Sunday Sketches – Watercolour pencil becomes watercolour paint

Sunday Sketches

Not much again this week. I’ve spent most of the weekend priming boards so I have something to paint on when I feel like it. I do it en masse so it is all done at once and I don’t have to worry about it for weeks.

Primed boards

Look at all those lovely white boards just asking for paint 😀

What I have done, though, is continue my red parrot pea sketch I started last week…

Red Parrot Pea Work-in-Progress

After much fiddling, it still isn’t finished, but it does look like this…(apologies for the bad photo, it was still wet, so I couldn’t scan it)

Red Parrot Pea work-in-progress 2

When I came to do the red centres of the flowers (around the yellow eye), I had to switch from watercolour pencil to watercolour paint because as with my pastel sticks, my red watercolour pencils are annoyingly hard and often scratch the surface of the paper. Do any of you ever encounter this problem? I find it very frustrating, to the point I can’t use my reds.

But there has been one advantage, it pushed me to use my watercolour paints, something I’ve been very hesitant about for a long time . I initially only bought them to back up my watercolour pencils. Now I’m having so much fun with them as I trip over my own brushstrokes, I’m considering exploring this medium much more. I think my little discovery of glazing the other day has helped me a lot. I’m still very heavy handed, though, so I may stuff it all up yet…in which case I’ll drag out my acrylics and get mean 😀

Still a lot of work to do on this, which is why I’m posting it unfinished instead of sitting here and trying to rush finish it. I may switch back to watercolour pencils at some point, I don’t know, I’m pretty much winging it. I do know that I have a severe lack of highlights, so I’ll have to fix that. The fact that I’ve been working without a stock photo and am making up the light source myself leaves me open to a miriad of mistakes. I’ll keep poking at it.

Don’t forget to wander over to Sunday Sketches and check out all the wonderful stuff happening over there.

(painting crazy at the moment)


24 responses to “Sunday Sketches – Watercolour pencil becomes watercolour paint”

  1. Your red parrot peas are coming along beautifully! Don’t you love the magic of the watercolor pencils? I’ve done the same thing with adding watercolors to the watercolor pencils, I think it adds more depth. I have a problem with shading and highlights as well, that’s why I tend to work only from photos as I can see where to put them all.

    I also have the problem with scratchy pencils. Even my regular sketching pencils scratch sometimes, it’s so annoying. That’s why I bought the more expensive Prismacolor turquoise pencils, I’ve read they have less grit. But I have had the same problem with my very expensive Prismacolor colored pencils too. Not sure how to get around that. I can see it happening with less expensive materials, but the Prismacolors are not cheap. Luckily they came with my art kit for my graphic design kit because I could not see paying $70 for the set that I have. lol

    cheers, dana

  3. I love seeing all fo the boards just ready and waiting for your artistic hand to paint and create!!!!! I love the way the flowers are turning out…for not having a picture to go off of, this is really turning out nice! you guys are inspiring me to try watercolor pencils, i have never used them before….enjoy your Sunday Nutty!!!!!

  4. wow the red parrot pea is really coming along beautifully. It looks finished to me.

  5. This is looking lovely! What brand of pencils do you use? I recently bought a set of Faber Castel Albrect Durer watercolor pencils and haven’t had any of that scratchy problem. Some of my Prismacolors scratch, but they aren’t watercolor.

    1. I use Derwent pencils. Supposed to be good. But then my Rembrandt pastels, also high up the price spectrum, have the same problem. I think it is the chemical they use for red pigments.

  6. Your petals look real! Lovely and soft. Great job.

  7. sounds as though you are having a wonderful time with with your paints. your piece is wonderful and so nice to see this color amongst my snowy world.
    I do find some colors are very hard, I use my wet brush on the pencil to get the color when that happens. What are your primed boards made with (masonite, plywood)?

  8. oh wow!!!! this is beautiful work!!!! you sure have a lot of inspiration with colour ….love it!!!

  9. These are coming along great! Love the depth of the red! They sure are happy! How delicious having all those boards lined up! I know what you mean about waiting:-) its all good!

  10. All those boards ready! (For Paint Party Fridays?) Wonderful!

    The parrot pea is looking fabulous!

  11. Holy cow. When I first linked to the post those red flowers popped out like a photograph. Very nicely done. I like hearing about process, especially with mediums I struggle with.

  12. Wow very vibrant! Very beautiful! Have you ever used the Primacolor pencils? They seem to be a little more waxy. You may want to try then if you are having a problem with scratching the paper.

  13. Hi Gumnut, water-pencils are my new best friend… I love them, I bought some cheap supermarket onces “Bic” the colours are vibrant and soft leads so no scratching, I’ve been carting them about in my bag for weeks and use them every day… I also bought expensive ones Caran d’Ache they are soft too… as yet haven’t really tested them… I’ll let you know if they are scratchy or not…

    The parrot pea flower is coming along brilliantly…

  14. Thanks for sharing your process! Very interesting! Lovely!

  15. Talk about organized with all those readied boards. Lovely use of WC pencils. I don’t use mine enough so this is good to see.

  16. Oh these are looking fantastic!!! I love how vivid they look.
    Yup I have experienced some rather hard watercolour pencils – but mine tended to be a blue colour lol

  17. Hi Nutty!


    I love seeing how the pencil turns to paint! Have you tried these water soluble oil pastels yet?:

    (I just bought them this weekend & haven’t “properly” played, but the little bit I did, I found them to be deliciously creamy going on the page! They seem to blend really well with water too! I’m excited to play more!)


    1. I have some watersoluble oil pastels here somewhere, plus I have some watercolour sticks, both I have yet to play with properly. Maybe I should get them out and we can experiment in tandem 😀

      Thanks for your lovely comments. You motivate my brush 😀

      (who should be in bed)

  18. It looks wonderful; I love all the subtle shading that comes from the watercolors, especially around the edges. Watercolor is my favorite way to use paints – acrylics scare me! I’m looking forward to seeing and learning more ways to use it in my own efforts from your art.

  19. Scarlet Designs Avatar
    Scarlet Designs

    I love the colours on this picture, and as mentioned above, I used a wet brush direct on the pencil when this happens.

  20. Simply AMAZING and beautiful. VERY nice job. 🙂

  21. The red parrot peas are looking fabulous. Though you have switched to paint, the transition appears seamless.

  22. Beautiful, I love the vibrant colours 🙂