This is the pencils I have laid down for my next watercolor piece. You can see here that I’ve actually stretched the paper this time (we’ll see how well it works once I start painting on it, though).
I’ve found that the best medium for this stage is the .5mm mechanical pencil I’ve loaded with 4H lead. That is about three steps harder of a graphite than your standard pencil. It works better because 1) much, much less smearing, which is something I’ve always struggled with (right-handed person who always manages to start on the right-hand side of a composition). And 2), the graphite isn’t nearly as dark or heavy, which is the effect I want when I’m going to paint on top of it. It’s very good for lightly sketching; you just have to be careful not to press too hard because the pencil is much more prone to indenting the paper, which will definitely be noticeable.
The next step here is to do some color tests on another sheet of paper. I may try out the water brush I picked up and see if it’s better at the detail work.