Experimenting with Watercolor Pencils

Note:  This post contains affiliate links, but the opinions expressed are my own.

My kids are getting old enough now that afternoon naps don't always happen, and quiet time is oftentimes anything but quiet.  So when they do nap-or really are quiet for an hour-it's the most luxurious of mommy moments.  This blog post comes out of one of those rare moments when the nap time stars aligned, and I had an hour just to play with watercolor pencils....and it was so relaxing and such a mood boost!

If you've never used watercolor pencils before, I'd really recommend you give them a shot.  I'm hardly an artist, and I've never had formal training.  I grew up watching my mom paint with regular watercolors, and I do like to play with those too.  I think watercolor pencils are easier and less frustrating to use than traditional water colors.  Clean up is easy and they are fast to pull out when you just have a short time to paint/draw.

Want to give them a try?  Let's get started.

I bought an inexpensive set of watercolor pencils on Amazon, and so far I've been really pleased with them.  For paper, I use a Strathmore Journal, similar to this one.  I don't have a particular brush that I use--I've been known to grab my kids' brushes!--but generally I look for ones with a very fine tip to give me more precision.

The first thing that I do is quickly sketch out what I want to draw in my notebook with pencil.
Then I start filling in my design with watercolor pencils.  I like to put more pencil around the edges, and then use water to pull the color inward.  For the branch below I filled in just a few lines in the center in addition to the edges.

I really like playing with open shapes (like the flowers on the purple bird's wings).  Then I begin to add water, pulling the color inward.  You can blend colors, but when things start getting muddy I clean off my brush.
In this picture you can see how I've added water to the most of the picture, but the bird on the left is mostly not wet yet.  I like using a only slightly damp brush.  Adding the water transforms the color, making it so much more vibrant.  The more water you use, the more it looks like more traditional watercolor.  The less you use, the more it looks like colored pencil art.
Sometimes I go back in and start adding more pencil lines to bring in more color.
Sometimes I grab my fine tip markers and add a little more detail.
Here's a finished close up of my love birds:
What do you think?  Does it make you want to give watercolor pencils a try?  It's so much fun!  I promise!

If you liked this post, you might want to check out one of my other art posts:

Eric Carle Inspired Art Day:


And Easy DIY Silhouttes:


And if you like what you see, please consider following this blog!  I'm really trying to build my followers via email and on facebook, pinterest, twitter, and instagram.

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