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Can You Use Colored Pencils On Canvas | Things You Should Know

Being a good painter is no guarantee of achieving greatness if you don't use the best colored pencils

Can You Use Colored Pencils On Canvas

It means that even if you know how to paint and draw realistic portraits, there's no surety of people appreciating the artwork. This is because everything from the type of pencil to the paper quality determines how the final drawing looks. 

That's what separates good painters from great painters, so we will offer a helping hand in today's guide. We will explain why you should draw with colored pencils on canvas to make your artwork unique. 

Can You Use Colored Pencils On Canvas?

Can You Use Colored Pencils On Canvas

While some people shy away from drawing with colored pencils on canvas because they aren't the easiest surface to sketch on, all you need is practice. And it's important to choose a suitable pencil depending on the medium to draw precise strokes.

Drawing with a colored pencil is different since the drawing surface has to absorb the color from charcoal or graphite. So, preparing the surface and using a durable pencil that won't warp with time is essential.

Once you have the right pencil, look closely at the surface, and you will find harsh crossovers. This means applying only a little pressure is enough to get the accurate shade because as the surface sinks, the color is likely to sink as well.

We recommend using soft-grade pencils on an unprimed canvas for the best results. But if needed, you can prime the canvas slightly to take advantage of its unique toothy texture.

Also, note that drawing with colored pencils on a canvas surface is pocket-friendly, and when you learn how to add layers, the colors appear more vibrant and life-like. The only downside is that the surface chips away at the pencils quickly; that's why a smooth drawing surface will prove more convenient, which we discuss in the next section.

Why Should You Use Colored Pencils On Canvas?

Colored pencil drawing on canvas isn't straightforward because it doesn't offer a very smooth drawing surface compared to other mediums. The toothy texture means soft colored pencils wear out quickly since the surface rapidly absorbs the color pigments. 

So, there are 2 things to keep in mind - you will have the sharpen the pencils frequently and be careful while applying the strokes. For everything else, read the following points:

1. Durable Support Canvas

The great thing about drawing on canvas is that you can create bold drawings that are difficult to replicate on other mediums. Since it's tougher than paper, even heavily primed canvas can handle more erasing and burnishing, which makes it easy to correct both major and minor changes. 

If you were wondering how to erase colored pencil from canvas without affecting the artwork, now you know.

2. Saturated Color

Because canvas isn't a smooth surface, and you will find weave patterns on the medium, it quickly absorbs the color from the pencils. The best color pencil paintings on canvas are vibrant and highly saturated, so sharpen the pencil for the desired effect. 

Greater vibrancy will increase the chances of the pencil blunting soon; that's why don't forget to keep a sharpener with you. But what if you don't want a vibrant effect? Is that possible? 

It certainly is, and all you need is to gently sketch with the pencil for the white texture of the medium to show ever so slightly. This creates an airy feel, perfect for painting atmospheric environments or skies.

We should mention that it's difficult to achieve the desired vibrancy on primed canvas, and it would be best to leave it unprimed. In other words, smoothing the canvas makes it behave more like paper which you wouldn't want in this instance. With experience, you can prime the canvas properly to the desired texture for the painting to stand out.

3. Realistic

Colored pencils on canvas deliver a more realistic effect than paper, provided you have a suitable solvent. It's possible to make the necessary adjustments depending on your painting, with drawn and painted looks making the portraits more eye-catching. 

Overall, canvas is better for achieving a painted look which gives it a unique appeal.

4. Versatile

One of the main advantages of canvas is its versatility, and you can apply gesso to get a smoother surface. A gesso spread surface reduces the coarseness of canvas based on the quantity you apply. This is important for artists who want to portray details through their paintings and make minute changes. 

Things To Consider Before Drawing On Canvas?

Just knowing about the qualities of canvas isn't enough to become a successful artist. You must consider whether you want to use charcoal pencils, hard-graphite pencils, stretched canvas or oil paints.

We have listed 2 basic points in this section to help you get the desired finish.

1. Pencil Selection

Even though some people are confused about the best color pencils for canvas, let us tell you that the obvious choice is a soft-grade pencil. Considering that you can alter the toothy surface of the canvas to a smoother medium, remember that it can tear, break, and be damaged when you apply too much pressure.

Although you will get a lighter shade with such a pencil on canvas, it will keep the surface safe and free from harm. Moreover, as the surface thread won't tear easily, you can use these pencils for sketching, shading, or drawing.

2. Apply Gesso

While some artists prefer the rough texture of canvas, others use gesso to shade on a smoother medium. If you are intrigued, apply this light acrylic paint thinner and watch how the surface becomes stiff and hard. 

Since the surface is now completely even, the chances of making mistakes decrease considerably, and you can sketch or shade easily. But especially pleasing is the fact that gesso acts as an added layer of protection by keeping the surface free of debris and dust accumulation.

Can You Use Colored Pencils On Canvas Frequently Asked Questions ?

Which colored pencils are suitable for drawing on canvas?

Before drawing on canvas, you must have thought - what are colored pencils made of and which colored pencils are the most suitable? You should ideally look for durable and soft-grade pencils, among which the Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencil Set is the best.

These pencils have the highest order of pigments, and you can paint, draw, or sketch with aplomb without compromising speed or precision. The best part is that you can blend the colors well, which gives Faber-Castell the edge over other brands. 

That's why seasoned artists and first-timers can easily use this set, ensuring that the charcoal shades look nice on the medium.

Can you use colored pencils with acrylic paint?

Yes, colored pencils and acrylic paints are a perfect match which ensures you can draw multiple layers, shades, and borders for greater efficiency and attractiveness. Moreover, this combination makes it easier to use colored pencils, as it guarantees precise control for the best results.

The primary reason artists use acrylic paints with colored pencils is that they help portray an aesthetic vibe that is challenging to achieve otherwise. And there are hardly any chances of ruining the canvas, so you can get a unique finish with practice.

Are harder-grade graphite pencils suitable for drawing on canvas?

While some artists like the texture and color of hard-graphite pencils, it would be wise not to use them. These pencils have the maximum chance of damaging the texture of canvas because the medium is made of soft-threaded lines. 

These pencils can tear the interlinking threads no matter how careful you are. Even light pressure can result in the pencil penetrating the canvas, which ruins the painting.

Can you use oil-based or watercolor pencils on canvas?

It's possible to use watercolor and oil-based pencils on canvas, but it would be best to choose products with a solid core for the latter. The harder the cores, the better the results on unprimed canvas, which will allow the colors to mix and blend easily.

Similarly, you can work with watercolor pencils on canvas, regardless of the type of primer and quality of the medium. In most cases, these color sets are suitable for adding light shades without paints.

Can You Use Colored Pencils On Canvas Conclusion

Can You Use Colored Pencils On Canvas Conclusion

You can't become an overnight success, and it will take years of practice before you master the art of using colored pencils. 

But our guide showed you how you could do it, so keep learning various techniques and art forms to stand out. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Every artist was once an amateur," and after reading our guide, we hope you have a better idea of what pencils to use. 

Once you have the right equipment and understand the intricacies of painting on canvas, it won't be long before the art world takes notice of your paintings.