Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

You can send an email to [email protected] if you have questions about how to use this forum.

Pencil for sketching on a stained canvas

Hey there. 

I can't seen to get my hands on the Soho Artist pencil in Naples yellow that Mark recommends (I'm in Canada). I have been using a regular cheap yellow oil pencil from the art store. The kind where you unfurl the paper around the center part to expose it. It is very soft and makes sketching easy but I have been finding that it's a bit difficult to cover. Sometimes I end up with yellow lines showing through the paint and I have to go back over areas once the paint has dried. 

I have a set of grey scale Lyra oil pencils which are wonderful but I find they're too hard to really sketch on a stained canvas. 

Does anyone have recommendations for other types of pencils to sketch on a stained canvas? Looking for something easy to sketch with that will totally disappear. 

Thanks for sharing!



  • @mmccabe, I use "General's" charcoal white 558. I use a kneaded eraser to lift the excess before painting over it or near it. I can barely see the white line by the time I'm painting it.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited June 12

    Here you go.

    A hot iron over a Linen dish towel removes frixion completely.
    Put the drawing in the fridge and the frixion lines reappear.


  • edited June 12
    A really good solution is not to draw pencil lines at all. Draw with the brush instead. Load the brush with paint of the right colour and value and place lovely marks of the right shape in the right place and they'll look great. That's painting. None of those pencil lines are going to be visible in the finished painting so why do them in the first place?

    Of course I know that when we're first starting out a line drawing can be comforting and make placement easier (if the drawing is accurate) and Mark's instructions show how to do it and I recommend it. When we gain confidence we can dispense with it as Mark does.  :)
  • edited June 12
    @tassieguy, so true! this is the direction where I'm heading. I can make lines, take some off easily and add new ones until I get it right, just like pencil or charcoal sketching and drawing, no different.
  • edited June 12
    That's right, @forgiveness. With oils, no mark need be final. It's a very forgiving medium. I think it's best to dispense with pencil outlines ASAP because they can hem us in so that we end up just coloring in. Which looks tight, unfree, unpainterly.

    But that need not always be so. @Richard_p,  for example, uses lines to create beautiful paintings. But he doesn't just colour in. He sees things in terms of areas of colour/value and his lines delineate those areas rather than just the outlines of objects and he integrates those areas with paint and the results are beautiful and very  painterly indeed. He uses lines but he sees as a painter.

     @gar3thjon3s is another painter here who I admire. He blocks in the main forms then seems to be able to draw power lines and other details with a brush across his tonally impressionistic urban landscapes without any feeling of tightness. 

    So, in the end we want a painting rather than an architect's drawing and there are different approaches to painterly realism. We're ok as long as the final result of our drawing and our subsequent application of paint doesn't end up looking like a kid's careful coloring in.  :)
  • Folks

    You guys are very experienced, senior artists even. We need to curate a range of techniques that build confidence step by step. I am quite happy drawing with a brush, but feel more comfortable with a hard conte pastel. Before my eye was in and my hand could work unsupervised a pencil drawing was a great preliminary work out. Saved expensive paint and could ensure an iterative likeness to my subject.


  • edited June 12
    Cheers, @Dencal. You're right. Outline drawing is, as I said,  a great help when we're just starting out.  That's why Mark shows us how to do it. :)
  • I learned two methods from Daniel Greene when I studied with him.  He drew either in charcoal or paint.  Both worked well, but both were a little different.  With charcoal, he started with that wimpy vine charcoal and sketched his subject on his canvas.  Then,  he went over it with a harder charcoal.  Then, he wiped off as much of the charcoal as possible or erased where necessary.  What was left was a fairly strong ghosted image of his subject.  From this, he would either draw in paint, or go directly to painting.

    His other method was to start with a blank, toned canvas, and draw his subject with a brush in a light value of paint.  Then, if he needed to correct his drawing, he used a smaller brush and a darker value.  With his subject sketched in paint, he began working.

    I still use these methods. 
Sign In or Register to comment.