun and versatile material to try for creating vibrant and textured paintings! They are so much fun to use, and I hope you will try using them with me to create space and galaxy art in watercolor.

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