Watercolor Pencil Jumpstart: Preclass

Welcome to the preclass lesson where we’ll talk a bit about process and supplies for this class. 🙂 

Process Notes

This class, while for beginners, may *look* intimidating when you look at the pieces created in the lessons. However, know that templates to print and trace are provided for many of the lessons, so you’ll be able to follow along pretty easily even if you are not experienced at drawing. Using rubber stamps in classes on this site has proven to be a problem, since manufacturers can decide to discontinue what is shown in class, so finding creative ways around that problem is your instructor’s challenge! Printable templates to PAINT on are not provided, since most printers cannot print with waterproof ink on watercolor paper, therefore traceable templates and measurements are provided to assist.

Don’t worry. You can do this!

Before we start…a little housekeeping

I retain the copyright to the content you are learning in class. That means…

  1. Do not sell or give away the concepts from my classes – you may not re-teach my instruction contained or created within these lessons.
  2. Do not post a video tutorial or step by step photo tutorial of your own redraw of class content.
  3. Do not repost any handouts you receive in class.

However…I love to see students making strides and taking this teaching and personalizing it with your own skills.

  1. DO make your own designs and develop your own style! I love that!
  2. DO gift your creations made with these techniques, of course!

At the bottom of each lesson you’ll see some ways to share your homework and ask questions, so that’ll be handy for you.

Watercolor Pencils

You can try this class with any brand of pencils, however know that really inexpensive pencils or student-grade pencils may not provide the results you desire. As mentioned in the video, you can always try just a sixpack of high quality pencils to see what one of these brands are like and gauge the quality of the brand you own. (See the swatching section later in this preclass lesson for the color trios.)

Albrecht Durer by Faber Castell, sets up to 120 colors: Amazon | Blick

Supracolor by Caran d’Ache, sets up to 120 colors: Amazon | Blick Art Supplies

Inktense (ink not watercolor) pencils by Derwent, sets up to 72 colors: Amazon | Blick Art Supplies

Museum Aquarelle by Caran d’Ache, sets up to 76 colors: Amazon | Blick Art Supplies


Highly recommended; textured papers that retain rich pigmentation:

Fun to play with, and may be helpful with Inktense if you struggle with pigment clinging to the texture of rougher papers:


Highly recommended brushes for works the size of which are shown in this class are by Silver Brush Company, Black Velvet line:

  • Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #8 BLICK  AMZ
  • Silver Brush Black Velvet Round #12 BLICK  AMZ

However if you are creating larger fine art pieces, nicer squirrel hair brushes are a fantastic treat. (Ask Santa for one for Christmas!) My two absolute favorites:

Other supplies

  1. Pencil Sharpeners (electric isn’t as necessary for watercolor pencil since tiny line work is not always as important as regular colored pencil work):
    -Quietsharp Electric: Amazon | Blick Art Materials
    -Handheld Dahle (just because it’s yellow!): Amazon | Blick Art Materials
  2. 1″ Scor Tape (used in assembly of the book – you may also decide to holepunch or bind in some other way)
  3. Sharpie
  4. Pencil
  5. Eraser
  6. Spray bottle or mister
  7. Tea strainer (any kind will do); the one I have doesn’t get lost in the studio because it’s pink! I got it here: Amazon
  8. Gorilla Grip Drawer Liner (you may have lots of other materials around your home to use instead, so wait til you see the lesson): Amazon

Swatching and tips

It is not generally necessary to swatch every living thing we have in our studios. With watercolor pencils though, I do recommend it; with some brands they do VERY different things when they meet water, and you will want to know what that thing is!

My swatchbook recommendations:

  1. Swatch on the paper you’ll be working on. “Using up” your yucky paper won’t give you good samples to work from that have the same color and properties for your project.
  2. You can attempt to do light-to-dark swatches, but don’t be upset if it doesn’t always work out. They’re swatches, and that’s okay.
  3. Mark which brand a pencil is from if you have multiple brands. I recommend this even if you don’t, since you may someday get another brand, and it’ll stand you in good stead later. Mine have a box in the corner with an initial, but you can also use an icon of some kind. My watercolor pencil swatches have the initial in the upper right, and regular pencil swatches in the upper left.
  4. Use these pocket pages. I had bought a couple different ones on Amazon and they were all the super shiny kind, and I really don’t like them for viewing color; Ellen’s are less shiny.

The swatches below show the colors you may want if you’d like to test just a few pencils of another brand. These are not “the” warm and cool selections every artist would make if left to their own devices; I looked to match all the sets as best as I could from the brands I had. Links to get individual pencils (not sets) are below each photo.

INKTENSE SINGLE PENCILS 0400 1230 1200 0520 0200 0850
SUPRACOLOR SINGLE PENCILS 010 020 260 080 250 140
ALBRECHT DURER SINGLE PENCILS 118 108 110 219 106 120


Quick links to share your work wherever you like:

Artventure Community

Where you’ll be right in Sandy’s pocket for quick feedback and answers to questions

Student Facebook Group

Our closed group is a safe place to share for those in all our classes who love the ‘book!

Social media & blogs

Post wherever you like to share, and let your friends know which class you’re taking. They might like it too!