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Yellow Pencil

I hope someone here can help me. I purchased Mark’s excellent video on portraits. He uses a yellow pencil (I purchased from SoHo Urban Artists Colored Pencils Naples Yellow Light) which works extremely well - for Mark.

My pencil will not work at all on my canvas. I have used Mark’s method of staining the canvas. I should mention I used Gesso first (dried) and then put Mark’s brown stain on top.  This could be wrong. I have never being able to figure out if Mark puts the Gesso on first. This may or may not be the problem.

Can anyone advise me exactly how Mark draws up with his yellow pencil?

I’m going to start stretching a new canvas. Good quality. I don’t want to mess this up, so I will wait and hope someone will answer me.

I would be so thankful if anyone can tell me what to do.

Thank you


  • I have the same problem - I have that same pencil, and it doesn't draw at all well on a smooth panel primed and stained.  I think you need tooth on the canvas for this pencil to work well, not to mention a dark stain to help it stand out.

    Use whatever works, it doesn't have to be that pencil, or that yellow.
  • I suspect the only way to find out is for Mark to explain. Thank you for your
  • Rocky

    Try a fine line sharpie in place of the Sakura.


    Try a Frixion pen in place of the pencil, that disappears with heat. Here is a demo.

  • I draw mine on paper and transfer with white graphite paper.  Problem solved.  You can have a very neat and clean canvas without mistakes.  I hate a messy canvas. 
  • @Rocky   I don't get it either - I have tried my pencils on various surfaces and colored surfaces and it has never given me any kind of line - Obviously, they sell these things so they must work - I just don't know what the secret is.
  • I suspect  only Mark  can answer  this problem. I don't think it has anything to do  with the pencil. It is to do with the method he uses  on the canvas. I think??
  • It may very well have something to do with method on the canvas properly stained according to Mark's method, and I also find that I get better markings while using a light touch on the pastel pencil rather than using pressure. If I use pressure, the lines more difficult  to leave a mark and often looks like wax buildup. A drawing transferred from tracing paper works real well with the same chalk pencil. 
  • I use a yellow pencil and have problem if tone is not dry. If I just set it up and  let it dry for about a week all is good.then ,now I have took to toneing  ahead of use time it can be dry to the touch and still not  really dry
  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    @Rocky ; I have used the yellow pencil successfully on several paintings, and I will probably use them in the future, but I'm giving these a try as well.  Three of us here on DMP, that I know of, are using these pens: @EstherH, @Gerard61, and myself.  COPIC pens that are pigment-based, and not those that are alcohol or dye based.  When drawing, Gerard and I use dots instead of lines to conserve the pigment-based material within the pens.  Here are the sizes available if someone here wants to give them a go:


  • cadiacadia -
    edited October 2017
    I've watched Mark painting on YouTube as he goes along-the " pencil" marks seem very much like pastel to the point where I've seen them brush off with a touch, but the one he recommends is the Soho Urban Artist colored pencil!
  • I’m just starting to pencil and having a very frustrating time I’ve painted out the attempts three times!
  • I find the pencil frustrating. I use charcoal, any mistakes can be easily wiped off, I then spray with a fixative once I’m happy with the drawing. 
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