Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils
Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils are water-soluble and made of professional artist quality grade pigments and precisely match the color palette of Prismacolor’s other products – Premier, Verithin, and Art Stix. Prismacolor Pencils are sold individually or in sets of 12, 24, and 36 pencils. Used with or without water, the smooth and rich colored leads lend themselves to creating dynamic drawings. The technique to using water-soluble pencils is up to the individual artist’s imagination. There is no wrong way to use these pencils, except to avoid over saturating paper with water, which can lead to tearing, especially when using light weight paper.
Artist grade watercolor paper is recommended, rather than drawing paper. An alternative to watercolor paper is cold press illustration board, which is a thick, high rag content paper similar in thickness to cardboard. It has what artists call, tooth, which means that the surface is textured and not smooth. The textured surface will absorb water better, allowing for greater artistic control. A smooth surface will cause running, because there is no place for the water to go. Pencils in general work much better on a textured, porous surface. When purchasing either watercolor paper or cold press illustration board, be sure to check that it is made from 100% cotton fiber and is acid free.
Illustration board can be used with a combination of media and is much more resilient to water than watercolor paper. With stronger paper, you will be able to make more layers with your Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils, without the fear of ripping your paper. When using either, particularly if you plan to apply water, it is best to secure your paper to a hard, smooth surface such as Masonite board. The reason for this is twofold; first, when paper absorbs water and dries, it expands and buckles. If taped down, your drawing surface will maintain better integrity. Secondly, the tape allows for a border, which will come in handy when it comes to framing your drawing. Some artists prepare their watercolor paper by first gently immersing it in lukewarm water before they tape it down. Soaking time is generally no more than 10 minutes, and should be less with lighter weight paper.
Always handle your paper by the corners when removing it from water. Allow the excess water to drip into a basin before placing it on your board. Before taping down your paper, you will want to remove excess water using a sponge, applying smooth, even, straight, and gentle strokes across the surface. Once all bubble and bumps are removed, tape down one side using drafting tape. Make sure to use only one piece of tape; multiply pieces will cause your paper to dry unevenly. You will need to hold the tape taught, and begin in the middle of one edge of the paper, working it evenly from the middle to the edges. Once one side is evenly taped down, again use your sponge to smooth out your paper, but this time, apply even strokes away from the taped side. When you are satisfied that the paper is bubble free, apply tape to the opposite side of the paper. Depending upon whether you are right or left-handed, will determine which side you will begin your taping – keeping in mind that you want to use the sponge to stroke away from the taped side. If you are left-handed, you may want to begin on the right side of the paper. Once the right and left sides are taped down, your paper should be adequately stretched, and won’t require further sponge work when taping down the top and the bottom of your paper.
In order to avoid making a hole or tearing your paper, it is probably best to wait before you paper is fairly dry before applying your first markings with Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils. Once the paper is dry, you may begin your drawing! Applying water to your drawing will require at least one watercolor paintbrush. Brushes come in a variety of sizes and shapes; a fan brush is especially useful for pulling your pigment away from the point of pencil saturation, in order to create a wisping or fanning effect.
“Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils” was written by Brenne Meirowitz, BA, MA, MS.
©2010 Brenne Meirowitz. All Rights Reserved.