Review: Derwent Aquatones used with their waterbrush, a sketch of Cornish rocks and sea
A quick sketch of the rocks and sea in Cornwall (from previous plein air work) to experiment with the Derwent Aquatones. In A4 sketchbook.
An early Christmas gift :>) - I wanted to experiment with the Aquatones and see what was possible as I hadn't used these before. They are a pencil made of solid pigment with a coating of paint to keep hands clean They feel harder in use than the watercolour pencils and don't provide such a strong colour whilst dry but colour still washes richly out when they are wet. I found that the same scribble and pressure gave richer colour on the 110lb paper - the 75lb needing more pencil application or layers built up to achieve rich colour (the sketchbook reviewed in the previous post).
Colours mix well on the paper - something I need them to do. Drawing back into wet washes made nice marks. It is easy to wash out marks entirely (on heavier paper) or deliberately leave marks showing with only a light sweep of a wet paintbrush. I like the capability to leave lines showing, taking only a light sweep across with water sometimes. Lines and marks are important in the way I work.
It is also possible to lift pigment directly from the pencil with a brush, which results in rich sweeps of colour, which can be glazed over previous layers. Drawing across damp paper gives a rich line, that gels with the underlying colours in a satisfying way, the edges softening slightly, depending on the wetness of the paper.
I will happily sketch with these plein air. :>0
The sketch above was done with a waterbrush - again something I haven't used before as I'd imagined that changing colours during painting, would result in muddiness -,with contamination from previous colour. It amazingly, wipes clean in a second on a tissue or rag, ready for the next colour. Even yellow wasn't contaminated at all.
I can see me taking this out regularly in a small sketching kit, where I don't want to carry too much.
I wouldn't use it in larger work as I like to use larger brushes. It's a very useful tool for smaller sketchs - for A4 and below it would be part of a great minimalist sketch kit with water soluble graphite pencils or ink, the waterbrush and a sketchbook - lots of expressive tonal marks would be possible. To see a sketch done with liquid graphite and a waterbrush that I was lucky enough to receive in the Postcard Exchange, click here.
I'd love Derwent to make a size 12 or larger waterbrush. I know the reservoir would need to be bigger but it would open up so much more opportunity to use it. Maybe a half inch flat too? Please Derwent?
Have you used either of these?