Some Graphite Aquarelle Sketches from my travels

November 29, 2019 | 8 Comments

After posting my last article on pencils (and thanks to everyone who took the time to comment) I found myself looking through my travel sketchbooks for the last few years to find some more examples of sketches done with a Faber Castell Graphite Aquarelle pencil. This article contains some of the sketches I found.

I really like using this pencil in a combination of dry and wet techniques to create a really expressive line. Sometimes I even dip the lead in my water container to create a real dense crayon-like black mark – but this is a bad habit as it weakens the lead. Hmm, I think I should put one back in my kit and try to use it a little more!

So here they are…

A favourite sketch of recent years of a favourite Baroque building – Santa Maria della Salute in Venice.

Another favourite building – Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza.

(I had to include a Palladian building, didn’t I? But I’m not going to mention Palladian Odyssey – oops! I just did! I’m hopeless, I know.)

Okay, what about a Palladian inspired building – The Temple of the Four Winds at Castle Howard, UK

Heading north to Scotland and switching to an interior – St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Further north for a landscape sketch – Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis.

Across the pond – a quick sketch of a Chicago skyscaper (and oh! a teacup is on the page too)

And then heading south – a warehouse building in Oamaru, New Zealand.

A classic city view in Auckland

And finally a small Scout Hall, also in Auckland.


  • I love them all. I wonder what is the technique that you use: sketching with the graphite aquarelle pencil on place, and then add color later? The shadows come from putting water on the pencil lines or you paint them?
    I am very curious since I started your online course last week.

    • Liz Steel says:

      All these are done on location and mostly with the Watercolour ones I was mixing line and colour – so sometimes paint over pencil and other times pencil over wet or dry paint.

  • Tami Jacques says:

    Hi Liz,
    Really love the loose style of these sketches. Had a materials question regarding the one sketch of the warehouse at Oamaru, NZ- in the windows there looks to be a couple of greens used- were these pencils?

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Tami – there does look to be a little cobalt green watercolour pencil in the windows along with paint.

  • Yvonne Carpenter says:

    Great sketches, Liz! I like when the graphite mixes with the watercolor. It seems to make the lines darker, and then it fades out into the watercolor. I don’t think you need ink then. Did you use ink on any of the sketches above? It does not appear to have ink, and they look superb!

  • Joanne kalvaitis says:

    Great sketches. Love the graphite work. You’ve inspired me to get out my water-soluble pencils again!

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