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Just Add Water!

Continuing my series on art supplies, today I'll be talking about watercolors. Coloring with water is somewhat magical and I have wonderful memories of playing with watercolor. My sister and I had our own set of watercolor pans, palettes and brushes. Despite practically no artistic skills to boast of, we had fun. Lots of it.
Now with my new found hobby of coloring, I get to try watercolor magic again! Now what I'm going to talk about in this post doesn't have much to do with actual watercolor painting. But you can still use wet media - after a fashion - in coloring books.

Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor pencils are exactly what the tin says - watercolor pigment in pencil form. You can use them wet or dry, though naturally they shine when you add water. The easiest way to use them in coloring books is to color as usual with the pencils and then add water with a water brush or regular paintbrush.

These pencils have a few pros and cons. One con is that you can't really use them like true watercolor paints in coloring books, they just don't offer the same blending and mixing properties. However on the pros list - and there are many - you have:

  • No need to mess around with palettes, cups of water or messes
  • Easy to take with you, since they're in pencil form
  • Easy to use in multiple ways - dry on wet, wet on wet or wet on dry
  • Pencils can be easily sharpened for getting into details
  • Plenty of fun!
Just like colored pencils, you can get water soluble ones in nearly every brand and price range out there. Again just like regular pencils, artist quality will get you better results than student brands. You can get sets of watercolor pencils from Prismacolor, Caran D'ache, Faber Castell, Derwent and all the famous brands. I have the Albrecht Durer set of 120 pencils from Faber Castell and they work wonderfully in coloring books. Depending on the quality of paper, you can even add multiple layers of color. However cheaper paper will definitely buckle and won't dry flat. You can still have fun with watercolor even with cheaper books, as long as the pictures are single sided or if you don't mind sacrificing the image behind the one you colored.

Derwent Inktense

No post about watercolor would be complete without mentioning the Inktense pencils. These are not actually watercolors, instead they are INK in pencil form. Which means they differ in some key aspects from watercolors. 

First off, they are permanent once dry. So if you make mistakes or want to mix different colors after the color dries, it's not going to happen. They are much more vivid and 'intense' (I guess hence the name Inktense) than watercolor. You won't get many muted colors or pale tones with Inktense. They're also much less transparent, so adding multiple layers to get a new color is not going to work.

On the other hand, the fact that they're permanent also means you can easily add other layers on top without worrying about activating the layer underneath. So you can use Inktense pencils along with other media like water based markers, colored pencils and so on.

Some people prefer the vivid colors of inktense while others love the transparent washes you can get with watercolor pencils. You can even mix and match both in your projects. So what are you waiting for? Add some water to your coloring!


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