Graphitint pencils are tinted water-soluble graphite pencils made by Derwent. I’m using them this week to challenge my thinking about color and process.
Experimenting with new materials is a great way to reveal unexplored possibilities in your work. I’ve worked with Graphitint pencils before, and find the whole concept of water-soluble drawing materials exciting. It’s been a challenge for me to embrace them fully, however, because I’ve developed a mindset and way of working with traditional materials that I can rely on and deliver rather predictable results. What you’ll see in this article is the first step to better understanding these unique pencils and new possibilities with color.
What I did: I lightly made the outlines of the primary shapes, and then used “Ocean Blue #07,” to lightly layer the sky, distant hills, trees, and shadow shapes. With a #10 brush loaded with water, I washed the area and let it dry.
What I’d Do Differently: Notice the uneven areas in the sky? This is because my brush was too small and I was not able to deliver an even wash to the entire sky area in one pass. On the next try, I’d use a larger #14 watercolor brush, which would hold more water and allow me to work the entire area in one attempt.
What I did: I used “Green Grey #09” for the distant hills, “Ivy #11” to block the mid-tones for the trees, and “Chestnut #13” for the red shadow areas. The #10 Sable Brush worked well to create an initial wash and build light textural brushwork. After the initial wash dried, I applied a layer of dried pencil to create a dried textured effect on the rough tooth of the paper.
What I’d Do Differently: The color in the distant hills is not creating the effect I would have liked. Given a second try, I would create a stronger initial layer of “Sky Blue #07.” This would create more atmospheric distance. In the shadow areas of the building, I would use “Cool Brown #13.”
What I did: I used a wash of “Sage #12” on the ground and chapel to ad warmth. Detail, texture, and shadow was added using hatching with a dry “Shadow #05” pencil.
What I’d Do Differently: The reddish shadow areas are too strong, so I would start with a stronger layer of “Sage #12” and a lighter layer of “Chestnut #13” to indicate the shadows.
What Was Learned
Graphitint on watercolor paper is a compelling pairing. The resulting image has a compelling light quality and texture, but I need to better understand the colors and how to layer them effectively. I enjoy building layers of hatch marks and details on top of the colored washes and look forward to working further with these materials!