Any advice on how to do this?

I wanna practice and start learning to draw on black paper. I realize you can just draw squares to get the sketch cuz I don’t think you can erase that easily on black paper.
do I just freestyle or is there a good way to get the outline on there?
Also don’t think they use pencils in the portrait but I wanna try with pencils first before trying gauche or something.

SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

Hi there. I use white charcoal pencil when drawing on black paper. Generally i draw directly onto the paper. You could do a line drawing on Tracing paper and transfer just the simplest of outlines by using white chalk on the back of that drawing and then simply running a pencil over your drawn lines to deliver a clear, but soft outline to your work surface. After that you can proceed to happily add in the tones as you see them. It is just like using graphite on white or grey paper. I enjoy watching my subject emerge.
Good luck.

1 Like

Oh thanks for the advice!

I’ll definitely order me some white charcoal to try that. I could use the trace technique just for some minor lines in the face to keep the face “measurements” like the original.
I don’t mind drawing without tracing but with recognizable characters I like to stay as close as possible to the original.
I looked up what you said and I see people using panpastel to get the lines on the black paper so imma order that as well.
In the end all this is more to practice the drawing before I start using oil paints for this portrait.
I always wanted that portrait from the nun in my bedroom :joy: and when I saw the price to buy the portrait I thought, I’ll make it myself :grin:.

thanks for the advice!
SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

To transfer contours/sketch to black paper: Make a print out of subject at the size you want your drawing to be on the black paper. On the back side of that print out scribble all over it with white or cream colored soft pastel stick. Then flip print out over on top of the black destination paper and go back to front/printed side to trace over the contours with a ballpoint pen but not pressing super hard. That will push the soft pastel from the back of the print into the front of the black paper and you can go from there.

At that point, you could go all white charcoal pencil or soft pastels, or use a bit of both, just remember that neither will stick to graphite and not super good to colored pencil if you start with white/cream colored pencil or have colored pencil on too thick. So starting with and staying with pastels or white charcoal is easy for transferring your design then finishing it up.

There are also sets of 10 firm “charcoal sticks” which are steps in grey-scale from black to white, they’re more like conte crayons which are similar to pastels but more firm than the feel of white charcoal. Those would work as well.

A white gel pen can be useful on the black paper if you need something to really pop out and scream at you but not a requirement, just nice to have if there’s a spot you can’t get light enough.

1 Like

Thanks for all the helpful information!
When I was testing charcoal, graphite, gums and everything on black paper it definitely took me by surprise of how unforgiving it is.
Iv never tried black paper before and it’s so different.
Gonna practice for a while and test stuff out before starting a serious drawing on it.
Iv ordered everything I need except charcoal sticks for now. The art store here and my trusty internet store don’t have them so gonna look for them.
Wish I had a lot more time to draw and practice as well tbh. Regular work keeps getting in the way :grin:
Anyway, thanks again for the tips and I’ll definitely try it out!

SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

I haven’t had much luck mixing media on black Artagain paper, white charcoal or range of pastels and sticking with same material all the way through. Draw light pressure and keep kneaded eraser in addition to a soft cloth to wipe off errors since erasing doesn’t work so well. Graphite just makes it shiny so nothing sticks to it which is a bit frustrating.

I’ve had good luck on both the Strathmore Grey paper and the Black “Artagain” paper with this set (I was thinking it was a set of 10 from Generals but that might also be out there somewhere): Derwent Alphacolor Soft Square Pastels, 7 Hi-Fi Gray Tones, 12 Pastels per Set (145003)

1 Like

Glad you’re trying out working on black. I often spend the winter months drawing on black. It can be disorienting at first because you’re drawing the highlights instead of the shadows. No, even the black erasers don’t erase well on black. I tend to just freehand the drawing very lightly with white pencil and hope for the best. It makes your drawing more accurate. One of the best takeaways is that when you go back to graphite, your drawing speed picks up because you’re looking at both highlights and shadows.

1 Like

Thank you for your message. At the moment I’m testing a lot on black paper. I definitely underestimated drawing on black :grin: especially the erasing part. I ordered all kind of white pencils and a white charcoal set someone recommended and even a panpastel set to see what works best for me. At the moment I’m working on a big graphite drawing on normal paper but after that I wanna learn to draw on black paper.

Thanks again for the tips
SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

Be careful with the pan pastels. I did a really nice drawing of a teddy bear with chalk, and when I sprayed fixative, it disappeared. Probably because I wasn’t using pastel paper.

1 Like

I had that problem and my way around it is to lay what I’m going to spray flat on the ground, then spray from 20-24" up straight down so it falls like a misty rain and then it only darkens the pastel without moving it around (unless it is a windy day out, then make sure it’s anchored to ground so it doesn’t fly away). If I get to where the pressure of the aerosol fixative is moving stuff, I know I’m way too close. Having a more toothy/grippy paper would minimize that as well. For charcoal drawings that dust wrong when you look at them sideways the above is the method I use.

Don’t forget to hold can upside down and spray until nothing comes out to keep nozzle from getting clogged.

1 Like

Alright I‘m new here and saw this questions for black paper.
I use the trace your sketch method. That means I sketch on normal printer paper or A3 paper if needed and then go ahead and use a B pencil and cover the back of my sketch. I then put it over the black paper and go over my sketch with a pencil a bit harder. This will trace your sketch to any other paper.

This method also works for thicker paper about 250 to 300gms and also for toned papers.

You just have to sketch once and can trace it wherever you want it to trace on

1 Like

Thank you for the advice!!
I’ll keep that in mind and sorry for the super late response :blush:

:pray: thank you for the advice. Iv been experimenting a little on black paper and this was one of the techniques I tried. It worked :slight_smile:
At the moment I’m still working on white for my main drawing and I seem to have a little problem with switching to black paper in between. It’s so different…
But I wanna learn so when I’m done with the drawing I’ll be focusing on black for a while. Getting in that mindset :wink:

Also welcome!

Matt uses a white chalk pastel painted on the back of it the reference image/sketch, it works just as transfer paper leaving a not too faint white outline on the black paper.

1 Like

How is the drawing on black coming? It’s been several months since we’ve heard from you. I like drawing on black because it concentrates your mind.

1 Like

Hi, yes iv been inactive lately due to sickness. I’m stuck with long covid and last months have been extremely difficult for me. I don’t have the strength to draw atm. And besides this I lost my job and the government doesn’t seem to recognize covid as a sickness so I’m having problems getting the right help like healthcare and payout. I did just renew my account here in the hope I can continue drawing.
Iv been testing out the tools to work on black and I tried the panpastel as well. With testing I found it’s kinda difficult to use but that might also be cuz I need to learn to draw on black as well.
Hopefully I can continue soon :slight_smile:

Thank you for your message!

Hi SlippyPaints. Welcome back to the Community at TVI. I’m a fairly new participant here and look forward to seeing your future posts. Hope it won’t be long before you totally recover and are feeling 100% again.

Terri Robichon


So sorry to hear your down with long covid. I have several friends that have it also. The symptoms never seem to stop. Kudos to you for trying to do something while ill. I had pneumonia a month ago and could basically do nothing but read or watch tv with the sound off and cough. Have they tried you with vitamin D yet?

When I was first working on black paper, I went to the art store and bought several different kinds of white pencil. I already had chalk, conte crayon, and oil pastel. I really liked the white Berol pencil. It seemed to put down the right amount of pigment, and it didn’t disappear when sprayed with fixative.

Yard sales are a good source of black paper. People sell off their old, unused photo albums for pennies I did not try chalk pastel as I don’t need the dust from that. When drawing on black the first thing have to learn is that you are drawing the highlights, not the shadows. It is a brain twister.

Good luck.