I started exploring again different types of watersoluble graphite, to play with watercolor.

Here’s a video I made with watersoluble graphite paste by Viarco.

Have you already tried drawing and painting with watersoluble graphite?

I put the graphite paste in a small container, because it comes in an unhandy bag. And then you can wet it, and draw and paint with it like you do with watercolor.

After a while the graphite paste will become hard, like watercolor in a palette, and then you just have to add again water to it to make it soft. I put a bit of it on my brush and mix it with water in the (pink) lid of the container, to control the intensity better. If you use it straight from the paste to the page it will be very dark, almost black gray.

Here are some thoughts about the experience:

  • When you mix it with watercolor on the paper, it will give a lovely granulation and mute the colors. So I try to find a good composition and good mixture.
  • I quite like it, except sometimes I put too much graphite in a watercolor part and then I found to colors were kind of “killed” by the graphite…. So it’s tricky to find the right proportion.
  • The watersoluble graphite paste has no (or very little) binder, so it stays very soluble. If you use it without watercolor you might want to spray a fixative product on your painting to fix the graphite to the paper (like with pastel crayons). if you mix it with watercolor on the paper, the binder of the watercolor (the gum arabic) will fix the graphite to the paper
  • the graphite is very dark and “greasy”: clean your brush well before you move it into your watercolor pans! (or you might want to use a separate brush)

I did tests comparing this graphite with the hard graphite  sold in a tin container or a stick, and it gives the same colors. I find the stick is harder to use, harder to dissolve. you have to add more water.

Below you can see the process in a You Tube video I made. Tell me what you think about it?

I discovered it in Porto during the urbansketchers symposium as we visited the Viarco factory. I learned it from Ch’ng Kiah Kiean. He makes wonderful graphite paintings. I find them very delicate. have a look here : https://kiahkiean.com/ 

Experimenting with art supplies you’re not used to is always a good way to force yourself to try something different, to try paths you didn’t go before, to stretch your sketching bounderies, to explore and develop “Your Style”….

Did you already experiment with this graphite paste?

Or did you try art supplies you’re not used to?

I’m also experimenting with ink and dip pen…. but not satisfied enough by my sketches to show them to you 😉

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