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Watercolor Pencil Workshop -- Online!

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Watercolor pencils have come into their own. From the earliest hard, scratchy pencils with bizarre colors, they've developed into a true fine art tool. New brands and types offer soft, rich, buttery application, as well as colors both subtle and intense. You can choose watercolor crayons or blocks, as well, to cover larger areas more easily and for bold effects.

Use them for quick sketches, when you want just a touch of color or to supplement another medium, or to make a complete painting -- they're up to the challenge.

They're convenient as well, easy to tuck into purse or pocket -- as few or as many as you can carry. You can take water with you to work plein air, use the new water-brushes with a supply of water right in the handle, or add it later to blend the colors.

They're light, quick, and versatile.

Watercolor pencils offer all that, plus vibrant color and the versatility of watercolor. They're bold and splashy or controlled and subtle. They're great for sketching outdoors or from life, as well as for doing completed paintings in the studio - all you need is to learn HOW. Despite what we often imagine, you don't do a completed drawing in watercolor pencils, then wash over it all with water and presto, a painting! You work in layers, just as you do in watercolor, wetting each as you go along. It takes a bit of practice to get the effects you want, but once you learn the tricks, oh my - they're wonderful.

In writing the North Light book Watercolor Pencil Magic, I learned to regard these tools as much more than a sketching medium. I became so enchanted with the possibilities that I use them now indoors and out, for finished paintings and illustrating assignments as well as sketches. Once I learned to anticipate their quirks and their limitations and to exploit their strong points, I found myself thinking of twenty new uses to which I wanted to put them - and now I share those possibilities with you.

In ways, watercolor pencils are even MORE versatile than watercolors - after all, you can use them dry and leave them that way, like a colored pencil drawing if you so choose ... you can't do that with the more traditional medium. If you want, you can work back into an almost-finished piece, either while it's damp for a more unexpected but wonderfully vibrant impact, or when it is totally dry. You can leave these new additions untouched for exciting linear effects - a little seasoning for the mix - or wet them to blend more subtly. You can also use them in combination with traditional watercolor, laying down initial washes with the watercolor, allowing it to dry and then working onto this ground with water-soluble pencils. Or you can used them to sketch in your subject, then lay in normal watercolor washes. Try them with graphite or pen and ink, for even more variety.

We will be using my North Light book, Watercolor Pencil Magic if you have it (it's now out of print), or a new CD, also called Watercolor Pencil Magic, as a text, going through it together week by week. Students have discovered this guided reading coupled with homework and feedback helps them get the most out of their books and CDs - we think you'll agree!

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As always, you will get out of the classes what you are willing to put into them! Like any other skill, learning the ins and outs of using watercolor pencil takes a bit of practice. The more you put in, the more pleased you will be with your results -- and progress. Please, though, remember to think of the exercises and homework in this class as exploration, as an adventure, not just "playing the scales." Making art can be a joyful and satisfying thing, even when it's a challenge ...

Note: We usually follow a somewhat flexible schedule to allow for holidays, as well as my outside deadlines or travel. This extra time allows the students more time for homework and discussion!

$100 covers the entire course -- everything but supplies. (Click here for supply list.)

Class size will be limited. When there is a date set for the new semester, you'll find a PayPal button here for easy payment - or mail your check for $100 to Cathy Johnson, PO Box 321, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024.

Interactive Classes:

Click here for watercolor class.
Click here for watercolor pencil class.
Click here for watercolor pencil mini-class.
Click here for drawing and sketching class.
Click here for creating textures in watercolor class.
Click here for keeping an artist's journal.

These classes are covered by copyright; lessons are password-protected, so please keep your password handy!


Lesson One -
Introduction and Gathering Supplies

• Choosing the Right Pencils - for you!
• Choosing the Right Paper for
Watercolor Pencils
• Choosing the Right Brushes
• Other Supplies

• Making Your Mark -- Getting Famliar
with the Medium
• Application and Basic Techniques
• Sketches vs. Finished Works
• Exercises and Homework

Lesson Two

• Landscape and Design
• Composition Basics
• How to Use Value
• Using Color
• Elements of Landscapes
• Trees and Foliage
• Rocks and Boulders
• Grasses and Weeds
• "Intimate Landscapes"
• Exercises and Homework

Lesson Three

• Water, Light, Skies and Weather
• Painting Water
• Painting Light, Skies, Weather
• Sunrise, Sunset; Clouds
• Special Effects
• Firelight, Weather
• Exercises and Homework

Lesson Four

• Plants and Flowers
• Rules of Perspective for Plants
• Flowers in the Distance
• Painting Flowers in Detail
• Field studies
• Still Life with Flowers
• Exercises and Homework

Lesson Five

• Birds and Animals - including People!
• Birds and Animals
• Fur, Hair, and Feathers
• Birds in the Distance
• Bird Portrait
• Animals in the Distance
• Animal Portrait
• Insects
• Adding People to Your Paintings
• Crowd Scenes
• Full Figure, Portrait
• Exercises and Homework

Lesson Six

Mixed Media
• Watercolor Pencils and Watercolor
• Watercolor Pencils and
Graphite Pencil
• Watercolor Pencils and Pen and Ink
• Watercolor Pencils and
Fiber-tipped Pen
• Exercises and Homework