Art Demos

Combining Watercolor and Colored Pencil

Combining Watercolor and Colored Pencil

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KATHY KRANTZ FIERAMOSCA demonstrates how artists can bring together gouache, watercolor and colored pencil to create an elegant look.

There’s nothing more feminine than beautifully draped fabric and ribbon with its calligraphic movement across the page. In this fabric study, I was drawn to the delicacy of the conical folds and the gentle twists and curls of the ribbon and combined my materials, using gouache, watercolor and colored pencil. For my colors I used a modified version of the traditional triad of red, yellow and blue. The red is a red purple, the yellow is a gold, and the blue is the very muted blue-gray of the cast shadow. I used Payne’s gray, a low-chroma blue, in the stone of the earrings.

I began this study with a trip to a large fabric store in the heart of the Garment District in Manhattan. I wanted a fabric with an easy drape, something soft and utterly feminine. I did have a color concept in mind as I selected the elements of my study. Once I returned to my studio, I arranged the objects and pinned them to a piece of foam core. Then I lit the still life with a lamp at a 45-degree angle—just enough to form beautiful cast shadows, which add to the composition.

My goal was to create a study of form, color and composition, using elegant fabric and the graceful line of ribbon. I worked on Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress paper, using both watercolor and colored pencil.



· 140-lb Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress


Winsor Newton

· permanent magenta

· yellow ochre

· brown ochre

· blue black

· Payne’s gray


Winsor Newton

· brilliant yellow

· yellow ochre

· white


· Winsor Newton series 7, various sizes


Caran d’Ache Pablo

· aubergine
· purple
· purple violet
· purplish red
· raspberry red
· brown ochre
· gold
· golden ochre
· hazel

Blick Studio
· slate gray
· steel gray


· 3H graphite pencil
· stump
· kneaded eraser

Step 1

After drawing an initial sketch on tracing paper and transferring it to my watercolor paper, I refined my drawing using a 3H graphite pencil, maintaining a clean, light line. Then I laid down a simple, flat wash of watercolor over the drapery, ribbon and jewelry.

Step 2

I began applying layers of colored pencil—first in the shadow areas, then in the halftones and dark lights. I used a light touch to scumble the colored pencils over the watercolor wash in order to prevent filling in the tooth of the paper too soon. This allowed for subsequent layers of color to be laid down. I used a kneaded eraser to lift color in order to expose the pale watercolor wash for the highlights on the fabric.

Step 3

I continued adding layers of color to the red-violet drapery, refining the plane changes of the folds of the fabric. To soften the texture and blend the edges of the value changes, I used a stump in the smaller areas and a soft cloth over the larger passages. I then began working on the ribbon as well, adding golds, ochres, yellow and umber.


In this final step I worked on the jewelry, using both watercolor and gouache to accentuate the facets of the black stones in the earrings. Next, I added a soft, dark gray tone in colored pencil to the cast-shadow areas, letting them fade to the pale watercolor wash. In the final touches, I used gouache in yellow ochre, cadmium yellow and white to add some highlights to the edges of the ribbon.

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KATHY KRANTZ FIERAMOSCA’s paintings hang in numerous private and public collections, and she has exhibited at venues including Gallery 71, Francesca Anderson Fine Art, the National Academy of Design, the National Arts Club, the Salmagundi Art Club and the Society of Illustrators. She has won awards from organizations including the American Artists Professional League, the New Jersey Watercolor Society and the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club. For more information, visit Kathy’s website.

Watch the video: Painting Modern ART NOUVEAU! Watercolor u0026 Color Pencils Tutorial (August 2022).