Using Watercolor Pencils to Elevate Your Cartoon Art

Using Watercolor Pencils to Elevate Your Cartoon Art: Techniques and Top Picks

Are you a cartoonist looking to add vibrancy and depth to your artwork? Look no further than watercolor pencils! These versatile tools offer a unique way to infuse life into your illustrations, creating captivating and expressive cartoons. In this guide, we’ll explore the wonders of using watercolor pencils to enhance your cartoon artwork. Let’s dive in and discover how these pencils can unlock a whole new level of creativity in your illustrations.

Understanding Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor pencils are a hybrid medium that combines the precision of colored pencils with the fluidity of watercolor paint. They come in a vast array of colors and are made from pigments bound with a water-soluble binder. When water is applied, these pigments dissolve, creating beautiful watercolor effects.

Techniques for Using Watercolor Pencils in Cartoon Art

  1. Base Coloring: Start by laying down your base colors using watercolor pencils. Apply light strokes to build up layers and create depth in your cartoon characters or backgrounds.
  2. Blending and Layering: Experiment with blending different colors by overlaying them and using a wet brush to create seamless transitions. Layering colors can add dimension and richness to your artwork.

Top Picks: Recommended Watercolor Pencil Sets

Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils:

    • Strengths: Excellent lightfastness, intense pigmentation, and a wide range of colors.
    • Weaknesses: Relatively higher price point compared to some other options.
using water color pencils gfaber castell
Faber Castell – See the full range and prices here

Derwent Watercolor Pencils:

    • Strengths: Affordable, good color selection, and easy to blend.
    • Weaknesses: Some colors might lack vibrancy compared to premium brands.
using watercolor pencils derwent
Derwent Watercolor Pencils – See the range and prices here

Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle Pencils:

    • Strengths: High-quality pigments, smooth application, and lightfastness.
    • Weaknesses: Limited color range in certain sets.
using water color pencils caran dache
Caran D’Ache watercolor pencils – See the range and prices here

Arteza Watercolor Pencils:

    • Strengths: Budget-friendly option with a wide color range, good for beginners.
    • Weaknesses: Some pencils may have issues with breakage or uneven pigmentation.
Arteza Water color pencils – See the range and prices here

Lyra Rembrandt Aquarell Watercolor Pencils:

    • Strengths: High-quality pigment, easy to layer and blend.
    • Weaknesses: Limited color selection in smaller sets.
Lyra watercolor pencils
Lyra Watercolor Pencils – See the range and prices here

Tips for Maximizing Watercolor Pencil Usage in Cartoon Art

Use High-Quality Paper: Opt for watercolor paper or heavyweight drawing paper to prevent buckling when adding water to your artwork.

Experiment with Water Techniques: Explore different water application techniques like wet-on-dry, wet-on-wet, or dry-on-dry to achieve various effects in your cartoons.

Embrace Negative Space: Leave areas of your drawing untouched by color to create highlights or emphasize certain features. Utilizing negative space strategically can add depth and interest to your cartoons.

Practice Control with Water: Control the amount of water you use with your watercolor pencils. Experiment with dampening your brush slightly for subtle effects or saturating it for bolder, more fluid washes of color.

Use a Variety of Strokes: Explore different stroke techniques such as hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, or dry brushing to add texture and dimension to your cartoon characters or backgrounds.

Create Custom Shades: Mix and blend colors directly on your artwork using the pencils themselves. Overlaying complementary colors or gradually building up layers can result in unique and customized shades.

Protect Your Work: Consider using a fixative spray once your watercolor pencil artwork is complete to prevent smudging or fading. This step is especially crucial if you plan to display or frame your cartoons.

Experiment with Resists: Use masking fluid or wax-based pencils to create resist areas, preserving certain sections of your artwork from watercolor application. This technique allows for precise detailing and effects in your cartoons.

Work from Light to Dark: Start with lighter colors and gradually move towards darker tones. This approach enables better control over the intensity of colors and prevents overpowering lighter shades.

Practice Patience and Layering: Allow each layer to dry completely before applying additional colors or water. Building colors slowly through multiple layers enhances the depth and richness of your cartoon illustrations.

By incorporating these additional tips into your pencil techniques, you can further enhance the quality and creativity of your cartoon artwork. Experimentation and practice will help you master these methods, allowing your artistic style to flourish with the unique possibilities offered by watercolor pencils.

Conclusion: Watercolor pencils can revolutionize the way you approach cartoon art, adding depth, vibrancy, and a whole new dimension to your illustrations. By mastering techniques like blending, layering, and experimenting with water, you can create captivating and dynamic cartoons. With the recommended sets of  pencils, unleash your creativity and watch your cartoons come to life with brilliant colors and enhanced detail.

So, grab your favorite set of watercolor pencils and start elevating your cartoon artwork today!