View Full Version : Watercolor Pencils

11-01-2010, 12:12 PM
Hello All,

I have done mostly watercolor painting using paints but I recently started my first sketchbook and use either ink or pencils and ink. I started a picture with watercolor pencils on cold press 140 lb paper and am not real happy with the results. What is the best paper to use with watercolor pencils? Thanks for your help.


11-01-2010, 12:34 PM
I like using a heavy watercolor paper but it's all right to use a lighter watercolor paper. Various multi-media sketchbooks handle the watercolor pencils well.

One thing I like to do with them in sketchbooks is to go lightly with the water. Instead of trying to scrub all the strokes out, let the strokes show under the wash as accents and try to place them well. It's tricky but practice makes that easier. The heavy 140lb paper is great on them but they'll function on lighter paper too.

Try them on different sketchbooks. I even use them occasionally on paper that cockles if I don't worry too much about the cockling - it'll flatten out somewhat if the book's pressed flat afterward.

They are one of my favorite sketchbook mediums including Graphitints and graphite "Sketch and wash" watersoluble pencils in the category.

11-01-2010, 06:51 PM
Hi Bonnie! Great advice from Robert. Using less water is definately better - keep your very wet loose washes for paper that you've stretched not your sketchbook.

I have "ironed" pages in my sketchbook if they stay really cockled. I place a clean piece of white photocopy or printer paper either side of the one that is cockled and use the iron lightly (no steam!) keeping the iron moving constantly. I've had pretty good results so that the book closes flat again.

Hope to see some of your work in the forum :)

11-01-2010, 09:31 PM
I think it depends on your technique and how you like to 'paint' with them.

I have my 'nice' watercolour paper, Saunders Waterford 190gsm medium cold press, which felt awkward to me even though it turned out well enough. I now have a Arches 185gsm smooth hot press I like much more.

In my October sketchbook I used was light (90gsm) only intended for pen and pencil. However it worked well for me and had no problems. It'd not hold up to any amount of rough treatment or washing but I don't use much water have a real 'watercolour' style having never used them. My brushes are barely damp to paint, just enough to loosen and move the colour around.

12-02-2010, 12:59 AM
I found that 90lb paper was not sturdy enough for how I used the pencils (too much water I suppose). The 140lb works much better for me.

12-02-2010, 05:13 PM
The cold press 140 lbs should work if you don't use a lot of water. That's the paper I used in my International Fake Journal. I used micron pens and water color pencils. But, I kept the water to a minimum. No wet on wet.