o start a watercolor painting, it is always best to start with a sketch. Now there is a dilemma here. Watercolor is a transparent paint and black lines underneath a wash will somehow tend to show through a painting. For this reason, watercolor pencils were developed.

What are watercolor pencils and Watercolor Crayons?

A watercolor pencil is a hybrid pencil that is for drawing and painting. You sketch with it as you would an ordinary pencil but it is also water soluble that when you run a wet brush over it, the lines dissolves and turns to watercolor wash. There are different softness levels for watercolor pencils depending on the manufacturer. The softer the pencils, the easier it breaks but it is also easier to color. The best thing before buying watercolor pencils is to try out a single pencil and judge what works best for you before deciding to buy a set. Watercolor pencils like colored pencils come in all range of colors.

A variation of the watercolor pencil is the woodless type. These pencils are not encased in wood but are wrapped in paper. There is not much difference except that with the woodless variant, you have a wider crayon circumference to work on. Larger in circumference is the watercolor crayon. This too looks very much like ordinary coloring crayons except that it is water-soluble. Watercolor crayons are best used when you need to put down more pigment into your paper to enable you to work faster.

Watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons are very similar in appearance to colored pencils and coloring crayons. As an aid of differentiation, watercolor pencils and crayons are usually stamped with a brush or a water droplet. However if you mix your pencils up when working, it is best to test out first on a bit of scrap paper every time these tools are used or the results could be disastrous.

How to use watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons?

Watercolor pencils and crayons are used pretty much the same way as you would a graphite pencil or a color pencil. When the paper is dry, it would also appear very similar to color pencil lines and like color pencils it could be erased. The addition of water changes its consistency and its uniqueness appears.

There are different ways in applying a watercolor pencil.

• You can apply it dry and paint the lines over with a wet brush

• You can wet the pencils and lift the color with the brush and apply it to the paper

• You can wet the paper and apply the pencil directly or

• You can wet the pencil and apply it to dry paper.

In the absence of a particular color in your palette, you could dissolve watercolor pencils and crayons in water, mix hues of different combinations and temperaments, and create watercolor paintings very similar to how you would use watercolor pigments in tubes and in pans.