How to Join Watercolor & Colored Pencils together

So you’ve had a great time with watercolor paint and gotten open to using colored pencil. Why not join the two? The wet and dry media supplement one another and can convey great depth to your artwork, regardless of whether it’s a portrait, still life or just in your sketchbook. Also, it’s easier than you might suspect to combine the media — the best part is that there are no special tools required!

Before you begin, you’ll need to assemble your most loved set of colored pencils and watercolor paint.

Your paper choice is important here, as well. Since you’ll be applying a wet medium to the paper, you require something that can deal with water. Search for paper that is neither too smooth or too rough; it ought to have some tooth (surface) to it, however not all that much that your colored pencil won’t glide easily over the page. For my very own work of art, I used hotpress paper.

How to Join Watercolor & Colored Pencils together

To start, make a plan and sketch your mixed media artwork.

Arranging your artwork is (most of the time) essential to making an incredible piece. Indeed, even the most essential sketch will enable you to get scale and proportions right.

Both watercolor and colored pencils are unforgiving media, so once you begin to lay them on the page, there’s little you can do to correct your mistakes.


When you’ve chosen your subject, draw it lightly in pencil. Concentrate on the large shape connections and a portion of the better details you need to highlight.

Then assess your subject

What parts of it fit watercolor? What details should be rendered in colored pencil? Where will you layer the two?

Have a general thought of how the two will communicate before you put paint and colored pencils to paper. You can, obviously, experiment, but the procedure turns out to be a lot easier with a loose plan. Not certain where to begin? Here are a couple of tips:

Watercolor works best for large areas of coverage and dark, saturated color. I used it to set up the ground and the scenery, and in addition to cover the body of my subject

Colored pencils are perfect for accents and little areas where the fine point of a pencil works is required. I used them to draw the hard edge of shadows.

After you’ve planned, apply your watercolor paint


When you’re sure of the areas you’re painting, begin by applying your most loved watercolor techniques. Working in thin layers, gradually include more layers of pigment.

But, be careful: in a case that you need to draw with colored pencil over the watercolor, you have to keep the color light. On the off chance that the pigment is too saturated, it’ll look too dark and you won’t see the colored pencil.

Wait for your painting to dry, then draw on the colored pencil


Break out your colored pencils just when your painting is totally dry. By then, work similarly the way you did with the watercolor: Lightly drag your pencils over the page and build rich color layer by layer. Furthermore, take a look at the areas which could use some accuracy, for example, sharp shadows.

Colored pencil can be alone on the page, however it’s best when you apply it over your watercolor. Together, they add an excellent depth that is difficult to accomplish on their own.

Optional: repeat the process

Once you’ve applied the watercolor and drawn with the colored pencil, you might feel that your artwork is still lacking in richness, be it color or texture.


If you find yourself dissatisfied with the result, have no fear — you can repeat this process. As you paint with your watercolor, however, notice the areas where you’ve used colored pencil. Depending on how waxy your colored pencils are, the water might repel from your drawn lines. After it’s dry, you can use the colored pencils again.

You should approach this extra stage cautiously. It’s easy to apply too much pigment or texture to a work of art and make it look overworked. Use the rinse-and-repeat option only if you feel like you need to add contrast or saturation to a color.

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