what to draw on canvas

What To Draw On A Canvas In 2 Best Steps

In this article we are going to discuss about the topic what to draw on a canvas. What do you draw on canvas? What are the type of paints can you draw on canvas? What is the best type of paint you can draw on canvas? What are the different drawing materials used on the canvas? Is there any  different types of canvas?

Is it permanent on the canvas? Is it removable from the canvas? What is the duration of the drawing on canvas? What is the preservation of the drawing on canvas? Let’s discuss on the topic in a detailed manner.

What To Draw On A Canvas

Let’s get an idea on the topic what to draw on a canvas in the form of a video.

How To Draw On A Canvas In What To Draw On A Canvas

What to draw on a canvas we need certain things to do:

  • Canvas
  • Drawing tools
  • Colored pencils
  • Soft pastels
  • Oil pastels
  • Watercolor pencils
  • Charcoal
  • Graphite pencils
  • Blending stump
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Spray fixative

what to draw on canvas

Application of what to draw on canvas with the help of above materials let’s see an example with it. Rough canvases are more difficult to draw on with a regular mechanical pencil.

The fine point may “catch” on the texture of the canvas and cause it to break.

If the canvas is really rough it may lead to a “scratchy” drawing experience, especially if the point of the pencil is sharp.

1. Drawing on canvas with the pencils.

2. Drawing on canvas with the charcoal.

3. Drawing on canvas with the colored pencils.

4. Drawing on canvas with the soft pastels.

Drawing On A Canvas With The Pencils

What to draw on canvas let’s to discuss the ways. Pencils are a very common property to sketch on canvas prior to painting.

They can be used for oils, acrylics or most any other medium.

The great thing about pencils is you can easily drawing right on the canvas. One of the problems of drawing on primed canvas is that softer leads have a tendency to smear.

The graphite can smear from resting your hand on the canvas and moving it around as you draw.

You can place a sheet of paper under your hand to protect the lines, but it can also smear when you paint over the lines with a brush.

The graphite may also tint lighter colors as you paint over them.

Drawing On Canvas With The Pencils

This works great for paintings that contain any kind of precise anatomy, perspective or if it’s a complex composition.

The specific lines and each detail will make sure you don’t miss anything important, such as a collar to the coat.

The potential drawbacks intended is that having a lot of dark and light outlines can cause you to be more restrictive with your paint application.

This can sometimes result in a paint by number look since your main objective is to fill in all those little shapes with color.

This can be overcome by loosely sketching your idea on the canvas rather than creating perfect outlines.

Drawing On A Canvas With The Charcoal

Another method to using charcoal to draw out your ideas on canvas prior to painting.

If your objective is to only give rough indications of placement, proportions, and anatomy, and then let the paint do the talking, then this is the way to go on what to draw on canvas.

Drawing On Canvas With The Charcoal

If you have a tendency to rest your hand on the canvas when you paint, you may end up with more charcoal on your hand than on the canvas.

The charcoal can also blend into your paint, depending on your technique.

I have not had many problems with this as I tend to paint somewhat thick, but if you use thin layers it may be an issue.

3. Drawing On A Canvas With The Colored Pencils

Regular colored pencils have a wax base that can resist some paints.

Watercolor pencils can turn nicely into the subsequent layers of paint, though you may want to limit using them with water based paints only.

Drawing On Canvas With The Colored Pencils

Lighter colors will have less effect on your subsequent layers. Another nice thing about watercolor pencils is you can completely erase any lines by wiping them away with clean water and a paper towel.

If you are confused what to draw on canvas with it is the better option.

Watercolor pencils are water soluble so they’ll dissolve when you paint over them. Avoid the dark watercolor pencils because they will contaminate your paint as you paint over the lines.

I recommend using lighter colors so that this isn’t a problem. Light grays seem to work well on white canvases.

4. Drawing On A Canvas With The Soft Pastels

Pastels, while not optimal for doing a highly-detailed drawing, can work great if you want a loose approach similar to charcoal, yet with color.

Drawing On Canvas With The Soft Pastels

You will want to make sure that the pastel you are using is compatible with your medium.

Frequently Asked Questions On What To Draw On A Canvas

1. Can we do soft pastels on canvas?

Surfaces for pastels can mean a whole range of materials because pastels are incredibly versatile. They can be used on almost any surface as long as there is enough tooth for the pastels to grip.

Textured paper is the most popular surface for pastels, but you can also use boards, canvas, and even sandpaper.

2. How do you prepare a canvas for soft pastels?

The most cost-effective way to produce pastel-ready surfaces is to make your own primer by combining grit, a binder such as acrylic medium or acrylic gesso, and water.
Pastel artists favor using pumice for the grit, and this 1-pound jar of 2F pumice will yield a medium-coarse surface.

3. Do pastel pencils work on canvas?

Pastel Pencils will go on top of other mediums on canvas. As we know well, Pastel Pencils on top of Watercolour works brilliantly.

I have video tutorials on this site demonstrating the compatibility.

As Acrylic dries, you could also put pastel pencils over the top of this too.

4. How do you paint with soft pastels?

When painting with pastels, you come into direct contact with the color because it is typically blended using a finger.
However, you can also use a blending stump, a rag or other materials to do so.
Always blend colors from a lighter area towards a darker one. Mix soft pastels directly on the paper.

5. Can you use water with soft pastels?

Chalk pastels all by themselves are a unique medium, famous for their bright colors and soft effects.
Using water to blend your pastels lets you enjoy a truly “painterly” experience with minimal dust and plenty of room for artistic changes as you work.

Also Read Here: Types of paints for canvas.


I hope in this article what to draw on canvas you may like the content.

Having a design plan before beginning a painting may not be required, but it is something I recommend you do.

I researched some of the most asked question about sketching on canvas before painting.

Of course, there are many other techniques and options for sketching on your canvas that cannot be covered in this article.

Hopefully, this will be enough to get you started and experimenting with your own techniques.

Just remember the one unbreakable rule, oil over water, never the reverse. In other words, don’t paint acrylics over oil pastels.

Related Posts: