The beautiful malleability of Graphite Aquarell

Yesterday I happened upon a live discussion/demo on Instagram with Keiko Tanabe and Arts Savoir Faire. Keiko did a beautiful little demo with a Cretacolor Aquarell pencil, which reminded me that I had one in my pencil drawer. I’ve never really used it much, if at all, but I liked what she did with it, so I grabbed a sheet of watercolour paper and drew some okra that was on the counter.

Unlike other water-soluble graphite pencils I’ve used, this 8B pencil gets really dark and is very soft. It also layers really well. I used it in different ways. I wet the paper and drew into it. I drew with it dry, and then wet the lines. And I also dipped it right into my water cup to soften it to achieve the darkest darks.

This morning I looked out my window at my Norway Maple and the neighbour’s house, and I enjoyed the experience of drawing with it as much as I did yesterday. I love the soft quality of the lines it makes, and the fact that areas can be rewet and reworked. If you decide to try this, I would suggest using watercolour paper or a watercolour sketchbook. Anything thinner, like mixed-media paper, will tear if you add as much water or as many layers as I did.

26 Comments on “The beautiful malleability of Graphite Aquarell”

  1. Marilyn Hansen says:

    Thank you Shari! Yes, we forget about our graphite watercolor pencils. I have some that I should use more for sketching. Always thinking about color, but graphite sketches are so beautiful as well!


  2. Lovely drawings. A most enjoyable medium. Ocra are such great shapes to draw.


  3. I love your blogs and also have really enjoyed using the water soluble graphite. I’ve used several brands Derwent, Aquarelle, and Koh-I-Nor, But in all cases the softer the graphite the better results I get.


    • Hi Dan, Thanks so much for writing. I guess the water soluble graphite I’ve used in the past has never been as soft as this. That must be why I’m enjoying the 8B pencil so much. So much blackness!!


  4. Roben says:

    When can we expect your next online class? Love them!


  5. murraylh says:

    Love the tree trunk!Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S9, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable smartphone


  6. Denise says:

    Hi Shari! Love working with pencils myself, but have yet to try the water soluble ones. Also, just noticed that you changed the name of your blog? I guess I should pay more attention!


    • Denise, you are paying attention. I just changed it today!
      There are so many things I haven’t updated on my blog in ages so I am working on that now. I realized, after almost 10 years, that my name is not on this at all. Don’t know why it took so long but there you have it. Thanks for noticing!!


  7. Joon boody says:

    Thanks for you talent..really enjoyed


  8. Cindy Wahlstrom says:

    I enjoy reading your blog and viewing what you draw. So many products I don’t know what to do with and your shared thoughts are valuable bits of knowledge. Thank you!


    • Thanks so much Cindy. It gives me a chance to think about these things when I write about them too. Much more than if I just used them and put them back in a drawer. I appreciate you reading it!!


  9. Bernadette says:

    Beautiful,beautiful, beautiful! Love your snow scenes.


  10. I love water-soluble graphite – I think it has some of the best qualities of both pencil and watercolour, especially for loose, immediate work. I have two brands, Derwent, which have thick leads and Faber Castell which have thin ones, so they are interesting to use in conjunction for different textures.


  11. Betsy says:

    I love this! That maple sketch makes me feel cold — something about your shadows and smudges is really wintry!

    BTW, my mom and I are both signed up to take your “Sketching Fresh Flowers” online class.

    We will use it to help us get through winter, and enjoy some “together apart” time.

    Since we can’t share indoor space because of the pandemic, we are planning to do each module in our own workspace at roughly the same time, and then share thoughts and results with each other after the session (via video chat).

    Like most people, I need some structure these days!


  12. mcammeehan says:

    I will have to give it a try. Thanks for the tips!


  13. Dianne says:

    I love your winter scene.I also have the same pencil in a drawer. Thanks for the encouragement to give it a tr.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s