watercolor pencils as the name suggests are pencils with a watercocolor ‘lead’ which can be dissolved in water in exactly the same way as conventional watercolor paints. The added advantage with watercolor pencils is that you can draw and paint when water is added making them a much more versatile and useful way to add color to an illustration. You can either draw direct to the paper with the dry tip of the Pencil and then add water or add water to the tip for a deeper color.
Watercolor pencils are really simple to use and don’t cost a huge amount of money when you consider the price of each individual pencil. They are easily stored and have the edge over conventional watercolor paints in tubes or blocks as they don’t create a mess to clear up later.
Unlike graphite pencils they are not graded in scales of softness to hardness (9B soft to 9H hard). However there are considerable variations between brands in softness, wood quality and vibrancy of color. These factors need to be considered so that you have the best pencils at your disposal. The general rule of thumb is that the softer the ‘lead’ the easier it is to apply color to the work surface. Poor wood quality produces splintering when sharpening the pencils and vibrancy and quality of color is key to a fine finish on your artwork.
I have tried many different brands and it still amazes me how much variation there is. I am recommending the following brands as I have found them to be what I consider the best available watercolor pencil sets on the market. They are also very highly rated by other customers on Amazon which demonstrates that they are quality products that are well worth having in your artists toolkit: