Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
Today I’m playing around with the Faber-Castell graphite aquarelle pencils. They’re like watercolor pencils, but in greyscale and better for creating different values than colors. They’re really fun to use!
I used them to draw a few faces just 'cause faces are my favorite thing to draw. I first wanted to make a quick sketch to test them out on thinner paper but I got really carried away and it turned into a full drawing… here’s the steps I like to take with pencil sketching.
First, I do a loose sketch in a light pencil, like HB. (Remember the H is harder and lighter, then B’s are softer and darker, and the higher the number in front of the H/B is, the softer/harder or darker/lighter the pencil is.)
After that I went in with 4B to define everything. This set has HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B if you want to use every one for really even shading.
I used an 8B then to make really deep shadows. I think that these pencils make really nice sketch pencils on their own without the water, they get really nice and dark and feel a bit more like colored pencils.
Then I went in with water. I used a normal brush like the kind that comes with the pack, but I think a water brush would be great to use too. If you’re really into watercolor, you’d be great at this step, the pencils act a lot like watercolor does.
The darker pencils create a darker black once you wet them, which is why it’s good to use the different pencils rather than to use one pencil with different pressure. I tried to push the water along with the lines I made to control the shading, it's hard to make it look neat! Putting one big wash over it keeps the darker lines and creates an even gray layer, which I used more around the outsides and on the hair. I think these pencils would also look great and be easier to use with a more loose style.
Since the paper got a little bubbly, I tried another drawing on watercolor paper and repeated the same steps for shading as before.
The watercolor paper definitely worked better with the water. You can also go back and add in more details with dry pencil again on top.
I experimented with colors after that… I tried alcohol markers on one, and just put a layer of even color on top since the pencils already create the value. I think it would work better if I had less aquarelle pencil underneath because it came out a little muddy. Or maybe even a marker base and the pencils on top?
I also added colored pencils to the other one. I bet that using watercolor pencils on top or even also as a base layer would be a cool look.
I liked playing with these pencils and there’s so many ways you could use them! I’d love to see even more combinations with other mediums and styles. Overall they’re pretty great pencils and lots of fun to use.
Here are the supplies I used:
My substrate this week originally started as a decorative panel I found at the $ spot at Target. Upon closer inspection I saw that it is some sort of MDF board with a wood type veneer on the surface. To prepare the panel I first gave it a light sanding to remove the glossy surface and then covered the panel in a thick layer of gesso.
While the gesso was still wet I pressed the Penrose stencil all over the surface of the gesso to create texture. Immediately wash off your stencil and wait for the gesso to dry.
Since my layer of gesso was so thick it helped to create a subtle texture to the surface when dry. Next came a few glazes of color and some stenciling along the edges with the Quasi stencil. When the paint was dry I gave it a light sanding which highlighted the texture created by the gesso.
Using the same technique from last time, I used transfer paper to trace my portrait design onto my surface. I chose to make it off center to add more interest to the composition. I used the General's Scribe-All to trace over my lines and since it is water-soluble I was able to establish some shades to build my painting upon which started with a layer of white acrylic.
Then I bounced around the painting creating more color, value and texture by rotating through using Inktense sticks, distress sticks, General's Scribe-All, Faber-Castell Aquarelle Pencils and Dina Wakley's acrylics. Every once in awhile I would give certain areas a sanding to bring back the under texture.
I was also very inspired by our very own Cristin and her magnificent use of drips in her artwork. I tried my hand at it and I am digging the layer of texture (can you tell it is my very favorite thing!) it adds.
The final piece has a much different look than my last composition and I am pleased with how it turned out. I encourage you to recreate a subject from one of your previous artworks with a different media. You might be surprised and pleased at what the new materials will draw out of you!