Product Testing: water-soluble pencils and linework

I’m working towards a project I’ve had in my mind for a long time. In this project I want to use washes of water and linework together, and I’m fascinated with combining drawing and painting, which is why I currently have a mini-obsession with water-soluble pencils. (I may change my mind later and work with ink pens and washes, but I am a pencil nerd and really want to find out their possibilities before giving in to penwork.)

So here we go – déja vu – with more testing.

This time I’ve chosen a simple linear motif to test out three types of water-soluble pencils against each other. I’m sticking to a palette of natural colours as that is what I want for my project.

The criteria are very much based on the quality of line this time:

  • how the water sets the colour
  • is the linework opaque or partially transparent?
  • has the linework dissolved or disintegrated and to what extent
  • to what degree the linework has bled into the water
  • relative tonal relationship between the wet line and the flowed areas
  • how much the colour transfers to the wash

I am comparing three types of pencils: (A) Derwent Inktense, (B) Derwent Graphitint and (C) Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer.

(A) Derwent Inktense: ink-based pencils

These have a stronger colour value when water is flowed across the linework. The linework itself becomes more intense and maintains its integrity for the most part.

(B) Derwent Graphitint: graphite-based pencils

These have a lesser colour value when water is flowed across the linework. The linework itself loses value and strength, some some colours show disintegration of the linework more than others, mixed results in transference of value.

(C) Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer: watercolour pencils

These have a lesser colour value when water is flowed across the linework. The linework itself loses value and strength, some some colours show disintegration of the linework more than others. The colour from the linework flows readily into the tone, dissolving and spreading, and reducing the integrity of the line.

Conclusion

  • The Inktense hold the integrity of line best, out of these three types of water-soluble pencil. The line value is strong, although it does depend on the amount of pigment applied to begin with in the linework.
  • The Graphitint are better for more subtle linework, where the dissolving quality can be used to its advantage in artwork.
  • The Albrecht Dürer have a flowing quality of colour away from the linework – it’s less uniform in flow than the others, which could have its own advantages.

I hope you find this useful. Leave me any thoughts or comments, or if there’s anything else you notice or would like me to test out, let me know.

Cara

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