Colored pencils belong in every artist’s toolkit because of their easy-to-use and clean design. Did you know that the same colored pencils can be used on black paper to create a unique effect? It’s easier than you think!
What are the best colored pencils for black paper? Interestingly, not every type of colored pencil will work on black paper, so you will have to choose the right type of colored pencils with the right quality and consistency to use for your project.
This article will reveal the best colored pencils for black paper, showcasing some of the best options out there. But first, let’s take a look at what you will need to look for when choosing the right colored pencils for black paper.
Colored Pencils For Black Paper – Buyer’s Guide
Colored pencils allow artists to create various art styles, ranging from abstract to hyperrealistic. Colored pencils are very friendly to beginners because they are not messy, often non-toxic, and super easy to use.
Aside from their versatility, colored pencils are also very practical and portable. They can be used anywhere, which is great for artists who love taking their art on the go.
This is partly because they don’t require a lot of accessories to go with them (like brushes or thinners). You just need a sketchbook and a pencil sharpener to go with your colored pencil set, and you’re good to go!
You’ve probably seen some artworks out there that use colored pencils with black paper and wonder how that can be. Well, let’s learn more about what you should look for when you want to experiment with this art style.
Types of Colored Pencils
There are three basic types of colored pencils: wax-based, water-soluble, and oil-based. Aside from these, there are also various other types, including pastel pencils and lead-based pencils.
However, we will only take a look at the three main types that are often used by artists to create the color-on-black effect.
- Wax-based Colored Pencils
Most colored pencils actually have a wax-based core. This material gives them a smooth texture and helps the pigments flow across the surface. Wax also helps the colors stay on the paper and allows the layers to blend beautifully without chipping off the page.
Unfortunately, wax-based pencils can also cause wax bloom, which is a natural process that occurs when the wax oxidizes and creates a fog on top of the colors after a few days. This can happen more when you tend to use a lot of dark colors on your page.
If you see this happening to your artwork, you can use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away the wax on the affected area and seal the artwork to prevent further oxidization.
Because of this issue, artists who usually use heavy layers and dark colors should opt for oil-based pencils instead.
- Oil-Based Colored Pencils
Oil-based pencils have an oil-based binder that is used to distribute the pigment on the surface. Because of this composition, oil-based colored pencils still produce a smooth result without suffering from wax boom.
Most oil-based pencils are a bit harder than wax-based ones, so they cannot distribute the pigment as quickly. However, the firmer the lead, the less likely it is to break, so it will save you a lot too. In addition, the firm core also gives artists more control over their work.
Despite their advantages, oil-based pencils are prone to staining, and therefore, mistakes are harder to fix. They’re also more expensive than their wax-based counterparts.
- Water-Soluble Colored Pencils
Water-soluble pencils have a water-soluble binder that can be thinned with water. That means you can use them as both dry colored pencils and mix the core with water to become watercolors!
These pencils are ideal for creating mix-media watercolor and colored pencil artworks. In addition, you can thin the colors with water and use them just like watercolor to create washes using a brush or sponge.
When it comes to buying colored pencils, or any kind of art supplies for that matter, you’ll have to choose between artist-grade or student-grade tools.
Artist-grade colored pencils are usually a bit pricier, but you’ll get what you pay for. The colors are usually a bit more pigmented, the core is smoother, and they are designed to last longer on the page – which won’t disappoint the artist and the buyers who are hoping to purchase the artwork!
However, if you are a student or a hobbyist, the student-grade options are also quite good. The pencils won’t be as pigmented (and therefore not as lightfast as the artist-grade ones), but the value for money is still quite exceptional.
Soft Vs. Hard Colored Pencils
The consistency of the pencil core will also affect the enjoyment of colored pencils.
The core of the pencil, or what’s often referred to as the ‘lead,’ is made up of various components, such as wax, pigment, and gum binder. It’s usually encased in wood. Different brands have a different formula for the core, which can affect how the colored pencils will perform.
There’s a fine balance to the consistency of the lead. Many artists prefer soft colored pencils because they lay down nicely and blend well.
Because of this, most artist-grade pencils are softer than their student-grade counterparts due to the lack of filler and binder, and they have more pigment, so the colors will be more colorfast.
However, a softer core will also mean that the pencil can break more easily, which means more sharpening, and the pencils won’t last as long.
On the other hand, hard colored pencils can help you create very fine and precise points because the core can be easily sharpened. However, hard pencils are harder to use because the colors can be difficult to blend, and the colors are not as pigmented.
Student-grade color pencils usually have a harder lead.
How To Use Colored Pencils On Black Paper
You’re probably used to the process of working with white paper. You start with sketching the base first and then going in with the shadows and dark tones before adding the highlight as the final touch.
Well, when working with black paper, instead of starting the process with dark tones, start with lighter shades and gradually work towards the dark colors. In that sense, the process is reversed.
If you, like most artists, are more of a visual learner, we’ve found this awesome video from Kathleen Darby on YouTube explaining everything you need to know!
While that sounds simple, working with the right tools will really help you minimize the pain when experimenting with this new technique.
Let’s take a look:
- Type of Paper
When it comes to buying black paper, choosing thick paper (like cardstock) will ensure that the paper has multiple layers of color. If the page is thick enough, you will have a very deep black color that works perfectly with colored pencils.
If the paper is too thin, it may not be able to handle all the layers of colors, and the colors may not show up very well on the page.
- Type of Colored Pencils
Not every type of colored pencil will work well with black paper. The black page will consume most of the pigment, resulting in the colors not showing up very well on the page.
Because of this, you will want the colored pencils to be extra pigmented so that more of the pigment can stay on the black page.
Colors that can layer well and blend well will also be a huge benefit. Working with black paper is a bit trickier than lighter papers since you will need to use more layers and colors for the pigment to show up well on the page.
Therefore, if the colors are not smooth or blendable, it will take more effort to create the result that you want. Colored pencils with a softer core that is packed with pigment are usually more blendable and easier to layer.
- Use A Black Eraser
An eraser is a must-have tool for any artist working with colored pencils. However, when working with black paper, a regular eraser may destroy the paper since it will also remove the paper’s color and tooth.
Instead, if you are working with black paper, we recommend getting a quality black eraser that can pick up only the pigment on the page and not the colors of the page itself!
Best Colored Pencils For Black Paper
What are the best colored pencils for back paper? We recommend getting an artist-grade (or professional-grade) set of colored pencils, which is pigmented enough to show up well on a darker background.
Let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market.
|1.||Faber-Castel Polychromous Colored Pencil Set||24 set, premium quality, rich colors|
|2.||Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Pencils||72 set, highly pigmented, rich color|
|3.||Art-N-Fly Oil Based Colored Pencils||48 set, lightfast, oil-based, + skin tones|
|4.||H & B 122 Colored Pencils Kit||122 set, oil-based, case included|
|5.||Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils||48 set, tin included, easy layering|
|6.||U.S. Art Supply Colored Pencil Set||50 set, soft led, artist-grade, blendable|
|7.||Cezanne Professional Colored Pencil Set||24 set, soft lead, blendable, lightfast|
1. Faber-Castel Polychromous Colored Pencil Set
These brilliant colored pencils are perfect for creating beautiful drawings and artwork, especially for working with black paper.
This Faber-Castel Polychromous colored pencil set comes with 24 colored pencils with the highest quality pigments for deep, rich colors that won’t fade.
Made with water-resistant and smudge-proof, break-resistant leads, you can expect a highly enjoyable experience when working with these colored pencils.
Whether you color directly on the page or use them for sketching, you get unsurpassed lightfastness and permanent color that is easily blended to produce beautiful artworks on black paper.
In addition, Faber-Castel also offers similar sets with a wider range of colors (up to 120 colors) for those who love the versatility. The wide range of colors also gives you more options for lighter colors to use with black paper.
2. Castle Art Supplies 72 Colored Pencils
This set of colored pencils from Castle Art Supplies contains 72 excellent quality, artist-grade colored pencils that can give you all the options you need for beautiful artwork on black paper.
With intensely pigmented, rich, creamy colors for smooth coverage and effortless layering, blending, and burnishing, these pencils will greatly enhance your drawing experience.
They are perfect for black paper and produce soft, buttery laydown that’s just like using oil pastels.
The soft lead makes the colors flow smoother, which makes sketching and coloring more enjoyable, and the colors are easier to layer, too.
With a lovely quality and range of colors available, this set is great for artists of all levels and ages.
3. Art-N-Fly Oil Based Colored Pencils
For the creative mind, the Art-n-Fly oil-based colored pencils set provides a rich, vibrant range of 48 colors.
Each pencil is soft and smooth enough to layer flawlessly. From the core up to the tip, these lightfast pencils are perfect for creating one-of-a-kind fine artworks, especially on black paper.
Thanks to the oil-based formula, the colors are very lightfast and resistant to fading, and the resulting artwork won’t suffer from wax bloom either.
These artist-quality oil-based cores provide luxuriously thick layering of color. There is a wide range of colors, including bright and skin tone colors, that will show up very well on black paper.
4. H & B 122 Colored Pencils Kit
This set of colored pencils contains 120 different vivid colors. The pencil core is made of lightfast pigment with an oil-based binder that won’t fade over time.
The break-resistant core is soft and highly pigmented for smooth coloring, easy mixing, shading, and layering, making it ideal for professional use or regular coloring as well.
With these pencils, you can create whatever you imagine in a variety of tones and shades.
From vivid hues to subtle tones and everything in between, these pencils are all you need for complete and beautiful artistic expression, especially on black paper!
5. Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
Prismacolor Premier colored pencils boast a smooth, bold color laydown that makes them perfect for bringing your artwork to life.
These ultra-smooth colored pencils are great for coloring and feature a thick, robust lead that resists cracking and chipping.
The colors are beautifully pigmented for easy layering and blending, and you bet they will show up quite beautifully on black paper.
The large box comes stocked with 48 premium colored pencils; each soft and thick core is perfect for shading or shadowing, as well as sketching and coloring.
They have been crafted with trouble-free blending in mind, with pigmented lightfast colors that resist fading.
Enjoy coloring your favorite designs again and again with these long-lasting colored pencils. Carry them in the convenient metal case to and from the table in style!
This U.S. Art Supply 50 Piece Colored Pencil Set is a large pencil set that offers you the chance to mix and match different colored pencils in order to create vibrant and bold colors every time you use them, especially when experimenting on black paper.
The soft, delicate qualities of the pencils are very gentle on the page and give you a super smooth coloring experience every time. The soft leads are easy to work with, and the colors are easy to blend, with a beautiful color range to help your imagination run wild.
These colored pencils are beautifully designed to give you unsurpassed sharpness and fine detail. It is the level of performance that you would expect from an artist-grade set.
7. Cezanne Professional Colored Pencil Set
Cézanne 24-Color Colored Pencil Set is a professional-level pencil set with a range of vibrant and pure colors that offers excellent layering and blending qualities.
Packed with vibrant pigments and boasting a core of 3.3mm super soft leads, this collection is ideal for coloring darker surfaces, including rough and textured black paper.
The leads lay down rich semi-opaque color that supports multiple layers, blending and shading for stunning results. And of course, you can expect the colors to be very lightfast and fade-resistant to ensure that your artwork will stay on the page for a long time.
Up Next: Best Skin Tone Colored Pencils