Can't stop using coloured pencils

January 11, 2023 | 8 Comments

Just when I thought I was going to go through a serious watercolour pencil (WCP) stage I found myself using coloured pencils (CP) again!

This sketch (of my nieces’ and nephews’ cubby house) was done on Friday while in an involved conversation with my brother. Without thinking about it, I instinctively reached for my coloured pencils!

And well, it confirmed that there really is something very special about using them under watercolour. Whilst there is the option for softening WCP marks when applying watercolour over the top (and this is what I wanted during my recent Blue Mountains trip), the WCP pigment mixes with the watercolour and can make the washes a little murky.

Even though I have been using WCPs for years, I currently have a more extensive range of coloured pencils and I’m rather partial to a lot of the CP pastel colours. So these might be additional reasons why I keep returning to CPs.

I am trying to reduce the size of my everyday kit (at the moment I’m carrying a selection of coloured pencils, WCPs and markers) but I’m enjoying being able to mix it up.

And so the experimentation continues!


  • Jeff Walzer says:


    Love the sketch! What CPs are you using? I assume that you’re not swapping CPs and WCPs as they are two separate pencils?


    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Jeff. I’m using a range of different brands – faber Castell Polychromos, Bryunzeel Design, Caran D’arche Luminance and Derwent Coloursoft. I should do an updated colour chart 🙂

      • Jeff Walzer says:


        TYVM for the info! I can’t tell you how much of an inspiration you’ve been to me (and countless others) and I always look forward to your wonderful art and posts!


      • Liz Steel says:

        Thanks jeff!!!!

  • Jamie C says:

    The details and textures you get with colored pencils are so vivid and interesting, in addition to the colorful!

  • John Burman says:

    Dear Liz,
    Many thanks for all you news emails. So encouraging.
    I’ve just spent a month in Geelong, Victoria with my daughter and two children. I found myself always drawing the Eucalyptus trees. Cavalier Art Supplies in Geelong drew my attention to Daniel Smith’s Aussie red gold which I bought.
    We visited the cedars at Hahndorf, SA. inspiring . Admired also Heysen’s painting Red Gold in Adelaide.
    Best wishes,
    John Burman
    Hackney, London.

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