Water-soluble graphite pencils

Hello again;

One of the best feelings in the world for someone who likes to paint is to find out new media.

I loved discovering poster paint, aged 10.

I loved discovering watercolour pencils, many years later.

And a few weeks ago I discovered water-soluble graphite pencils, and I think they are great.

I decided to buy a HB grade and use it for the initial drawings on my sketches.

Here are some sketches I did lately and others for comparison:


For most of the sketches above- the earlier ones- I drew with Inktense pencils and corrected my mistakes drawing over in black (Micron pen). Once washed there is usually just a slight colour smudge left on the area where I made the correction. Another small problem is that the lines add some tone to the drawing, making it -alternatively- blueish or brownish. That effect can be distracting in some drawings. Inktense lines can also contaminate areas of lighter colour.

As you can see, on my first attempt at using water-soluble graphite pencil the final sketch turned out too flat: The subject didn’t have much contrast, and the lack of lines and unusual angle make it look confusing despite the application of colour.

So I decided to use black  pen (fine liners) on top of pencil for later drawings. One of the main advantages of graphite pencils is that I can redraw different areas without adding too much mess. The graphite (HB) is rather faint and tends to disappear when I apply water. This helps when drawing complicated subjects, such as Westminster Cathedral or the sketch at a platform: I made a few miscalculations and was able to correct them easily.

I could use ordinary pencils (rather than water-soluble) and an eraser to correct mistakes, however ordinary pencils can smudge and erasers can damage the texture of the paper and affect the final result. With the water-soluble graphite pencil, though, I feel more confident to tackle complicated drawings and make as many corrections as I need.

I think this is all I need to share for now: This pencil has found a permanent place in my sketching kit.

Thanks for reading this, I hope you found it useful.