Monday, August 21, 2017

Penciling Your Pages: Watercolor Basics

When creating a watercolor comic, you have a couple options to consider before you start painting.  Do you want to pencil your comic, or do you want to ink it?  In this post, I'm going to teach you how I pencil my 7" Kara pages.

Penciling has its own pros and cons

Before stretching, pencils are erasable- so you can make a lot of corrections while you pencil
You can begin watercoloring as soon as you finish penciling- no dry time
Mechanical pencils and leads are inexpensive and easy to find
Corrections are easy

Penciled linework is very light, so you need to render your images more
In order to get rid of your bluelines, you'll need to stretch or wash your pages before you begin painting

These two Kara pages were penciled before watercolor was applied.

Before you proceed in this post, I recommend you check out Turning Your Sketches and Lineart into Printable Bluelines: Watercolor Basics:  and Printing Your Bluelines: Watercolor Basics:

The pages in this tutorial are from Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 of my ongoing watercolor comic, 7" Kara.  These chapters will be available in Volume 2.  You can check out 7" Kara as a free to read webcomic at, or you can pick up the first volume, which is chock full of additional illustrations, a bonus comic, and concept art, in the Nattoshop.

7" Kara is a proud member of Ink Drop Cafe, a comic collective!  Come sample our wonderful selection of comics and comic resources at

Printing the Pages: 

Penciling Pages

Materials Used:
Mechanical Pencil (.7)
2H or H lead (hard leads are less prone to smearing when stretching)
24" Ruler
Inexpensive, serviceable watercolor paper (I use Canson Montval, which is cellulose based and fairly easy to control)
Soft erasers- Tombow Mono or Creative Mark  White Stroke both work well


Begin by penciling in the borders of your pages using a ruler and a hard surface

Once borders are penciled, I recommend working your way from top of page to bottom, using a clean sheet of scratch paper beneath your hand to prevent smearing or hand oils from accumulating on the paper's surface

I pencil the entire chapter before I begin painting, but feel free to use the process that works best for you.

Examples of Finished Pencils

More on penciling your pages:

Watercolor Basics: Step by Step: Penciling