drawing a coffee step by step

Mary asked me about my method with watercolour pencil.

The easiest way to explain it to show you. I have not attempted filming a work in progress yet  so I have taken photos along the way  and made lots of notes.

Drawing my coffee this morning at my local George Street Cafe in half an hour today . Jenny did an especially fancy design on top of the cappuccino that was a challenge to draw !  I also ordered a second coffee to drink , as I knew that this one would get cold by the time I finished.it. 


Photos taken every five minutes





I start the initial drawing with the watercolour pencils, drawing the outlines and contours. I usually don’t use a pencil (HB) to put in lines unless I am trying to figure out where/how big to draw an object so that is fits on the page. (it not cutting off the top of the Eiffel Tower) 

The cup will not change, but the coffee pattern will  flatten as the chocolate sprinkles sink into the milk  (and I may want to drink it!) so I start drawing the coffee first.

If there are solid areas of colour I  draw the areas of an object in the actual colour of object. Ie Ultramarine for the coffee cup and Raw Umber for the ellipses of the coffee. This means that when you add the water from a waterbrush or paintbrush the outside lines can be softened and almost disappear. Then there is no issue of having an ‘outside’ line or the pencil mark on the paper.

I put the lightest colours in first (Ivory)  and leave the shape of the white areas of the froth by outlining it in dark (Walnut  Brown) . I know my pencils well and the colours that they produce when water is added (sometimes they can change, becoming more intense, bringing out the yellow, or green in a colour.) 











I tend to move all over the page, adding colour here and there, building up colour and trying to be patient to allow the page to dry before adding more.












  • The more colours you add and the more you drag colour across the page, the muddier it can become.
  • sometimes I draw on the page, sometimes I take the colour of the tip of the pencil with the waterbrush and paint it onto the page
  • remembering to sharpen pencils along the way to get hard lines for edges and fine lines

I hope this explains my process and provides an insight into the way I construct a drawing.  Another person will do it completely differently. 

Enjoy !

how do you use your watercolour pencils?

3 thoughts on “drawing a coffee step by step

  1. Mary McCarty

    Thank you for showing me your method of using watercolor pencil. I really appreciate the photos of step by step. I will give it a try on my next sketch. Again, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Mary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *