Can You Use Colored Pencil on Canvas

Art by: juepaap Perfect example that you can draw on canvas using colored pencils

Yes! It is a simple straight answer, but it has little traps inside of this answer.
Keep reading because I share all the essentials on how you can use colored pencils on canvas. Not many artists are using colored pencils on canvases. But if you reading this post, then it seems you see a challenge.
You won’t try it. Right?
Why not, art is exploring.
Some artists use them for the layout of paintings, and others to explore and draw with them.
We will stick to those that use canvas for colored pencil art.

How to Prepare More Friendly Colored Pencil Surface

You decide to go for it, and nothing will stop you from using canvas with your colored pencils.

How to get started?

  • Get smoother canvases from the store, already primed
  • Even if the canvas is primed you need to put a minimum of two layers of gesso, I recommend that you go with three layers. You will get a more colored pencil and a friendly surface, and it will save your pencils a lot.
  • Sand it and get a smoother surface. That is another power-up to save your pencils softcore.
  • Work on pre-stretched canvas
  • Use plywood as support from the back, to avoid sagging. Also, you will work more easily along the edges of the canvas.
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Which colored pencils have the best durability on canvas?

The ones that have harder cores, and are mostly without wax. So your options are oil-based colored pencils.

Faber Castell colored pencils are made from oil and pigment, and because of that they have a harder core.

Luckily their range of colors is very big, you can get 12o different colors. And that will be more than enough for your drawing on canvas.

The Faber Castell price range is the same as for Prismacolor colored pencils, but they will last much longer on rough surfaces like canvas.


If you are on a budget then a great choice is Castle Art Supplies 120 Premium Colored Pencils Set. For one-third of the price of Faber Castell, you get Castle pencils, and they are high quality and also oil-based pencils.

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How Do You Protect a Colored Pencil on a Canvas?

Once you finish drawing with colored pencils it is time for protection.
To protect colored pencils on canvas you will need a fixative. If you don’t use fixative your drawing will not last! The same rule goes for graphite pencils

Have in mind when you use fixative colors could run, so approach to this step carefully. Another issue with fixative is that the colors might change.

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There are not many benefits of using canvas as a drawing surface.
  • The colors of the pencil will be much more intense than on the paper surface
  • There are not many artists that use canvas for colored pencils, which is excellent I see the uniqueness
  • If you have canvas lying around a superb opportunity to explore something new
  • Layout for oil paintings or acrylics
Unfortunately, a few cons are very important to know. But don’t be discouraged because of that
  • It is hard to erase colored pencils, but it is possible. You don’t have much space for mistakes, but it is possible to some level. With an electric eraser is possible to remove layers on the drawing but using it with light pressure. If you lift some gesso, you will get some room for further layers.
  • It eats your pencil enormously! Because of the texture of canvas, the tooth is much more significant than on paper. That tooth will eat your pencil in no time, especially if you use soft colored pencils. You will have more luck if you use harder colored pencils like Faber Castell.
  • You will achieve fine details very hard. Due to the humps on the surface, it is tough to achieve fine details like on the paper surface.
  • Blending is possible. But you will have a big struggle with the tooth of the canvas. It is hard to cover white ridges that come out, even after a few layers.

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