watencolor pencils tutorial

How to Use Watercolor Pencils: A Beginner’s Tutorial to Watercolor Pencil Art

We’ve taken the time to put together Shayda’s quick and easy how to use watercolor pencils for beginners tutorial so that you can make your watercolor pencil drawings as extravagant as hers. 

Best Watercolor Pencils

Before we start in on Shayda’s easy step tutorial for how to use watercolor pencils, you must first get well-equipped. Here is a quick list of our six favorite sets for your watercolor pencil drawings:

  • Cretacolor 72 Aqua Monolith Metal Tin Set
  • Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Magnus
  • Staedtler Ergosoft Aquarell
  • Derwent Watercolour Pencils
  • LYRA Aquacolor Watersoluble Crayons
  • Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils Premier

Now, let’s get into the good stuff. . .

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Easy Watercolor Pencils Tutorials: A Step-By-Step Breakdown

Watercolor pencils are a medium that gives you the beauty of watercolor paint with the control of colored pencils. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s learn the art of watercolor pencils!

First, let’s talk about supplies. In this tutorial, we will use two different sets of watercolor pencils: 

The ones on the left can only be found in Switzerland. The pencils on the right are by Staedtler which is one of the fantastic watercolor brands we’ve linked at the top.

Watercolor Pencils: watercolor set

Our other supplies are just basic hot-pressed watercolor paper and thick sketchbook paper, a paper towel for blotting, and any paintbrush

Let’s Begin

We’re going to take you through the whole process from Shayla’s first step:

Step 1: Practice shading

Lay some blue shading on your paper the same way you would if you were using a regular crayon or colored pencil. 

Add a few different shades and colors to get some practice like so.

Watercolor Pencils: practice shading

Step 2: Add water

Next, you’re going to add the first water. Dampen your brush and gently brush or blob the pencil shadings. The pencil crayon transforms into a beautiful watercolor paint.

You can practice blending the colors. Notice the dark pigment gets a little lighter as soon as the water activates it. You can manipulate the color and shapes how you like. 

Watercolor Pencils: Add water

Step 3: Pencil a design

That’s easy. Most everyone can follow along so far. This is a beginner experimental practice. Now, let’s get a little more intricate. We’re going to start on a new piece. 

Open your sketchbook, and use the grey pencil to draw various lines vertically on your paper. Make them various sizes and shades.

Watercolor Pencils: Pencil a design

Step Four: Draw flowers

Trace those lines lightly in green. Then, add another color of flower petals to the drawing. These should be very loose floral shapes. You can use multiple colors for the flowers. It should look something like this.

Watercolor Pencils: Draw flowers

Step 5: Add clean water

Now, we realize it looks like a young child could have done this so far, but we promise it is going to look really great once we add water. Remember, keep your drawing simple!

When you’re done, we are going to add clean water to the lines and flowers. Some of the design will become thick and disproportionate, but the important lesson is to learn how the water reacts with the pigment and to better understand how to use watercolor pencils.

As you can see, nothing has to be perfect.

Now, let it dry for about a half-an-hour.

Step 6: Outline in pen

It’s time to really add some depth. Grab a black pen — in the tutorial she uses a Pigma Micron with an 0.5 tip. 

Your goal is to trace the general shape that your watercolor pencils left so that there is some definition in your watercolor art. You can make it as little or heavily detailed as you’d like. Whatever is your preference. 

Outline in pen

To finish, you can add some background flowers and plants in pen to add depth. And, voila!

Watercolor Pencils: Finishing details

Learning Watercolor Pencil Art

And there you have it! It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Now, all it takes is practice. As they always say, to become an expert, you need to log at least 10,000 hours into your craft. 

We’ve got a long journey ahead of us 🙂

Need more Watercolor Pencil Tutorials?

Are you craving more watercolor tutorials? Take a look at some other beginner’s watercolor classes that go over watercolor techniques and other watercolor basics so you can improve your watercolor art and be well on your way to calling yourself a pro!

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About the Author: Watercolor Classes

Hello, and welcome to our site. We've been passionate about watercolor for years and have learned a lot along the way. We hope our tutorials and tips will help you out on your watercolor journey. Let's make art together!

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