Liquid pencil drawings

Below are some of the drawings I have been concentrating on over the last few years. The initial drawing is done with a solution of Liquid Pencil, a graphite paste that can be watered down, then that image is drawn into with coloured pencils to take the drawing to a new place.

I start with a loose idea, it may be a memory or an image based on one of my travel sketches, or a random photo. I do not have an end image in mind, I allow the randomness of the initial marks guide the development of the drawing. I am open to unexpected changes of direction and idea. The final image will be very different from the initial inspiration.

All of these drawings are on Yupo, a Japanese synthetic paper, which has a smooth, non-absorbent surface, so the wet Liquid Pencil does not sink in as it would on traditional paper, but settles on the surface, creating granulation as it dries. Once it is dry it is permanent and will not flake off.

‘Triffid’ 94 x 64 cm 2021
‘Bloom’ 64 x 47 cm 2022
‘Another World’ 64 x 64cm 2022
‘Hanging Garden’ 94 x 64 cm 2022
‘The Shape of Things to Come’ diptych 94 x 64 cm 2022
‘Eternal’ 42 x 64 cm 2022
‘Growing Wild’ 94 x 64 cm 2022
‘Oracle’ 64 x 46 cm 2021
‘Alien Botany’ 64 x 46 cm 2021

12 thoughts

  1. What a very beautiful page. Though I have never seen these in real life, looking at them on a desktop screen is very satisfying because the white of the screen is so very white – giving me an appreciation of how sensuously white the yupo surface must be.


    1. I think they are best seen on a computer screen, rather than a phone, being quite large. Photographing the drawings well, to get the sense of the whiteness of the paper is a bit tricky, so I’m glad that is coming across. Thank you Julie!


  2. These are gorgeous Anna! So full of energy ….. so spontaneous looking! I’ve never tried Liquid graphite (is it always graphite gray or are there tints), and wondered if you use colored pencil over the graphite application before it’s dry or afterwards? Thanks so much for sharing, and for any more advice you could offer …… like ….. have you used papers other than Yupo?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Barb! The graphite paste does have some colour added, there is a choice of red, blue, yellow, sepia and two tones of grey. Having said that, the colour is very subtle. I choose which one I use depending on the subject matter, for example I used yellow for ‘Hanging Garden’ and blue for ‘Another World’. Also, it comes as permanent or rewettable, I always use the permanent as I don’t want to make any changes to the base. I always wait till it is fully dry, working into it wet could be interesting but wouldn’t give the result I want. These are all on yupo, but I do use watercolour paper sometimes too, also drafting film. At the moment I’m working on a series on drafting film, using scraped on acrylic paint on the back then coloured pencils on the front. So, lots of options!


      1. Thank you so much Anna for the invaluable tips regarding liquid graphite! I’m glad to know there are subtle tints available. I enjoy using my watersoluable tinted graphite pencils, and wondered about the liquid graphite. Is there a certain brand you use? Also glad to hear you use watercolor paper too, in addition to the yupo. Is the watercolor paper heavy weight and smooth (hot pressed). I’ll be very interested to see your series on drafting film …. A brilliant idea painting acrylic on the back; colored pencil on the flip side. Another few questions….. what colored pencils work well with the liquid graphite, and are they hard to apply and blend? I must try this! Your technique has inspired me! Thanks so much again!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Liquid Pencil is the brand name, and its made by Derivan here in Australia, I don’t know if it is under another name in other parts of the world. It comes in tubes or little tubs. I use the tubes as I find the tubs dry out very quickly.

          Yes, the watercolour paper is heavy (300gsm) and smooth hot pressed, such as Arches. The pencils I use are mainly Caran d’Ache Luminance, absolutely the best as far as I’m concerned. I do like Prismacolors too, they have wonderfully rich colours, but there is an issue with lightfastness with them, also leads breaking right through the pencil. I have just bought a tin of Derwent Lightfast and am enjoying them so far too. Strangely, some pencils adhere better than others to the paper (some colours I mean, even within the same brand). I don’t use a blender, the blending is done just with the pencils themselves. I hope this helps!


          1. Thank you so much, Anna! Such a wealth of information. I’ll see what I can find in the US and go from there. Your choice in colored pencils is excellent. My favorite (so far) is Faber-Castell Polychromos. I also have Prismacolors and totally understand the issues with lightfastness and breakage. But I agree, the colors are really nice. Oh, I also “blend” with the pencils themselves, and prefer not to use an actual blender, most of the time! I love your work, and really appreciate your time you’ve taken Answering my questions.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah well, it’s a bit of trickery really. I take the drawing outside into the brightest sun I can find, lay it flat on the ground and position myself to avoid shadows, then just take photos with my phone (iPhone 12 Pro Plus). Then I work on the images in Photoshop – as long as the colour in the image is reasonably accurate I can cut out the background if it is grey. It can take a while with a complex image – you can see the ones above that I haven’t done it with.


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