Can You Use Colored Pencils on Canvas? | You Should Know

Commonly, all of us are familiar with canvas as an oil painting and certain drawing surfaces. But, do you know that you can also use colored pencils on canvas? Feeling amazed, right? The feeling is mutual with me when I heard the same for the first time.

One day, we watched some shows and saw the artist was using colored pencils on the painting canvas. I, along with my friends, became astonished. But we didn’t sit idle after that.

As artists, the very next day, we searched all the information about using colored pencil on canvas. Getting the best-colored pencils and the medium, we started our work after a few weeks.

In those weeks, we did complete research on our art. The charcoal pencils should be light grade. We had to create a good surface over the canvas. We implemented different materials on it.

Nevertheless, our effort didn’t go in vain. After completing our work, we were amazed that we could do the job so nicely. As usual, my work was the most outstanding among my artist friends.

But the research and information gathering we did, was excellent. I cannot refrain from sharing those unique experiences with you now.

Can You Use Colored Pencil on Canvas? The Answer

The surface of the canvas is not straightforward for color pencils. But with precise control and adjustability, you can use them on it. For that, you must have the proper usage of your pencil and its type on the medium.

To properly implement the color pencil, you need to create a proper surface first because it will only settle on the surface that can consume the colored from the graphite or charcoal pencil.

Again, before you choose the surface, the colored scribble must have the correct tooth in it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to apply them correctly to your drawing.

Also, if you don’t want your pencil to become warp, make sure you get a proper one. For working on the medium, it is a must to have a durable one.

Now let’s come with the canvas. The surface of the canvas is quite different from that of the paper, as it is made for paintings. You’ll see a lot of harsh crossovers on it. Not only that, it takes a bit lighter pressure to imply the pencil or colored scribble ink on the drawing surface.

You can use the colored pencil on the canvas when you apply the pressure accurately. As the surface sinks, your color gets more chances of sinking too.

Pencil selection is also another important task for a perfect art or drawing. Because all the usual pencils will not work on the surface properly. You need to have an intense pencil in the first place to properly dip it on the service.

Things To Consider Before Drawing on Canvas

Before you are up for using the colored pencils on the canvas, you must prepare yourself for that. And your drawing doesn’t finish just after knowing and implementing the things properly.

You have to prepare the environment and surface properly before you draw your art on it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get your desired final result.

That’s why we bring you this section that includes the things you should consider before drawing on a canvas.

1. Make the Surface Smooth with Gesso

The first and most prominent step before you approach drawing is to create a smooth surface using gesso. Gesso is a kind of white acrylic paint (thinner). Many artists consider this to the best thing for the purpose.

When you imply the gesso on the surface, it makes the surface hard and stiff. There remain fewer chances of any error with your pencil work as the platform is fully flat then. Your desired shedding, sketching, etc., becomes easier to implement.

Not only that, but gesso also protects your canvas. You can easily wipe out dust and debris on the medium that is primed by gesso. Overall, to draw an art with colored pencil on a canvas, you must apply the gesso over it.

2. Use Soft Grade Pencil to Draw on Canvas

You must be thinking why soft grade pencil is recommended for art as you they’ll be lighter than the hard ones. But, are you aware of the texture of the canvas? It can break, tear, or even get damage anytime with intense touch.

Using the soft grade scribble prevents you from doing so. The surface of the canvas remains safe and sound for colored pencil drawing then.

Not only that, you can easily use the scribble in your desired manner. There remain very least chances of the surface thread of the canvas to tear. Even for shading, drawing, and sketching, the soft grade pencils stand above all.

Technique to Use Colored Pencil on Canvas

As you’ll be using the colored pencil on the canvas, you should keep in mind that you are using it on a rigid, stiff surface, not paper. So, your steps and works should be accordingly with that.

Considering the texture and surface of the canvas, you’ll be doing the work accordingly. Make sure you get the proper pencil for doing so.

Shading and Texture on the Canvas

We’ll be implementing some steps to complete the shading on the canvas perfectly. If you follow them, you are sure to meet your drawing without any hassle on the canvas with a colored pencil.

Step 1: Take the pencil and apply it back and forth accordingly. The back and forward stroke by the pencils will create a great texture of art over a large area on the canvas.

Step 2: For blotting or coloring a large area deeply, you can color in a circular motion. For that, make sure the color is sitting on the surface. Because the canvas is stiff, you must apply more pressure on the pencil.

Step 3: Keeping the pencil horizontally, you can make the perfect use of the middle portion of the teeth. This will enhance your colored scribble art and shading to lightly sand on the canvas. Before doing so, make sure you have a dark and deep colored pencil.

Blending Colors on the Canvas

Coloring and blending the colors do not fall in the same category. When you are up for mixing, you must move forward in a precise manner. The most prominent techniques are as follows:

Step 1: When you blend a darker color of the same shade with the lighter one, make sure you do that with precise alternation. Using the lighter one, you can create a darker one, light and attractive. Usually, using the pencil at the border of the darker one will uplift your final goal.

Step 2: At times, you can easily use the white color pencil to draw particular shedding and textures. This eases your art of lightening a specific portion quickly.

Step 3: At times, you can use the rubbing alcohol to make a proper blending over the canvas. Use the rubbing alcohol over on a white towel and scrub it over your color accordingly (optional).

Check this video to know more about blending technique for colored pencils.

Which Colored Pencils Have the Best Durability on Canvas?

Among so many colored pencils in the market, our eyes and heart got stuck in two brands. We were so delighted with the coloring, feasibility, texture, blending, and adjustability of the pencils on canvas.

We cannot but recommend it to all our readers. If you are in a dilemma of choosing a colored pencil set, you can go for them without any doubt. The two outstanding products are:

1. Faber-Castell Polychromos Color Pencils

The special box of colored pencils bring you 120 varieties of colors. With such a number, you can never stop making proper shades and blending. Most importantly, all of them polychromos which is widely used and recommended by experts and other artists.

You’ll get the highest order of pigments in each of the pencils. They settle well for permanent colors and artworks. And when you up for using them on canvas, they work perfectly on a gesso implied platform.

 Blending has never been an issue with the pencils. Because all 120 of them are made to blend effortlessly with each other and other brands, you can combine them using certain integrating factors.

For a long time usage, you will hardly find any other pencils superior to them. The 3.8 mm leads are fully water-resistant, and break-proof helps you get your desired art and drawings on the medium.

We’ve been using them for a long time for different projects, and all of the colors are still serving us properly.

2. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

Soft, thick cores are settling perfectly on your canvas. Can you imagine having a better formation of your pencils? Not until you get the Prisma color premiered colored pencils.

These pencils are so effective that you’ll hardly feel that you are using a colored scribble on such a rigid medium. You’ll get all the facilities and ease of using paint on the canvas with this pencil.

With saturated pigments, you get the smoothest color drawing with the pencils. Be it on your canvas or paper, you can generate lightfast drawings with these pencils.

The lead of the pencils is quite thick and robust. They are perfect for complex implementation on the canvas and other hard surfaces.

Counting the pencils, we became amazed. There are 150 different colors of pencils in the box. The shades are so unique that they form perfect blending among themselves. Their blending with another brand color also seems perfect when appropriately blended.

Benefits of Using Colored Pencil on Canvas

Using the right colored pencil brings you a lot of feasibility, uniqueness, and anxiety. Once you start implementing them, you are sure to use them for other purposes.

I’m very excited about the usage and overall outcome of the colored pencils on canvas. More or less, it went to be efficient for use. Stating about the benefits, let’s hold them up with some points.

  • You are sure to get the best saturation when implied accordingly over the gesso spread surface.
  • The durability of the colored pencil is outstanding. You are sure to use them for a long time on canvas.
  • You don’t have to make any kind of pre-framing for your art. All you have to do is to implement the colored pencil and do your task.
  • There is no limitation to having any fixed canvas panel during your work.
  • Real sketch impact can be easily indulged in your work.
  • The pre-layouts of the drawing and oil paintings get elevated quickly. You can border or mark them with precise control.


Q: Why Are Harder Grade Graphite Pencils Bad for Canvas?

The hard graphite pencils are bad for a canvas because they have the highest possibility of damaging the texture of the art medium.

Usually, the canvas is soft threaded material. The complex object has the highest chance of breaking the interlinking of the threads.

With the hard grade graphite pencils, there remains a risk of happening so. With immense pressure, it is possible to penetrate the canvas and destroy the character of the surface.

Q: Which colored pencils have the best durability on canvas?

Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils have the best durability on canvas. They are soft-grade pencils that come with the highest order of pigments.

With the colors, you can quickly draw arts, paint, and sketch on the canvas. Not only that, there remains the highest possibility of achieving your desired blending with the brand.

Most famous artists worldwide have preferred the brand to be the most suitable one for beginners and professionals. The charcoal pencils are pretty easy to use, and mostly, they look nice on the canvas.

Q: Can you use colored pencils on acrylic paint?

Colored pencils work efficiently with acrylic paint. The border, layering, shading, etc., become efficient and more attractive when done with a colored pencil. They are pretty easy to work with too.

Your precision and workability will become perfect when you use colored pencils with the paint. Even you get to portray the aesthetic vibe of your paintings by implementing a colored pencil.

There are no limitations in using colored pencils on acrylic paint. The more you use them, the more uniqueness you’ll be able to find. So, you are all set to use them ideally.

Enjoy Your Canvas Art With Pencil

After reading the whole article, you should be wondering when you’ll use colored pencils on canvas. They are so time-consuming that you cannot but test it all by yourself.

We have discussed and showed the whole procedure of using colored pencils on the canvas properly. Our aim gets fully fulfilled when you imply them from our guidance.

Bring the canvas and imply the colored pencils on it. Create art and take your skills to the next level. Till then, we will bring you some more exciting things related to the arts.

Maria Tanish

Hello World! Tanish here, a student of Fine Arts. Drawing was my passion from an early age but I also love to do some DIY projects to spend my leisure. Even I work as a writer, to share my knowledge about the ins and outs of drawing and the art industry itself. As an artist, I always wanna share my experiences with you all.

Recent Posts