Distressed Watercolor Landscape

I came across these Tim Holtz distress watercoIor pencils and decided I needed to try them out on Yupo paper, so I painted a simple landscape.

Here are the watercolor pencils and a little added distress paint.

Has anyone used something like this? What should I use to set it as it smudges easily.


If you are going to do a lot of watercolor or anything that continues to be reactive to liquids, you should get a good fixative. Don’t use hairspray because it will yellow over time. You would want a permanent one if you are not going to make changes.

For little pieces, I have rubbed wax paper over that I have worked in my hand (the warmth softens the wax). I do that for watercolor cards and postcards.

I would highly suggest Faber-Castell tutorials on watercolor pencils or crayons to get the best use out of the pencils.


Yupo paper is actually made of plastic (which is why it’s perfect for alcohol inks) so the pigment in your watercolor pencils will never be able to absorb into it. You can try Linda’s recommendation of using a fixative to seal it but I’m not sure permanent that would make it. I’ve used the distress watercolor pencils on mixed media paper and watercolor paper with good results. I highly recommend Tim Holtz’s YouTube channel, he did a 2 hour product demo on all the ways you can use the distress watercolor pencils.


If you use them on watercolor/mixed media paper, is the main difference from other watercolor colors just their color?

I’d say the colors are the main difference, and he even says it in his video, they’re mainly just another water reactive pigment pencil in the distress color line.

It’s also the technique. When you use watercolor paints, in tubs or liquid, with a brush, you get a different result. You can play around with the amount of water, blending one color into another, etc.

I find that the pencils are a bit more controllable as far as laying out what you want to capture first and then adding water…the layering is the best part…

I like regular water colors the best because I do like the effects and the “surprises”…

Water color brushes and pens are sort of the in between to me…control of the color being in the brush and yet it is wet already…

You can also combine them…for instance, in your painting, the larger backgrounds I would do with regular watercolors…the tree and the rocks using the pencils and layering for depth…the water, a combo of the two…

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I like the tree and the sky. I think if you layered it more it could have a Van Gogh look to it.
What makes these different from regular watercolor crayons? What makes them distressed? Is that what you were asking about it just being the color?
I have never hear of this Yupo paper. Huh, maybe I need to give it a try since I love alcohol markers!

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