Overview of Drawing with Soft Pencil on Watercolor Paper

The other extreme is when a complex detailed drawing under a watercolor is done immediately on a worksheet. It is especially dangerous if a lot of edits were made to the drawing (rubbed with an eraser. Watercolor paper contains a minimum of glue and a maximum of absorbent fiber, so it does not repel excess graphite particles, traces of grease from fingers or tools, small stains of dirt, but rather absorbs.

When you paint with watercolor paint on such a surface, they mix in with the pigment and give dirty streaks, unnecessary blotches, “bald spots” that are not covered by the paint. Scratches from a hard pencil or pressed lines of erroneous elements in a drawing are also dangerous – they will appear when transparent watercolor is covered with dark grooves – the pigment will settle into dents.

It is easy to avoid all of the above, while maintaining an accurate drawing – construction and detailed drawing can be performed on a sheet of drawing paper separately, and then with light lines, barely touching the surface of the watercolor paper with a hard pencil, transfer it to a worksheet through glass or a light table (do I need to mention that It is categorically impossible to use a carbon copy?).

By the way, you shouldn’t brush off the rubbish, the remnants of an eraser or wash it with your hands, too, because the palms, and especially the fingertips, also leave sweat-fatty marks that may prevent the paint from lying on the sheet evenly. Better to use a soft, wide brush or sponge. This is especially important if you are going to paint with watercolors on cotton paper.

Excessive layering
Especially in many hours of educational studies in watercolor, when the form, volume and space are modeled gradually and come to light as close to nature as possible, beginner watercolorists apply up to 7-9 layers of paint on the same fragment. Of course, the luminosity of such works is very weak – the inner glow of the paper is almost completely clogged and the colors look dull and dark.

Here, too, dirt in watercolors is inevitable, greasy pieces of a painted surface, watercolor paper rubbed to pellets, fades and dull blackness. It is possible to paint in layers without drying out the drawing: experienced artists apply up to 12-15 layers of watercolor glazes per sheet, but they do it delicately, observing the laws of color mixing, the laws and rules of color science and the technological features of watercolor pigments.

To ensure that everything works out well, novice artists will need 2 watercolor rules: 1) do not apply more than 3 layers on a sheet and 2) each subsequent layer is cleaner than the previous one (glaze with the purest, not mixed colors).

Excessive passion for color, ignorance of tonal relationships.
Of course, bright and elegant, transparent and velvety watercolor attracts primarily with its color saturation, nobleness of shades and complexity of color transitions, but, as you know, correct tonal relationships are also important in painting. The difference in lightness between light and shadow, the main and the secondary, the subject and the background in the study is absolutely necessary.

It is not for nothing that one of the main qualities of color – lightness – creates a whole palette-scale of color change towards white (lightening) and black (darkening), transforming, for example, red into subtle shades of pink, scarlet and crimson and dense burgundy blazing in full force … And in combination with variations in saturation (opacity) and mixtures of the color tones themselves, lightness gives especially interesting varied shades.

In addition, a color precisely matched to all three characteristics, put in the right place, looks natural, truthful, and does not just create a colorful mood. Of course, this needs to be learned by practicing pictorial exercises in combination with a theoretical base – this is possible only with live lessons with a teacher. Independent practice in this particular issue, unfortunately, is powerless, especially since watercolor is very specific in technology and changeable in the process of mastering. Books and articles are unlikely to help here either.

Accidental washouts
Such careless flaws happen when novice watercolorists do not take into account the hiding power of pigments or forget about them. The principle of painting with watercolors: consistent filling of the sheet with transparent paints as possible. At the end of the work, it is important that the transparency of the layers is preserved, and the white paper shines through the layers of watercolor everywhere in different qualities.

So, in order not to overdo it with a layer of paint, it is important to apply the most opaque pigments carefully towards the end of the work, because they almost do not let this inner light through.
And it does not mean at all that the opaque pigments in watercolors are necessarily dark: lemon cadmium, orange cadmium, sky blue, Neapolitan flesh – light, but opaque paints.

Of course, glaze the opaque pigments with care too. For example, when overlapping an opaque layer with a transparent translucent paint, instead of the expected gloss, you can get a blurring of the previous layer, an impregnation and a mechanical admixture of pigments from layer to layer, respectively, dirt or dryness as a result.

Comments are closed