The Magic Pencil


Doing the happy dance today.  I mentioned the Magic Pencil the other day, something I saw in the Interweave Art Journaling Live class, that seemed to be the key to the face drawing tutorial so I found them here in the UK and ordered a couple of boxes  – one black but they also had a white one so I got some of them as well. I found them at Cult Pens but they weren’t in loads of places.  On the back it says “for paper, glass, plastic, metal and aquarellable, which must be water-soluble.  And indeed they are.  They really are fab.  I expect they must be a little like watercolour pencils, but as they are (from a comment in the class) graphite based.  I think that matters when working with acrylic paint.  I’m not sure how the watercolour pencil would react as you layer watered down paint over it.




The thing is, after drawing with the pencil you activate the graphite with a small brush and water.  And look at the result.  I love it.


It’s a very painterly effect. And the black moves – so if you can pick up some of the colour and brush it on elsewhere. And it really moves with the water. You can blend it out, but also leave the more defined line under the blending.  Look at the bottom of the neck line.

Now , I was using what I had, which was craft paint, so the sheer quality isn’t as great as proper quality acrylics might be.  And perhaps the blue was not the perfect colour choice, although I don’t mind it.  I had a blob on my palette from the AJ page yesterday so it made sense to use it up.  It might be just a bit scary – unless you are a huge Blue Man Group fan LOL! I really like the drawing lines – I love the fonts that include the marks around the letters, and I love the Tim Holtz stamps with the sketch lines so this will not be a surprise to you. THOSE are done with a fine line pen, not the pencil, so they don’t activate with the water or wet paint.



But you can see how the paint can go up to the All pencil marks, over them even, and you can see the lines thru the paint layer, but the paint doesn’t cause the marks to blend out.  Magic indeed.

From then on it’s just following her steps.  a bit better than my first attempt, proportion wise, but still needs a little looser hand, I think, and more attention to how heavy I lay down the All lines – the eye-crease needs quite a light touch as there are lots of lines and blending can be tricky if you want one dark, one more blended  out, and the eyebrow thick and well-defined.





There you see the All lines blended with the water, and you can see how they work with the paint, or maybe how they DON’T – they blend on top, but they don’t mix with the paint.  I think that might be the difference between them and watercolour pencils.

This time I took the further steps of mixing up the tint and shade and adding the highlights and shadows.



Can you tell?  OK so clearly I need to practice a bit more, but for the second attempt, it’s not horrible.  It’s something that needs practice and variation, lest every face look exactly the same LOL!  Looking back at the first one, they could be sisters, but not twins.



Perhaps a slightly more oval and thinner face template will make a difference.  Ad just to remind you what the teacher’s version looked like.  Fuller lips, for sure, and the nose seems wider.


I figured as this wasn’t ever intended in it’s finished form to be used in any specific way, I might as well carry on and do the writing to fill the block.


I just filled the block with the words I can draw a face. Note I didn’t say I am GOOD at drawing faces, just that I can do it.

I don’t know how much time I will spend perfecting this, but I do feel a small sense of accomplishment in doing one that doesn’t totally suck.  More than anything it reminds me that sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right teacher before stating absolutely you CAN’T do something.  OK, well even with the best teacher in the world I doubt I will ever play the piano, but still…..




6 thoughts on “The Magic Pencil

  1. Brilliant, I need to have a go at this…proof you can indeed draw faces.

  2. Well done! I love my magic pencils, especially the black. Keep drawing the faces they get better with time. Be sure and date them so you can watch your progress.

  3. You CAN very definitely – well done for sticking with it, and up, the pencil makes a difference..magic! Ilike the page it’s turned into to – something to mark your achievement!
    I e’d you about Crop tomorrow… I in your junk box?!

  4. I *love* my Stabilo All pencils, I have all the colours but the black ones are the ones I use most, on pretty much everything, they are great for ‘grunging up’ a painting, like on this fish: or this bathtub:

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