I’ve been feeling a bit experimental with my work lately, so I thought I’d try something a little different: coloured pencils over acrylics! It’s not an original combination by any means, but it certainly is an enjoyable one!

Kathryn Whiteford

I’ve seen many tutorials and videos on using coloured pencils over watercolour, but since I don’t have any watercolours (or really get along with them), I used my Derivan Matisse Flow acrylics instead. I love these paints and they work well when watered down in a similar way to watercolours, without looking too watery as some other acrylic brands can.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the look of watercolours, I just don’t work very well with that medium. At all, lol! I’m a “paint over your mistakes” kind of girl, and that just isn’t possible with watercolours. So I stick with acrylics.

As always, I used Caran d’Ache Luminace and Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencils and I have to say, they worked incredibly well over the acrylics! I was especially impressed with the way the lighter coloured pencils showed up against the darker greens in the water! So I’ll definitely be using this technique again in the future.

One of the wonderful things in working this way is that it’s super fast compared to working exclusively in paints or pencils! The acrylics cover large areas of the paper quickly and I can get very fine details with the pencils. I was able to get quite a few layers of pencil down without issue, in fact, I didn’t find any limitations at all!

You may recognise this girl from an oil study I did earlier this year. When I first did this sketch, my intention was to paint it in oils. But last week, as I was going through my sketchbook for ideas on what to work on, I saw this sketch and just imagined a brighter colour scheme. I had been wanting to try pencils and acrylics together and decided they would work well with this!

That’s something I love about keeping sketchbooks – there will always be plenty of ideas, studies and things for me to use as reference in the future. Whether I continue with the original idea or not. On a side note, I’ll be doing a video in the next few weeks about how I use and fill my sketchbooks.

If you’re feeling a little stuck with your work, try a new medium. Or even mix a couple of mediums you already use together – experiment! They won’t all work, but I’m sure you’ll learn something or be inspired to try something else! Give yourself permission to make mistakes and have some fun!

The important thing is that you are creating. The more you create, the more ideas you will have, so you will create more and end up with even more ideas! It becomes a perpetual circle, but you have to start it first.

What are you waiting for?! Go and make some art! 😀


Hi, I’m Kat! An Australian artist who loves painting fantasy characters and illustrations.


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