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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Watersoluble tools I used in Melbourne

Recently I have been using more and more various water soluble pencils and pens. And I found using them incredibly versatile last week in Melbourne. I love especially painting over outlines made in by watersoluble tool and fading or losing the line- this is something I picked up during my Singapore trip (one of the many things I learnt from Paul Wang- thanks Paul!)

So here are the tools that I used (and bought!) last week. Plus an additonal one (graphitint warm grey) that I was handed to try when I did this page.

And following is a little commentary on which I used when and why in my Melbourne sketchbook. I hope you don't mind the long post.
Using water soluble pens and pencils is something that we will be looking at in my upcoming sketching classes in Manly - starting in a few weeks. There are still places available - click here for more details.

In the plane - I used the Derwent Sketching pencil initially but added the Albrecht Durer Indigo water colour pencil(ADWCP) over the top.It was a little stronger than I intended so I started trying to dissolve the lines.

  I am finding that I am enjoying sketching my food and cups of tea with pencil more than ink these days. Here is an example... It just feels nicer when I am 'feeling' the lines - especially early morning ellipses. Using the Derwent Sketching 4B pencil here. I am finding its lines don't dissolve away as much as I would like...but then again, looking at this sketch I have hardly touched the lines with my water/paint.

Flinders St Station - as per previous post this was done with about 4 or 5 different coloured water coloured pencil (hmmmm, I probably need to show you my coloured pencil set of colours too!) I found sketching in a dry media SO quick - water and more layering can be added later.

Here is another quick all watercolour pencil sketch using a waterbrush for apply water over the top. (Personally I prefer adding watercolour paint over the top and loosing the pencil strokes more)

 Helen Lovett (whose Sketchbooking class I visited on the Tuesday afternoon) showed me here Lyra watersoluble graphite stick so I had to get one!) This quick sketch of the town hall tower while waiting for the tram was done using that. I also used a raw umber ADWCP. I 'poured' water over the top using my waterbrush once on the tram (ie. I put a LOT of water on trying to dissolve the line) and you can see how lovely and dark the wash was!
 Another waiting sketch. Mainly Indigo ADWCP with the blacker parts being Inktense Indian Ink (LOVE that pencil!) and then I put some ink lines over the top using the Pilot V pen. I have so much fun layering random pens and pencils over the top!
I did the waves using that amazing Indian Ink Inktense - outline and shading and the background outlines with the cretacolour watersoluble graphistick and then added paint over the top. Don't you love that ink black paint created by the inktense?
Another combination of different water soluble pencils and paint. I am really loving this technique. I use the pencils for the more linear elements or if I need texture and then paint the big areas.
 I am most interested in losing the lines so this one I tried sketching with the warm grey ADWCP and the more paint I added the more the lines disappear... you are going to see me use this again!
 Sketching on a damp page with that warm grey ADWCP -  misty rain was falling on my page and it created a lovely hit and miss line!
 Finally... the town hall tower again from the tram stop. This time with the aquamarker- a water soluble version of the Promarkers- it doesn't bleed through the page. Very interesting! I want to try a tombow pen which Brenda Swanson mentioned in her interview with Danny Gregory.

Ok...long post but I hope it has inspired you to get your sketchbook out and try something different! It is heaps of fun!


  1. Wonderful information! I already have most of these 'tools'...need to go dig them out and experiment.

    If you try the Tombow pens...I have found that you need to quickly (almost immediately)add water after sketching with them. The longer the pigment dies on the paper, the less water soluble it becomes. (Of course you are a fast sketcher and painter.) ;-)

    Looking forward to your next post!

  2. Love reading about and SEEING your techniques this way! Thank you! I am inspired to get out my many water-soluble pencils. Another water-soluble marker to try is Zig markers (sold in the scrapbooking stores) because they have actual brush tips (not compressed fiber tips like most markers).


  3. Thanks for the helpful information. Your drawings look great.

  4. Thanks Debo - interesting about the tombow.... when I next come across one I might just buy one to test out.

  5. Thanks Tina - I think about a lot when I sketch (am always having a conversation with myself) but rarely get the time to write it out. I am determined to make my blog more interesting and share more!...and hopefully be more helpful for others!

  6. Great post, Liz. I was particularly interested in your comments about how 'quick' watercolor pencils were. I've spent the winter sketching in a museum and switched to ADWPs and found the same thing you did, though I'm not as good with them as you are.

    I second the comments about the Tombow pens. Unless the paper has a lot of sizing, they 'set' very quickly. The fun way to use them is with a waterbrush, picking the pigment directly off the brush tip. You can even mix 'in' the waterbrush or on the paper.

    Cheers --- Larry

    1. thanks Larry for the further info about tombows. I am glad that you have been having fun with WCPs! I really want to share more of my tricks as I am loving them more and more!

  7. You are not only a great artist but a great communicator like Cathy. I love your work and am trying the same things.

  8. thanks Helen- you are too kind!

  9. Hey Liz, have you tried the Elegant writer calligraphy pen?...when adding water and tilting, it separates into pinks and blue/greens. The tip is a bit wide, so not easy to achieve very fine lines, but a great sketching tool.
    Thanks for being such a sharing artist.