Using Watercolor Pencils With A Spray Bottle Instead
Technique : Draw First Add Water Later
Most artists use watercolor pencils to create a drawing and add water afterward or in stages as they draw.
In this method, start by outlining your subject lightly, either with a graphite pencil or the dominant color of your subject. Note any areas that you want to keep white or very light. You can even outline the highlights.
Color in your subject lightly with the main color. Add other colors, starting from the lightest and ending on the darks and shading.
Finally, its time to add water! Wet your brush, and dab it on a paper towel to remove excess water. You dont your brush to be dripping wet on the first stroke.
Starting with the lightest areas, begin painting water onto your drawing. Youll notice that the pigments become much brighter after you add water. Rinse and wipe your brush before adding water to a new color. Otherwise, you risk overpowering the new color with the one already on your brush.
Once you fill in your entire subject, you can use the remaining pigment on your brush to create a light ground or background.
Drawing Waves Splashes And Water In Motion
Almost any ocean or lake has waves. Sometimes those waves can be small, a few bits of motion upon a surface. Its almost like fabric blowing in the wind, says illustrator and comic artist Jonathan Case. Thats what the surface tension of water looks like. That surface can flow gently or rapidly, but as it flows you can use bubbles and water ripples to communicate the motion. If you want to communicate the flow of water, you need to pick areas where you have these nice, soft blowing lines interrupted by these shorter, bubbled areas, says Case.
A calm, rippling surface, though, is often interrupted by waves and splashes. Those waves and splashes are not singular geometric shapes. They are complex, temporary, and always unique. One of the most important things is to use a variety of shapes, says Case. Big shapes and little shapes. Whether its water pouring onto something or water on the surface, you want to find ways of organizing small and large forms to make things look more organic. Avoid uninterrupted lines. Straight lines are products of architecture and engineering, but natural shapes tend to bend, develop, and branch into other things. Wavy lines are more the norm, and if a single line continues unimpeded, add in something to interrupt it and make it more organic.
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Sketching Your Design And Base Colors
Adding Depth And Detail With Layers Of Pencil And Water
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Blending: Gradients With Two Or More Colors
Start with two analogous colors . Apply the colors side-by-side using smooth firm strokes. Once done, gently apply water to blend the colors and see them mix and change.
Now try blending complementary colors for a dramatic effect! You might just come up with some unusual, quirky shades. Have fun experimenting and practising.
Draw Some Inner Details For Your Water
From this step onwards, we shall start adding layers of details to build up the look of water flowing.
Youll be using the pencil shape that you drew in the previous step as your guide as you start adding smaller details inside.
This flowing water will be build up using lots of smaller shapes, and we will be keeping them within the pencil shape.
Using the reference image as your guide, you can add curved shapes inside that adhere to the flow of the shape. Some will extend out of the pencil shape as well.
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How To Draw Clear Water
The fun starts when you want to draw something in clear water. Not only have you got water reflections bouncing around, but you also have the body shape and shadow, all in one chaotic image.
I wont kid you, its daunting, and every time I have pushed myself to the challenge, Ive sworn Ill never do it again. The image below is a case in point.
The key to drawing crystal clear water is to emphasize contrasts. The sparkles look best against the black background. You can see that more clearly below the dorsal fin. The ripples on the far left look good for the same reason.
Its vital to retain the white highlights if the transparency is to be convincing. To that end, I made a huge effort not to smudge the surface of the paper in any way.
Nowadays I would lift the whites out with a battery eraser, but I drew this many years ago and painstakingly drew around the dots, one by one.
As I couldnt use color to separate elements in the image I retained the grain in the paper to indicate the sandy seabed while smoothing the dolphins skin with a paper stump. The dolphin stood out more in my colored photo, but in monochrome, I had to use more contrast to have the same impact.
I also had to make it clear that the head was above the water. Only the top of its head is in perspective. The rest of the body underwater is distorted beneath the ripples.
Its not quite the same, but I can demonstrate the difference between reality vs artistic license with the penguin drawing below.
Observe The Surface Of Water
A problem that most people have when drawing water is that it continually moves and changes. To overcome the difficulties in interpreting the surface of the water, the waves, and reflections. My advice is to simplify the process into a series of large and small marks.
The marks that you will draw will represent the waves and the shadows created by the waves.Draw large marks in the foreground, there will be darker.An important rule is that marks drawn in the foreground should be more intense than those illustrated in the background.Drawing smaller marks in the midground and progress onto adding smaller dots.
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Draw From A Photographic Reference
A Photography reference is an effective way to isolate sections of a complex image an reduce the range of values you intend to draw.Look carefully at your subject and study the reflections and colors on the surface.
To help you see areas on the water which have reflections. Take a simple digital photograph.
- Create a black and white photograph as this will allow you to reduce the number of values in the picture.
- The next stage is to crop the image. This is a simple technique which will let you look at one section of the image in isolation.
- Cropping the image will also allow you to focus on the values and ripples on the surface of the water.
How To Use Watercolor Pencils
Last Updated: September 15, 2021Approved
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Watercolor pencils can help you create beautiful watercolor works of art without having to use paints. Draw with your pencils on watercolor paper or thick papers that will hold water. You can then apply water by brushing it on or spraying your drawing. You can also layer pencil colors and water to intensify the watercolor effect. Feel free to experiment to see which effects you like best!
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How To Draw An Ocean Wave
Pen and ink is a medium which lends itself particularly well to the drawing and sketching of reflections and the surface of the water. Ballpoint pens, as well as fine line nips, are all great for drawing precise lines.
- Draw a curved line which dips towards the end, this is a basic shape onto which the details of the wave will be built upon.
- Next, draw a concave C shape under the crest of the wave.
- Draw a smaller irregular line which will represent the whitewash foam.
The Power Of Observation
Before I got brave enough to pick up my pencil in 2002, I spent a couple years just looking. I got my first digital camera and started to take photos of everything. I began to open my eyes and look around me. It is amazing what you see when you really start looking.
The more you look, the more you see. The more you see, the more you understand.;
To experience a landscape you must visually, mentally, emotionally and physically observe it.
Not all of us have the opportunity to draw plein air . So we use photographs. We need to be aware of the limitations of using photographs. One of these short-comings is It flattens the view to 2-dimensions. You cant see what is tucked behind an object. If you didnt take the photograph -you have to take additional steps to become connected to a scene. You need to mentally envision walking through your scene. Do researchlook at various reference photos at different angles to help you understand what you are looking at. Feel the textures, feel the wind on your face, or the spray of water at your feet. This understanding what you are seeing, is the power of observation.
So lets look at our first image. Courtesy of Aleksandra Freeman . Aleksandra captured a beautiful swan swimming. The swan is so simple and Im itching to draw it, but oh that water and reflections! How do we begin?
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Drawing Is A Copying Skill
Drawing is a skill that is trained like driving a scooter. You didn’t know how to drive, but you did. 50 hours spent with a driving instructor and you are already driving. What is required for this talent? Slowly, carefully, but drive. So with drawing from scratch there is no need for a special gift, you just need practice. Draw the pencil over the paper again and again.
To learn how to draw beautifully, it is important to learn how to redraw. Whatever monster you have in your head, if you can’t copy it from your computer screen, you can’t even transfer it from your imagination.
My scooter helmet in Bali. Acrylic is varnished.
Drawing = copying. If you want to learn how to draw something simple for yourself, a month of practice is enough. Your task is to learn how to copy.
For a beautiful drawing – it will take more time. From scratch 200 hours draw flat images. Then 500+ hours from nature, and the same amount of theory, color basics and sketches. And only then imagination, talent, exhibitions, fame and other skills that will come with practice. 95% of the artist’s talent is work.
Sketch The Water Drops
Lightly sketch the outline of the water drops using a Tombow Mono HB Pencil on a 5 x 7 piece of Strathmore Series Bristol Board Smooth.
Drawing Tips ;Sketch the droplets lightly so you can easily erase the guidelines later.
Keep in mind that you will be adjusting the drawing as you go along, this is just a rough sketch at this point.
Begin by adding graphite with an HB pencil to the darkest areas of the droplets.
The darkest areas will be where the shadow is.
Refer to the reference image to identify the shadows.
Drawing Tips: Use a sharp pencil and do not make the shadow to dark at this point. You will be adjusting the values as you go along.
The next step is to draw in the dark areas of the water droplet.
Drawing Tip: Draw in a circular motion with a light touch.
Continue to refer back to your reference image.
Lightly blend the graphite with a blending stump.
Drawing Tip: Do not press too hard with the blending stump. Doing so will damage the tooth of the paper, making it imposable to add more graphite to the drawing surface.
Lightly tap off some graphite with a kneaded eraser. Removing some of the graphite will create soft value changes and create highlights to the water droplet.
Clean up the lines with a Tombow Mono Zero Refillable Eraser.
Drawing Tip: You will want to follow the steps above several times until you are completely satisfied with the values and highlights.
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Wave Drawing Video Tutorials
How To Draw a Seascape, Waves, Skies, Graphite Pencil Tutorial.The Bristol paper was a joy to use and I will certainly be using it again.The graphite powder I used throughout the drawing was Koh-I-Noor natural graphite powder.
Learn how to draw water with calm waves in this video tutorial. In this case, I am using charcoal.
Learn how to draw The Great Wave by the famous artist Hokusai in this easy step by step art tutorial.
Watercolor Pencils Vs Paints
So how do watercolor pencils compare to paints? Are they just watercolors in pencil form?
Not exactly. These are two separate but related media.
Mastering watercolor pencils wont make you a master painter. And even seasoned painters would need to brush up on techniques if they decided to switch to pencils.
However, watercolor pencils and paint complement each other well. You can use pencils to add details to your watercolor painting. Or create a background with paints and draw the main subject with pencils.
Both media teach you to work with pigments and water.
Watercolor painting is notorious for being the most difficult type of painting. Watercolor pencils can be a way to ease into watercolor painting. Youll learn how water affects pigments, moves paint across a page, and blends colors.
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