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October 23, 2013

How To Use Watercolor Pencils (aka my favorite new way to make art!)

Hey ya'll! Jesse left town for a few days for work and I spent my evenings in sweatpants, surrounded by sleepy animals, watching 90's sitcom reruns, and playing with craft supplies. Because my life is wildly fascinating.
If you were a fly on my wall, you would fly away. Because you would be bored.
Anyways, from all that excitement came one really awesome discovery...watercolor pencils! They are quite possibly my new favorite thing.

Ya'll know I am obsessed with making my own art, and have pretty much done so for our entire house (my fave examples here). Not because I'm that good at it, but because art is expensive and I'm frugal to a fault. Plus, there's something really cathartic to me about drawing and painting. 
When the cat's away, the mouse makes art.

I usually just make abstract art because it's so easy and you could basically draw a circle and say ABSTRACT, but I've been really curious about watercolor pencils for awhile and decided to finally try them out last night. You may have seen my little sneak peak on instagram. I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out, but I can now officially say that I love them.

I made 4 pieces (which are each going in different rooms that I will be sharing soon), so for now I'll just show you a couple. One of my faves is this one....the watercolor feathers.

What I love about these watercolor pencils is that they are so precise, so you can draw or doodle anything you want to. It's so hard to add little details with normal acrylic or oil paint (at least for me, but my skill level = 2 out of 10). So, with these watercolor pencils, you can sketch something out like you would with a colored pencil, and then when you add water, it softens the lines and makes it look more like watercolor. Plus, you can even get your brush wet and brush over the tip of the pencil and use it like you would a normal watercolor palette. Endless possibility, I tell ya.

For supplies, I used basic watercolor pencils and some heavy duty paper made for watercolors (links take you to my Amazon affiliate shop). I was really pleased with the assortment of colors that came in the set, and found that it was all I needed to do just about anything.

To create my feathers, I lightly sketched them with a gray pencil and then once I was satisfied with them, I outlined them in my base color.

Next, I colored in each feather and traced the outline with a darker color. I also shaded in a few spots with some different colors. I found using several different colors, mixed in with some black and brown creates a lot of depth and interest. 
The more the merrier, pretty much.
Also, I am admittedly the WORST at shading, so if you are an actual artist, please just shut your eyes and remember that I'm just a nice girl drawing some feathers alone in my sweatpants.

After you've completely finished your drawing, it's time to get your feathers wet. I just used a little mug of water and a small craft brush. Just trace all of the areas of your drawing, bit by bit. You can mix and blend some of the areas if you want to. The water makes all of the colors a bit deeper and much, much prettier. You can see where I had just painted some water on the feather in the below makes the color much darker.

You can use as much or as little water as you want. I left some areas sharp on this piece, just because. Here is the final result.

And just for fun, here's another piece I created. This is how it looked before I added the water.
 I'll show you how it turned out soon. :)

Well, that's all for today, ya'll! Thanks so much for visiting! I can't wait to show you where all of these new watercolor paintings ended up. 
Seriously...Can't. Wait.

For related posts, you can check out the following:
The gallery wall I created around the TV last week!
My gold leaf art
My top 10 DIY art ideas
Remember that one time I used my laundry room shelf for art?

Until next time! 

That's all for today! 'Til next time!
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  1. So So Pretty! I love the colorful feathers

  2. Those are very cute.

    You can also get water soluble graphite pencils, and then you get cool sketches that have been enhanced by water.

    Great blog :)

    1. Oh, awesome tip! I will have to try those out, too! Thanks so much, Giedre!

  3. Your artwork turned out amazing! I think I am going to have to get some watercolor pencils. I will be pinning this for future reference!

  4. This is beautiful artwork!!! You're selling yourself short on your skills, girl!!

    aka Bailey

  5. Your artwork is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  6. You're clearly talented in the art department! These are very cute. I'm going to have to get my hands on some of these pencils!

  7. Gorgeous! Applause to the nice lady in her sweatpants. This makes me want to have a doodling party, sit around in PJ pants eating chocolate drawing things. I would be all about that. LOVE the feathers!

  8. Amazing, Virginia...look at you go!!! I also loved the homemade living room art--especially the one with the wide stripes. I'm having a "I hate my house" slump right now. (I don't really, I still love the old girl, i'm just stuck) It's so nice to be able to visit and soak up some pretty! :)

  9. So cute!! I love them! Just found your site through Pinterest and I'm basically obsessed--loving all your creative and thrifty ideas!

  10. i do "doodle" art and I LOVE watercolor pencils!!! I use a fatter watercolor brush and it works much better than the thinner ones, even for details!

  11. I am most definitely doing this when I get home! I never liked using them because I've always been more interested in actually painting, but I love to draw, so this could make cute wall art! :)


  12. I have been doing watercolor with these pencils for 10 years and I love them.
    Check me out on Pinterest.

  13. Virginia,
    Do you free-hand your art? So pretty. I just bought a set of watercolor pencils and just doing some free hand sketches but not so good. I guess practice makes somewhat perfect. Love your posts!


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