Watercolor Pencils and Colored Pencils

Watercolor Pencils and Colored Pencils

You’re thinking about combining watercolor pencils and colored pencils, but you have a question. Does it matter what brand or type of colored pencil you use over the watercolor pencils?

Today’s reader question comes from a reader who had the same concern. Here’s the question.

Presently I use Albrecht Druer watercolor pencils with Blick pencils. What difference would I get if I switched to oil base pencils instead of the Blick. Maybe a foolish question?

Thanks. Jim

No question is foolish!

Watercolor Pencils and Colored Pencils

Do the Pencils Make that Much Difference?

I have a set of Blick Studio pencils. I like them a lot on sanded art papers, but they’re not very good on papers like Stonehenge; at least not with my drawing methods.

I also have sets of Prismacolor Premier and Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. Prismacolors are very soft and waxy. Polychromos are dryer, harder and contain more oil than wax in the binder.

I find the Blick Studio to be somewhere in between those two.

Watercolor Pencils and Colored Pencils

I have used Prismacolor and Polychromos over watercolor pencils and have had good results with both. At the time of this writing, I have yet to try Blick Studio over watercolor pencils, but I believe they would work.

Papers for Mixing Watercolor Pencils and Colored Pencils

You’re more likely to see difference in switching papers than in switching pencils.

A 140lb hot press paper like Stonehenge Aqua or Canson L’Aquarelle Heritage has a surface texture much like regular Stonehenge. Since I found Blick Studio pencils unsatisfactory on Stonehenge, I conclude they would also be unsatisfactory on 140lb watercolor paper.

But I don’t know that from experience.

Before you buy new pencils, get a small pad of watercolor paper (140lb hot press preferred.) Do a few small drawings or paintings on watercolor paper and see how you like the results. It’s entirely possible that you won’t need new pencils.

If You Decide to Switch Pencils

If you do decide to try new pencils, there is a definite advantage to choosing Faber-Castell Polychromos. The color names are the same on every line of pencils Faber-Castell manufactures. So the color names on the Polychromos are the same as on the Albrecht Durer pencils. That makes for a lot less confusion.

Prismacolors are also very good on papers that have a surface texture similar to Stonehenge. In my opinion, that’s where they really shine. So they should also work well on hot press watercolor paper.

If you want to try different pencils, but don’t know which ones to get, consider getting a few pencils in the brands you want to try. Do a few pieces of art combining your watercolor pencils and the new pencils. That’s the best way to discover which pencils work best on your choice of paper, and for your drawing style.

Watercolor Pencils and Colored Pencils

Watercolor Pencils and Colored Pencils

I hope that’s been helpful. Finding the right combination of pencils and paper is a very personal process. The combination that works best for me may not suit you at all.

Add watercolor pencils to the mix and the process becomes more complicated.

The best suggestion I can offer you is to start with these suggestions. If you find one that works, great!

But if you don’t, keep looking.

Got a question? Ask Carrie!

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