I often get asked questions about watercolors, like can you erase pencil after watercolor. It seems to be a common question among novice watercolorists and for good reason. Some believe that pencil lines can easily smudge or bleed when water is added but that is not the case in most instances.
I would say the majority of watercolorists will leave pencil marks and paint over them. The issue arises when an artist looks at their watercolor and realize that they may not like seeing the pencil marks. For those artists it might be difficult to erase them without damaging the painting but you can erase pencil marks after applying watercolor.
The reason is that some watercolor paints will end up sealing the graphite pencil on the paper, making it harder to remove completely.
While erasing pencil after watercolor can be tricky, it’s not impossible. With the right techniques and a little bit of patience, you can gently remove pencil lines without damaging your painting.
In this article, I’ll explore various methods for erasing pencil after watercolor, as well as tips for removing pencil marks in the first place.
Can You Rub Out Pencil Under Watercolor?
When it comes to watercolor painting, many artists wonder if they can erase pencil marks after applying watercolor. The short answer is yes, but the results may not always be what you expect. In my experience, it is very important to experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you.
Use a kneaded eraser
One technique that works well for me is to use a kneaded eraser. This type of eraser can be molded into different shapes and sizes, making it easy to erase small or large areas without damaging the paper. It also picks up the pigment from the watercolor, which can be useful for creating highlights or texture in your painting.
Use lighter and harder pencils for your under drawing
While this doesn’t answer can you erase pencil after watercolor, it will make it easier if you are in the habit of wanting to erase pencil after you apply paint.
When using pencils make sure to use a light hand when applying the pencil marks. If you use a harder lead pencil, such as a 2H or 4H, the marks will be lighter and easier to erase.
You can also try using a lighter touch when applying the pencil marks, or using a softer pencil lead, such as a 2B or 4B. I prefer to stay away from soft pencils as the loose graphite tends to mix in with the water or paint and starts to darken the colors of the paint.
It is important to note that erasing pencil marks after applying watercolor can sometimes leave a ghost image or smudge on the paper. To avoid this, you can try using a fixative spray before erasing the pencil marks. This will help to set the watercolor and prevent it from smudging or lifting off the paper.
Will Pencil Marks Show Through Paint?
Another question I am often asked is will pencil marks show through paint. The answer is not a simple yes or no. It depends on various factors, such as the type of paint, the thickness of the paint, and the pressure used when applying the pencil marks.
In my experience, if you use a light hand when sketching with a pencil, the marks may be faint enough to be covered by the paint. However, if you press too hard, the marks may be too dark and visible even after painting over them.
If you are using watercolor paints, the pencil marks may blend with the paint and become less noticeable. If you are using opaque paints like acrylics or oils, the pencil marks may be more visible, especially if they are dark and you are painting with a light color.
It is very important to keep in mind that erasing pencil marks after painting over them may not be possible or may damage the painting. It is always best to use a light hand when sketching and to avoid pressing too hard with the pencil.
Whether or not pencil marks will show through paint depends on various factors. Consider the type of paint and the pressure used when sketching. Using a light hand and being mindful of the type of paint being used can help prevent pencil marks from showing through the paint.
Can I Use Watercolor Over Graphite Pencil?
For sure you can use watercolor over graphite pencil. But there are a few things to keep in mind before doing this. First, make sure that the paper you are using is suitable for watercolor. If the paper is not designed to handle water, it may buckle or warp once it gets wet, ruining your artwork.
It’s also important to note that graphite pencil can become water soluble when it comes into contact with water. This means that if you apply watercolor over graphite pencil, the pencil marks may smudge or bleed, resulting in an unwanted effect.
To prevent this from happening, you can try erasing the graphite pencil marks before applying watercolor. However, be careful not to over-erase, as this can cause unwanted lines and corrections.
Alternatively, you can use an erasable color pencil instead of a regular graphite pencil. These pencils are specifically designed to be used with watercolor and are less likely to smudge or bleed.
Overall, it is very important to experiment with different techniques and materials to see what works best for you. With practice and patience, you can create beautiful watercolor artwork over graphite pencil sketches.
Can I Use Watercolor Over Charcoal Pencil?
Yes, you can use watercolor over charcoal pencil. Charcoal is a versatile medium that can be used in combination with watercolor to create beautiful and unique effects. There are a few things to keep in mind when using watercolor over charcoal pencil.
Make sure that the charcoal is completely dry before applying watercolor. If the charcoal is still wet, it can smudge and mix with the watercolor, creating a muddy effect. To ensure that the charcoal is dry, you can use a fixative spray or simply wait a few hours before applying watercolor.
Another thing to keep in mind is that watercolor can sometimes cause the charcoal to bleed or smudge. To prevent this, you can use a fixative spray before applying watercolor. This will help to seal the charcoal and prevent it from mixing with the watercolor.
When using watercolor over charcoal, it is also important to use a light touch with the watercolor. Charcoal is a delicate medium that can easily be smudged or erased, so it is important to be gentle when applying watercolor.
You can use a small brush and light, quick strokes to apply the watercolor, being careful not to apply too much pressure.
Using watercolor over charcoal pencil can create beautiful and unique effects in your artwork. Make sure that the charcoal is completely dry, use a fixative spray to prevent bleeding or smudging, and use a light touch with the watercolor to avoid smudging or erasing the charcoal.
Erase Any Unused Marks Before Painting
The best thing you can do to avoid this issue is to remove unwanted pencil marks before starting your watercolor painting. This will ensure that the final product looks polished and professional. Here are a few tips:
- Use a soft kneaded eraser to erase any unwanted marks from your watercolor paper before painting. Be gentle to avoid damaging the paper.
- This type of eraser is soft and pliable, making it easy to remove just the right amount of pencil.
- If you are using a sketchbook, be sure to test the eraser on a separate piece of paper first to make sure it doesn’t damage the paper or leave any residue.
In my experience, erasing any unused pencil marks before painting can make a big difference in the final result. It is very important to take the time to do this step carefully to avoid any unwanted marks or smudges on your finished painting.
When it comes to removing pencil marks after watercolor painting, there are several misconceptions that can cause confusion. Here are some of the most common:
- Misconception #1: You can’t erase pencil marks after watercolor.
- Misconception #2: Erasing pencil marks will ruin the watercolor painting.
- Misconception #3: You can only erase pencil marks before painting with watercolors.
In my experience, these misconceptions are not entirely accurate. While it is true that erasing pencil marks after watercolor can be more challenging than erasing them before painting, it is still possible to remove them without damaging the painting.
It is very important to wait until the watercolor paint is completely dry before attempting to erase pencil marks. If you try to erase pencil marks while the paint is still wet, you risk smudging the paint and ruining the painting.
Another misconception is that using an eraser will always work to remove pencil marks. While an eraser can be effective, it is not always the best option. In some cases, using a damp cloth or fine-grit sandpaper may be more effective.
Can You Erase Pencil After Watercolor – Wrap up!
Overall, it is important to remember that removing pencil marks after watercolor painting requires patience and care. It may take some trial and error to find the best method for your specific painting, but with practice, you can achieve the desired result without damaging your artwork.
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Joseph Colella is a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While he holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent style he spent years trying to get into various Art degrees from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), and failed to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. In his spare time, he writes for the this blog, WastedTalentInc, where he shares practical advice on art, making art, and art materials. Joseph’s art has been sold to collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art and copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
He also loves all things watches (ok it’s an addiction) so show him some love and visit his other website https://expertdivewatch.com