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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > April 18 > Mark-making in watercolour

Mark-making in watercolour

The addition of a few harmonious pencil or pen marks can both enliven and make a significant contribution to your painting, as Judi Whitton explains
Curiosity at the Zoo, pencil and watercolour on Bockingford 140lb (300gsm), 63⁄4╳41⁄4in (17╳11cm)

There is nothing more delightful than a beautiful watercolour dripping with translucent washes combined with some exciting pencil or pen additions that create energy in the finished work. It is not for everyone but, even for those artists who prefer not to touch the paper with anything other than the brush, a few small lines in paint made with the tip of the brush can make a significant contribution to the final piece.

Drawing to support painted areas

To draw I always use a PaperMate Non- Stop disposable propelling pencil which can be easily obtained in many retail outlets. These are often sold in packs of six and described as ‘Mechanical Pencils’. The HB lead will make a surprisingly dark mark when pressed down. The advantage is that there is no need to take a pencil sharpener or eraser out on site as a small rubber is incorporated in the end of the pencil. The disadvantage is that pencil can smudge if a painting is carelessly handled. Be cautious of drawing in spiral-bound sketchbooks as the graphite will rub off when the pages slide over each other. An advantage of using a pencil rather than a pen is that you can vary the strength of the line by the pressure applied.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our April issue, packed with inspirational how-to articles by our esteemed artist contributors and tutors. Improve your watercolour painting and colour-mixing skills with Hazel Soan, Paul Talbot-Greaves, David Howell, Judi Whitton, Julie Collins and Paul Weaver, plus learn how to make and use your own reed pen for expressive drawings with consultant editor Jason Bowyer. Enjoy Adebanji Alade's advice on how to sketch your children or grandchildren, and enter our fantastic new monthly sketching competition with great prizes every month and the chance to see your work publicised! If you haven't tried acrylics before, get started with help from Jo Quigley, and then capture the effects of sparkling light in seascapes by following Jenny Aitken's demonstration. We also include insights into how cover artist Paul Regan paints his atmospheric night scenes of urban streets, how to drive sales of your paintings in the digital domain, why you should consider using big brushes for small paintings and how drawing from the cast can be so important for your portrait painting skills. And don't forget to enter our 2018 Open Art Competition with over £17,500 worth of prizes to be won, and the chance to see your work exhibited! See pages 12-13 for full details