How to Use Derwent Watercolour Pencils April 5, 2010

These versatile pencils have a watersoluble colour strip allowing you to draw and paint with   complete control. The pencils can be used wet or dry on either wet or dry paper to create a variety of exciting effects. Derwent Watercolour pencils are ideal for mixed media work. They are available in a range of 72 colours.

Shells produced with Derwent Watercolour Pencils

Shells produced with Derwent Watercolour Pencils


Materials used to complete this project:

Derwent Watercolour pencils  No. 17 Pink Madder Lake, No. 30 Smalt Blue, No.59 Golden Brown, No. 61 Copper Beech, No. 67 Ivory  Black, Hot pressed watercolour paper, Size 4 round brush, Craft knife, Derwent Graphic 3B pencil



Using No. 30 Smalt Blue, lightly draw the line drawing onto watercolour paper.

Watercolour Pencil shells outline drawing

Add outline with Smalt Blue Derwent Watercolour Pencil

Watercolour Pencil shells drawing 2

Start by using the pencils "Dry on Dry"








Dry on dry. Apply No. 61 Copper Beech in sections as shown stroking the pencil from the outer edge towards the centre (not all the way), using No.59 Golden Brown apply to the centre and a little on the brown section to link and warm.  Add  No.17 Pink Madder Lake lightly over all the shell except in the centre. Introduce No.30 Smalt Blue over the centre part of the pink as a halo (this will create a mauve when water is added.)



Introduce No.30 Smalt Blue to the yellow centre to darken. Add No.67 Ivory Black from the outer edge inwards to darken. Work on the two smaller shells by blending the No.17 Pink Madder Lake and No.61 Copper Beech as shown. This will act as a base colour when hydrated in preparation for the dramatic black which will be applied when wet.  Add a little blue. Draw in the centre coil with a Graphic 3B pencil.

Watercolour Pencil shells drawing 3

Introduce more colour to capture detail

Hydrate: Using a size 4 brush and clean water gently dampen the smaller shells (avoid the shadow). The moment the black goes onto the damp surface the colour will intensify and a bold stroke will result. Gently intensify the pink and yellow if the colour is too light in contrast with the black. Middle shell – using clean water, begin in the centre and with gentle stroking movements allow the pigments to blend.  As soon as the blue is touched it will merge with the yellow. Working from the centre outwards on the light area stroke the pigments towards the outer edge with a wet brush – continue to moisten the brush in water. Avoid over wetting. Hydrate the dark bands from the outer edge inwards. It is important to keep the brush clean and not transfer the black to the lighter section, use gentle stroking movements. Whilst the shell is still damp use 61 Copper Beech and apply the tiny dots.

Watercolour Pencil shells drawing 4

Add water to really see how you can enjoy the precision of a pencil and the beauty of Watercolour

 Wet sections of the final shell. Then using a craft knife gently scrape the colour off the pencil letting the speckles fall onto the paper. The colour will hydrate and intensify only where it is wet, the rest will remain on the paper. Once dry the excess dry speckles can be blown away to reveal untouched paper.

Watercolour Pencil shells drawing 5

Speckling "into wet" to create some beautiful effects

Whilst this is drying put a little of each colour on the paper, (except black) like a mini pallet and blend the colours to give a soft mauve/grey for the shadow area. Paint the shadow area under the dry shells. This results in a beautifully painterly effect.

Watercolour Pencil shells drawing Mini Pallet

Create A mini pallet to blend the colours

Using the paint as a pallet again, introduce some structure lines to the remaining shell using No.30 Smalt Blue, No. 59 Golden Brown and No.61 Copper Beech. Then add the shadow as previously.

The final result using Derwent Watercolour Pencils

For more tips, techniques and product information visit:  Derwent Watercolour Pencils at Your Creativity Store

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