EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques

Students explore a variety of watercolour techniques using watercolour pencils.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 9

Subject

Art Techniques
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

contrast crayon resist line pattern transparent

Materials

Watercolour Pencils Soft Paint Brushes Water Containers Paper Towels Plastic Placemats Watercolour Paper Masking Tape

Steps

EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step One

Step One

PREPARING THE PAPER

  1. Tape a single piece of watercolour paper to a plastic placemat or piece of stiff cardboard.
  2. Use masking tape to divide the paper into 4 sections. 
  3. When the tape is removed it will leave a white border around the paintings.
  4. Be sure to use one long strip of tape for each side unless you want a broken border.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Two

Step Two

WET PENCIL

  1. Do not wet the paper before starting.
  2. Dip a pencil into water and then draw on the paper.
  3. Use:
    - the pencil tip
    - the side of the pencil tip
    - more of the side
    - different pressure 
  4. Repeat the lines to create interesting patterns.
  5. Imagine how you might use these lines, and or patterns in a picture.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Three

Step Three

3-D SHAPES

  1. Draw some geometric and organic shapes with a pencil.
  2. Colour around the inside edges of the shape with a dry pencil.
  3. Apply a wet brush over the colour and spread it out into the shape so it goes from dark to light.
  4. Experiment with how much colour and water you use to get a 3-dimensional effect
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Four

Step Four

3-D LINES

  1. Draw some wavy, horizontal lines across the paper.
  2. Colour along the edges of the lines with a dry pencil.
  3. Apply a wet brush over the colour and spread it out to the next line so it goes from dark to light.
  4. Experiment with how much colour and water you use to get a 3-dimensional effect
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Five

Step Five

WET PAPER

  1. Wet the entire paper with clear water.
  2. Wet a paintbrush and paint it across the tip of a pencil to pick up colour.
  3. Paint into the wet paper.
  4. Repeat this process until the paper is filled with colour.
  5. Push the wet paintbrush against the tip of the pencil to create splatters.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Six

Step Six

DRY PAPER

  1. Wet a paintbrush and paint it across the tip of a pencil to pick up colour.
  2. Paint on the dry paper until it is filled with colour.
  3. Compare this painting with the wet paper painting. 
  4. Imagine how you might use these techniques in a picture.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Seven

Step Seven

RESIST

  1. Stick small pieces of tape to the paper before painting.
  2. Wet a paintbrush and paint it across the tip of a pencil to pick up colour.
  3. Paint on the paper until it is filled with colour.
  4. Go right over the tape.
  5. Allow the paint to dry and then gently remove the tape.
  6. Imagine what the white shapes might be.
  7. Add details or leave the shapes as they are.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Eight

Step Eight

CRAYON RESIST

  1. Use crayons to draw a design on the paper. Press hard while colouring.
  2. Leave lots of the paper uncoloured.
  3. Wet a paintbrush and paint it across the tip of a pencil to pick up colour.
  4. Paint over the crayon drawing letting different colours blend together.
  5. Once the picture is dry gently remove the tape.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Nine

Step Nine

WET OVER DRY

  1. Colour a variety of colours (or just one) directly on the paper with a dry pencil.
  2. Apply a wet brush over the colour to get it completely wet.
  3. Be careful not to use too much water.
  4. Wet a paintbrush and paint it across the tip of a pencil to pick up colour.
  5. Paint over the first layer of colour until the paper is filled with strong colour.
  6. Allow the paint to dry.
  7. Paint over the dry paint with contrasting colours.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Gently remove the tape.
  2. Examine your experiments.
  3. Imagine how you might use these techniques in a picture.
EXPLORING WATERCOLOUR PENCILS – Simple Techniques - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

  1. Choose 3 of the 8 techniques to discuss with a partner.
    - Why did you choose these techniques?
    - How would you use these techniques in a picture?

    - What did you like best about using watercolour pencils?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create 6 different marks with wet watercolour pencils;
  2. Use 8 different techniques to create a variety of effects with watercolour pencils;
  3. Build on their own and others’ discoveries to generate new ideas;
  4. Explain their process; and
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

Extensions

Have students:

  1. Use watercolour pencil techniques to create an imaginary landscape.
  2. Focus on ways to include the following:
    - FOREGROUND - the space near the bottom of the paper that seems closest to the viewer.
    - MIDDLE GROUND - the space in the middle of the paper between the foreground and the background.
    - BACKGROUND - the space near the top of the paper that seems far away from the viewer. 
  3. Focus on the use of blending to create a sense of deep space.

Prepare

  1. Download the Colour poster available on this website.
    Colour Poster
  2. Download watercolour images from the Internet, for example,
    Gagarin
    Prendergast
    Street
    Vernon
  3. Place students in groups so they can share ideas.
  4. Provide paper towel, masking tape, water containers and small paintbrushes for each student/group.

Introduction

  1. View and discuss several of the watercolour images.
    - Ask students to guess how they think the artists went about painting their pictures.
    - Explain that watercolour paints are transparent and they can be used in a variety of ways.
    - Point out parts of the paintings that have very light, transparent colour; textured lines and shapes; interesting textures; strong colours.
     
  2. Ask students to share what they know about using watercolour paints.
  3. Explain that watercolour pencils are like two things in one – a coloured pencil, and watercolour paint.
  4. Explain that today's class is for experimenting with different techniques. 
  5. It's a time to play with ideas and see what happens.
  6. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create 6 different marks with wet watercolour pencils.
  2. Use 8 different techniques to create a variety of effects with watercolour pencils.
  3. Build on your own and others’ discoveries to generate new ideas.
  4. Explain your process.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Demonstrate how to tape the paper to the plastic mat.
  3. Demonstrate 3 ways to use the watercolour pencils,
    - colour directly on paper with a dry pencil, then paint a small amount of water into it
    - dip the pencil into water, then draw with the wet pencil
    - wet a paintbrush and paint it across the tip of a pencil to pick up colour, then paint with it
  4. Remind students that they will need to clean their water once it gets dirty, because the dirty water will muddy their colours.
  5. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I:
    - complete all the experiments
    - remove the tape carefully once the paint is dry
    - keep the paper in good condition
    - accurately describe how to do each technique
  6. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  7. Observe students as they work. 
  8. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  9. Once most students have completed their first 4 experiments stop the class and invite students do a walk about to see what others have done.
  10. Encourage them to think of new ways to use each technique. 

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other something they find interesting and why.
    - Discuss the things that are especially effective and why.

    - Talk about what they found difficult and what they found easy to do.
    - Discuss how they might use these techniques in a painting.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the experiments – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – WatercolourPencilTechniques_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students label each technique and write a brief statement explaining how they might use the technique in an artwork.