Orchids in Watercolour and water-soluble pencil
Tutor: Roger ReynoldsCourse Code: 3422-11


Capturing the textures and intricacies of structure in orchid flowers is a challenge. Generally, coloured pencils deal very well with textures, but fine detail is easier with watercolour. Water-soluble pencils can sometimes give you the best of both worlds. In this course you can be a water colourist, a pencilist or both! The course will allow you to explore this overlap.


It sounds ambitious to try to use two different media at the same time. There is no reason why anyone partaking has to participate in the whole range of techniques under discussion; in fact I’d be really surprised if they did. In short, participants may choose to do a watercolour painting, or to use pencils throughout, but techniques will be demonstrated using the water soluble nature of coloured pencils, and anyone can choose to use the techniques whatever their main medium. Appropriate materials will be available (see below) so that no one should be prevented from joining in on this interesting experiment. We will look at how water soluble pencils can be used more like watercolour, and thereby be effective even for the fine detail of the flower. We will see how pencil edges can be sharpened, and we will also explore how textures can be created using the water solubility of the pencils, that would be difficult to achieve through water colour, or through dry pencil work. We will also see how these may be incorporated into a painting, be it pencil or watercolour. The objective is to allow everyone to expand their repertoire of techniques and use new capabilities to produce quality images (and have some fun on the way).

Please bring with you

Watercolour paper, 300g/m2 (140lbs) smooth, hot pressed like Fabriano Classico 5 or Fabriano Artistico HP. A limited supply of paper will be available from the tutor.
Graphite pencils for drawing (suggest HB or B and H or 2H)
Pencil Erasers – putty rubber ones are particularly useful
Tracing paper, if you use it, but a lightbox will be available in class
Paper towelling kitchen roll is really useful for controlling brush loading


If you are working mainly in watercolours then also bring
A container for your paint water – a clean jam jar is fine
Your watercolour paints, which might be half-pans or tubes, it doesn’t matter, but they should be artist quality. Suggested colours from Winsor and Newton range might be Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine, Winsor Yellow, Aureolin, New Gamboge, Scarlet Lake, Winsor Red, Winsor Violet, Winsor Orange, Permanent Carmine, Light Red, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Permanent Sap Green, Neutral tint and Payne’s Grey.

Please do worry if you do not have any or all of these colours. In two days it is unlikely that we would use anything approaching the full list, and key colours will be available from the tutor.

Mixing palette, e.g. a white plate or saucer, essential you have one but don’t buy anything special!

If you are using coloured pencils, then bring
Your normal coloured pencils, but if you do have sets that are water soluble (aquarelle) make sure to include those
Also pencil sharpeners and the other kit that you use with pencils
Watercolour brushes, good quality sable, capable of forming fine points, preferably down to size 0.

Additional Information

There will be complete water soluble pencil sets for any that would like to borrow them for the duration of the course, please do not go out and buy any.

Live specimens of plants will be supplied on loan by the tutor, although going out and getting your own is likely to give you greater satisfaction. Orchids are long lasting and comparatively cheap now. However do give thought as to how you will transport them, they don’t travel well!

It is often useful to make a photographic record of your plant at the time you draw it, so please bring a phone, an iPad or a camera to make a record for your later use.


The following items can be purchased from your tutor

A supply of hot pressed paper will be available to purchase at cost price.


Suitable for all levels

Course Location

Missenden Abbey
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 0BD


Roger Reynolds

Roger Reynolds

Roger is a botanical illustrator who works in watercolour and coloured pencil. He is a long standing fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists where his work has been awarded a certificate of botanical merit, and has been used in their publications. He has exhibited at their annual exhibition in Westminster since 2004. In 2016 he was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Horticultural Society for his work illustrating plants. He is a member of the Institute for Analytical Plant Illustration which fosters the links between botanists and illustrators and he has an honours degree in botany. In 2018 he was a participant in the day of international botanical art exhibitions and as a member of the Association of British Botanical Art, represented the UK.


25th to 26th Aug 2022
Thursday to Friday


9.15amStudents arrive (coffee available)
9.30amTeaching session
12.45-1.45Lunch for all
1.45-5pmTeaching session
6.45 for 7pmDinner for residents
7-9.00amBreakfast for residents
9.30amTeaching session
12.45-1.45Lunch for all
1.45-5pmLast teaching session

"Roger is an excellent teacher and MSCA the usual high standard." (May 2019)

"Roger is a patient and generous tutor." (Summer School 2019)

"Excellent - best course yet."  (Summer School 2019)

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For Orchids in Watercolour and water-soluble pencil on 25th to 26th Aug 2022