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Using Watersoluble Colored Pencils for Quick Backgrounds

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Above: my last morning sketch from the Sketch Out—made just before our first group meeting. Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils used dry and wet on a 9 x 7 inch card of Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. HP Watercolor paper. Notes written with a Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.3. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

One great advantage of watersoluble colored pencils over wax-based colored pencils is the way you can use the first to create watercolor washes throughout your drawing. You can dissolve the lines of your sketch and blend colors together as you would with watercolor paint. Or you can leave your lines only partially dissolved for additional texture to your sketch/painting. Or you can simply leave them dry, as originally applied, with the same sort of visual effect you would get using wax-based pencils.

If you have a large area to cover and no time you can also lay in a background of blended color much more quickly with these pencils than with wax-based ones.

In this post I have three examples all made on the Sketch Out trip to this year’s State Fair. For each sketch I simply drew the animal I was observing. Then I scribbled in a background of colored lines, typically using two or three analogous colors in a random order across the background (placing darker colors where I wanted more contrast, but no more thought than that to the placement).

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