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Second step

Moving on down the page, I shaded in the far harbour wall with a first layer of light olive green at the top and brown 77 further down  followed by an a layer of dark grey 8 over all.  I was careful to leave little strips of  light where the steps are.  I then worked on round the walls adding more brown to the mix as we came nearer the viewer and again left strips of white for the tie up ropes.

The fish market shed was then worked making sure space was left for the standing people.  Next I put in the red flowers in the far window boxes at the top of the steps, and the standing woman in the sunlight and also the red float on the nearby boat.

Now to work in the blues.  You will see how I have used three of the blues available to me. Choosing a light blue 37 for the boat cover undercoat and dark blue for the shadowed top coming down in lines. I have added some dark grey in the deep shadow of the covered side window.  I need to take a decision over colours for the other boats, and whilst there are a lot of other colours available in the box. I am going to stay with the blue set

For the number on the PZ618 registered fishing boat, you can use a soft white wax pencil to go over the numbers and letters  before you do the main hull, and this may act as a partial resist when water is added to the main hull colour later.  You won’t get them to stay white, but the numbers will still be visible.

The main boat hull is completed in black. And the water  done with the ochre pencil in horizontal lines.  I have put the rear ( stern ) of the middle  launch in a bright yellow as I was going to use the Yellow with blue on the boat cover of that one.   That is about it for now.  The result is shown in scan 2 and you will see that we have two options at this point.   The paper is showing the white flecks it

usually does at this stage where the pigment has not yet hit the little valleys in the paper surface.  We can continue with dry point pencils and work successive layers over the top of what is shown below, or - if we used aquarelles, we can use a damp brush to wash in the aquarelle pencil pigment into the paper and work on with dry colour afterwards.  The first option will give us a paler, more natural, result, the second a more vivid set of colours with more contrast.  Lower pigment levels in the pencil will give a less marked leap in colour levels

This is the dry pigment image and below are the colours used to reach this point

SEE BELOW  for more information about the brushing process

and a scan of this picture after brushing with clean water

For the trees I have worked a small scribble stroke with the damp brush so that colours are merged into a tree like


Moving down the greens I changed to a more even horizontal brush stroke for the grassed area

Work down the picture, using a brush stroke appropriate to the surface you are representing.  Water will be horizontal strokes with quite a dry brush, building surfaces may be horizontal or vertical strokes with a wetter brush etc. This results in a more even finish.

Keep a pad of kitchen roll handy to dry your brush and to mop off excessive colour from the paper.  If you work immediately on the wet surface before it dries, you will be able to lift most of the colour if you need to.  If you spot an area with colour which should have been white, erase the pencil before wetting it,

It’s much easier that way


 Suitable for beginners


This exercise has been designed to show line and wash techniques with Watercolour Pencil, and is best carried out on hot pressed watercolour paper.  I Have used Aquarelles from the Staedtler Karat box of 36 colours.  If you use more colours or a different brand then you will have a different result.  I show the actual colours used next to the pictures (below) so that you can match any alternative brand.  The paper I used was a soft surfaced  270gm HP paper from Hahnemuhle in Germany with a 90% Bamboo fibre content.

Alternative pencil brands :

Derwent Inktense are a high pigment pencil like the Karat ones,

Derwent Watercolour pencils and Caran d’Ache Supracolor pencils have lower pigment levels and therefore have a less vivid result when wet. Other brands will also vary in the way they handle.

The most important thing to remember as you do this exercise, is that you must keep all your shading of dry colour light and even.  If you apply a firm line, the pigment will bed into the paper surface and the line will remain as a line even when you wash it out with water

Keep your pencil point flat to the paper when shading in colour

For this first step, definite lines on the paper don’t matter as you

are simulating foliage and need a dappled effect.

Use small, light,scribbling, strokes with your greens for the trees,

incorporating sepia with the mid green in the top for a darker green area, and working down to a more shading type stroke for the mixture of mid green and light olive green in the lower area of the background grass and the nearer hillside,  Build up layers of greens and some gold and shade over the top to get a good depth of pigment.

Use a layer of white to protect areas of paper you want to be lighter Coloured than the pencils normally allow, then add your second colour layer on top ( roofs and shadowed house walls for example), this will give a more pastel effect, and the white will reduce the amount of the darker colour the paper will take. When shading shadowed walls (white and pale grey) keep your strokes as smooth as possible and in the direction the wall runs - either vertical or horizontal, but not  diagonal.

If you have an Ivory or Light Cream  in your colour range, this will warm up walls in sunlight. There is a perfect one in the Faber Castell Albrecht Durer and Caran d' Ache Supracolor ranges, but not in the small Staedtler set we are using.

This is the story so far .......


The colours will be quite a lot lighter on the paper as you put them down dry, and will develop more depth and strength when you add water later.

If you are new to Watercolour Pencils, don’t put down too much colour until you know how your brand of pencils will perform.  Better two coats of dry colour than too much !

The addition of water will intensify the colour and you will be able to smooth out some areas quite easily with the brush.  

You will most probably need to go back into the picture once it has dried, and apply more detail and more colour depth with your Pencils used ‘dry point’

You might feel when you get to this point that you are happy and the picture could be regarded as finished.  

You could well be correct

BUT If you want to do more - see below

This image is the picture after the brushing-in process

We will now see what further development we can do to the picture once the surface has dried

You will note that some areas have been left dry to date the small windows and the numbers on the boat etc.

Some areas are still to be completed.   

Sharpen up your pencils and see what you can add in the way of further detail

I have used the same colours as previously plus a selection of other colours from the box to fine tune the picture.  My image is below

You will note that I have left the sky the white of the paper.  I often do when I want the scene to stay sunlit as adding blue to the sky area effectively darkens the sky which is usually the lightest part of the picture.  As with all personal preferences, there are exceptions as you will see in other exercises.  Skies are among the difficult elements in Coloured Pencil and therefore I omit the sky in this early exercise.

There are further developments you could take with this picture and if you wish to work the picture in finer detail, I suggest that you take your own trace from the photo and  work with a finer surfaced watercolour paper.

Good Luck !

If you really want to get a picture which is very detailed and exact to the photo, you will need a very accurate first drawing, and a lot of careful work with sharp points on your pencils. This will take time.

The original exercise took a mere 2 hours but the final result was not very satisfactory. This updated exercise takes between 5 and 6 hours

This version is the second edition of this scene and the notes are more detailed than the previous one (2007)  The Picture development was the first landscape step by step I tried

( YOU should be able to do better than I did ! )


PDF Files

 are available

for this exercise

with a copy of the initial photo,

a copy of a printable tracing

and a copy of these notes

Next Page

Once you have completed putting down all the layers of dry colour you need, you can introduce water.

I have used a very fine nylon brush which has a good spring to it

This exercise was written originally in 2007 when I was just starting teaching.  The first edition of this was not very successful as a picture but it was successful as a piece of coursework.  

I revised and re-did the artwork in 2009, which is what you see here.

I think I would probably make a very different picture of it,  

if I did it again now...

6 years later !

I might even try.............

Page refreshed Jan 2015





Inner Harbour, Cornwall  UK