Watercolor pencils are one of the most magical tools in the art world. They look like ordinary coloured pencils, but a touch of water instantly transforms their marks into beautifully spreading colour that looks exactly like watercolour paint. You might not be the only one searching for information on watercolour pencils. This article will teach you how to properly use watercolour pencils on paper and will recommend some of the best watercolour pencils for your artwork.

What are watercolor pencils?

Watercolor pencils are coloured pencils that are soluble in water. They were developed in the 1940s as a follow-up to coloured pencils and have a number of distinguishing features. When you wet the watercolour pencil drawing, the pigment spreads across the paper, giving it the look and feel of a watercolour painting.

Why use watercolor pencils?

Using watercolor pencils can help you achieve many experiences that other tools don’t have. They bring three main advantages as follows:


Most people find it easier to control a pencil than a brush. Watercolor pencils become less intimidating as a result of this. They also use less water, which is one of the most surprising aspects of watercolour. If you have more control over water, you can better control the pigments on the page.


With pencils, you can add more detail. The sharp point of a watercolour pencil allows you to lay down more visual information than the flexible point of a brush. If you want a crisp line, you don’t even need to add water.


Colored pencils make it simple to paint in colour. In contrast to paints, all you need to create a beautiful watercolour painting is your favourite pencils, a brush, and a small amount of water.

How to use watercolor pencils

It would be preferable if you could participate in some watercolour pencil tutorials to gain a better understanding of how to use watercolour pencils. However, it is not required. If you don’t have time or want to experiment on your own, follow the steps below to create your first watercolour painting with watercolour pencils:

Step 1: Activate watercolor pencil applications with water

To activate the colours, use a brush and clean water. Pay attention to the form and direction of your pencil strokes to make your composition appear more cohesive. You can reduce the appearance of pencil strokes by rubbing the colour more vigorously with your brush, but be careful not to overwork it or the paper will pill or tear.

Step 2: Layer and mix color

After the first coat of water has dried, add more colour to your painting to enhance it. Apply more of the same hue to intensify existing colours, add shade with contrasting hues, and define features with more precise markings. Blend the new colours with water, as before. Repeat this technique as needed until your piece is finished, but don’t use too many layers as this will muddy the colours.

Step 3: Experiment

Experimentation is essential in any artistic medium. Try putting the pencil directly into a wet area to achieve unique effects and powerful colour applications.

Always begin with lighter colours and work your way to darker regions when activating pencil colours. As a result, the darker hues do not overpower the lighter ones.

Step 4: Take color directly from the pencil tip

To eliminate the appearance of pencil strokes in your painting, simply use a wet brush to pick up colour directly from the points of your pencils and paint as usual. This is a great technique for making watercolour pencil work look like real watercolours. It’s also a good strategy for people who prefer to paint rather than draw.