Should I add water/watercolour to my watercolour pencil sketch?

July 21, 2023 | 12 Comments

This is the question that I’m asking myself a lot lately!

Watercolour Pencils are such a great tool for quick sketches as you can decide whether to use them dry or activate them with water or watercolour (my preference). This double-page spread shows both options.

A few comments on these pages:

  • Chantal and I had a lovely tapas lunch to celebrate the completion of the Teacups course. I only managed very quick loose ink lines at the time and shortly afterwards added some quick WCP with the intention of adding watercolour later that night. But I didn’t get time for that and decided that I liked the page the way it was.
  • A little while ago I posted some sketches of a few fishing villages in Scotland. I wasn’t sure of the names of the places so I asked for help. A few people suggested Culross so I looked it up on Google Street View and then did a simple drawing of one of the scenes. I added WCP and then watercolour paint over the top.
  • I don’t have a full set of the Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils but I do have a full set of Polychromos (thanks to Faber Castell Australia). So I did some Polychromos swatches to see if there are any important colours I’m missing!

As I’m now using a different sketchbook it is unlikely that I’ll touch the above food sketch but I’d like to hear from you – do you think I should add watercolour to this sketch or leave it as it is?

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  • Prashanta says:

    Just love your sketches Liz…..My vote is to leave them as they are!

  • Linda Barnhill says:

    Leave as is, looks nice, tells the story. It also works well, good balance, with the pencil test on adjoining page.

  • Susanne Scheiter says:

    My vote is to leave it as it is, too.
    It‘s so lively and radiant as it is. It‘s lacking nothing IMHO.
    I’m also thinking: The textured-ness suites food, why soften it?
    P.s.: sorry for my poor English 🙂

  • Well I feel differently. The sketches are lively and delightful but I think they would be richer if some watercolour were to be added. Colour is such a joyous thing!

    • Jane Varley says:

      Hi Liz, yes, I’d add water to parts of these sketches, to define some areas and to tie in with the opposite building sketch.

  • Sydney Brown says:

    They look complete to me!

  • Arlene Lennox says:

    I would add water to the sky and leave the rest dry.

  • Suzie Sherwin says:

    Greetings Inspiring Liz!
    Watercolor pencils are fun… and I prefer adding water or watercolor paints to pop the colors to give the sketch more life!

  • pamela thomson says:

    I love the combo idea. the sketches on the food are so wonderful but I think they could use your magic watercolor touch to make them edible.

  • Liz Steel says:

    thanks everyone! I love reading all your opinions about water or no water!

  • I like both sketches. They have their own individual character. I say let them stand and speak for themselves.

  • Jamie C says:

    I think the mix of leaving some as dry and others with paint adds a nice variety, shows your techniques of the moment, and makes a nice flow of style. Keeping the food as a dry sketch also conveys the energy of a good meal, seeing the joy in the textures and lines is delightful!

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