Crafter’s Companion AquaBlend Watercolour Pencils Review by Lore Green

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Hi Crafters! For this blog post I thought I’d take you for a little tour around Crafter’s Companion’s AquaBlend watercolour pencils. I worked from the Vivid Hues collection of AquaBlend pencils and I used Sheena’s A Little Bit Sketchy Hare stamp set – I’m totally in love with that hare! I don’t know about you but when I get my hands on something new I like to get stuck in and experiment with it straight away and that’s exactly what I did with the watercolour pencils and stamp set. I trimmed down some white super smooth stamping card that would comfortably fit the image of the hare on and then stamped out the image of the hare onto the cards. I used these stamped images as a sort of test card to experiment with colour combinations and techniques. By using ‘tester’ cards, there is less worry about getting things right. If they turn out well, they can be used as toppers and if it turns into a disaster, all you’ve lost is a card. I used a permanent, waterproof ink pad to stamp out the hare and I chose to use a waterbrush for the colouring stages. The cards below were made after my first-time experimenting with the AquaBlend pencils.

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If you haven’t used watercolour pencils before a great way to start is to take one of the pencils and lightly ‘scribble’ in one direction across a piece of watercolour paper. Then, brush your waterbrush across the areas on the paper that you coloured in, keep going till you’ve added water to all of the colour and you get a blend that your happy with. Within seconds you’ve created a useful background. Although this is a very basic technique, it can be a good way to get to know how much pressure you need to put on your pencils when colouring, how many shades you can get from one pencil and how much water to use for the effect and shade you want to create. I used super smooth stamping card for the toppers but to create the blue ‘washed’ background, I used watercolour paper as it’s designed to cope with a lot of water, whereas the super smooth card can only take a small amount.

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To colour the stamped image of the hare below, I chose two colours that went well together, with one colour being significantly lighter than the other. Take the lightest shade of your choice of colours and colour in the areas of the stamp that show more of the white of the card. Take your darkest shade and colour in the darker areas of the stamped image. If you’re unsure about adding light and shade into your colouring, choosing a ‘sketchy’ style stamp like Sheena’s hare can help as the areas that would be in shade or coloured darker are already ‘sketched’ into the design of the stamp.  Once you’ve coloured in the stamp with both colours, take your waterbrush and in small circular motions move the brush across the whole stamped image. As you move across the stamp, you’ll begin to blend the two colours together. The more water you add, the paler the colour gets. If you feel like you’ve added too much water, use a paper towel to dab off the excess water on the page. You can also lift off some of the colour in the same way. Changing brush size and brushstroke direction along with changing the amount of water you use can all alter the final look of your colouring.

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Using three colours to colour in the stamp can work well too. You just need to pick three or more colours that work well together and range in shades from light to dark with your extra colour or colours fitting nicely within that shade range. You colour in a similar way as mentioned above but add this middle shade to the areas where the light and dark shades meet. The additional colour bridges the light and dark shades adding an extra blend to the colouring. As you can get a great range of shades from just one of the pencils, you could just add one colour to the shaded areas and then pull that colour down into the lighter areas with your waterbrush.

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Although you can’t flick or splatter with these pencils, unlike watercolour pens, you can still create some interesting effects. To create the card below, I scribbled several colours in patches on the card then washed them over with the waterbrush. For the faux droplets, I squeezed drops of clean water from my waterbrush onto the watercolour paper then I took my pencil straight to the droplet and allowed some colour to rest there. You can then manipulate the droplets further by tilting your paper so the droplets run downwards, taking the colour with it. If your putting your pencils into water, just make sure you let your pencils dry out before you put them back into the tin.

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As I mentioned before I am no artist, all I demonstrated here was just some simple techniques as I wanted to show how easy these pencils were to use and that you could get great results from the very first time you used them. Although I focused on basic techniques, the pencils themselves are far from basic as AquaBlend pencils are true artist quality pencils. These pencils are great fun, cost-effective and less messy than other forms of watercolours and I love the vibrancy of the colours. If you think colouring in is relaxing, watercolouring is even better. Thanks for stopping by and happy crafting!
Lore x

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