Why don’t you try Drawing with a brush and paint with one colour or a limited palette instead of using a pencil. You will achieve a quality of line that will vary in thickness. This will make your brush strokes look far more interesting. You will also become more confident about handling a brush which should help you with your studio paintings.
I recommend a small travelling brush for sketchbook work, or a size 20 Stratford & York for studio paintings. The studies I painted above were executed in about 30 minutes. When I go on painting trips, I usually carry a travelling brush with a limited palette. As with almost all my watercolour sketch book work, no pencil was used.
The sketchbook watercolour of the entrance to the Souk was one of several I painted on location. I used these for the limited edition print of the Mubarakiyya Souk in Kuwait.
John Singer Sargent
I also find that when you study artists like John Singer Sargent and Edward Seago, you see how confident and fluid their brush strokes are. One of the reasons for such deft brush marks is their outstanding draughtsmanship. They would draw a few faint pencil guidelines which you can often see under the washes. However, these are just there to assist the bolder, more confident expressions with paint. These watercolour paintings show that they are really Drawing with a brush and paint.
I have posted this watercolour above is by Seago of Venice. I think it’s a typical example that demonstrates his ability to flood the paper with paint in such a precise and masterful way. His work has inspired me in my own paintings of Venice. The Gold House watercolour is based on a Seago watercolour, but then I’ve added gold leaf to parts of the Venetian architecture.