Image of color chalk drawn on black paper

How to Draw on Black Paper? (A Detail Guide)

It’s no secret that black paper can be a powerful tool for artists. The deep, rich color can create stunning effects when used correctly. But many artists avoid using black paper altogether because they don’t know how to use it effectively.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips and tricks for drawing on black paper. We’ll also examine some benefits of using them in your artwork. So if you’re ready to try something new, keep reading.

When drawing on dark paper, the critical thing to remember is that you’ll need to use bright colors. Dark colors on a dark surface will be hard to see. Instead, opt for light-colored pencils, chalk, or even white charcoal. These light colors will help your drawings stand out and appear more vibrant.

Another thing to note is that you’ll need to be more precise when drawing on black paper. Since the background is so dark, mistakes will be much more visible. So take your time, and don’t be afraid to erase if necessary.

Keeping the above two critical things in mind, we shall discuss other details.

What is Black Paper Art?

Black paper art is a unique form of art that uses black color paper as the primary medium. The main goal of black paper art is to create contrast and depth by adding other elements such as white chalk, charcoal, or paint.

This type of art often has a minimalist quality, as the stark contrast between the black paper and other colors creates a striking effect.

You can use black paper art to create any artwork, from portraits to landscapes.

You can use it to create various images, from simple patterns to complex portraits.

An interesting thing is you can even use this art to create negative space in your artwork. It is an excellent way to add interest and contrast to any artwork.

Drawing of a dog on black paper. Pencil drawing of face of a dog with white pencil.

Why should you draw on a Black paper?

If you’re an artist, you know that the choice of paper can be just as important as the medium you use. The color, texture, and weight of the paper all play a role in the final look of your artwork. So why choose black paper?

Here are four reasons black paper can be an excellent choice for your next art project.

First, a black surface can help to create a sense of depth and drama in your artwork. Dark colors recede into the background while light colors pop forward. By using black paper, you can create a sense of depth and make your artwork more visually attractive.

Second, black paper can be a great way to highlight other vibrant colors in your painting or drawing. The black paper makes the subject appear brighter and more vibrant when placed next to a light-colored object. It can be an excellent way to add contrast and interest to your artwork.

Third, black paper can help to create a unique atmosphere in your art. Black is often associated with feelings of mystery, sophistication, and elegance. Black paper can be an excellent choice for creating an art piece that evokes these emotions.

Finally, the black paper looks cool. Whether working with paint, pencils, or charcoal, drawing on black paper can give your artwork an edgy, modern look. So if you want something different than traditional white paper, try black paper.

How to create values when drawing on Black Paper?

One of the challenges of drawing on black paper is creating a range of values in your drawing. As you know, black is the absence of light. It cannot be easy to create different shades and tones. A simple way to overcome this is to use a white pencil.

By drawing with a white pencil, you can create different values in your artwork.

Light Values

To create light values, use a white pencil or even white gel pens to draw lightly over the black paper. You should also apply light pressure to the pencil to create lighter shades. Use multiple layers to create a range of lighter values.

Medium Values

Use a white pencil to draw with medium pressure to create middle values. You can also use hatching or crosshatching techniques to create medium values.

Dark Values

To create dark values, use a black or charcoal pencil and apply pressure to the paper. You can also use hatching or crosshatching techniques with a pencil to create different shades of darkness. Creating darker values on black paper will be a bit challenging.

You can use blending tools, such as a Q-tip or cotton ball, to smooth out and blend the pencil marks.

How to Draw on Black Paper

Even before you start working, you should remember that you are working on black paper and must work differently at every stage. It will be the opposite of working on white paper or a white surface. Your objective is to fill up the white space and blend the area naturally where the light falls.

Since you are trying to create white space, you can finish the artwork more quickly than working on white paper.

These types of papers for drawing are suitable for night scenes or dark scenes. Some are toned papers, and some are regular papers. They also come in different paper sizes. 

Find Some Inspiration

The first thing is to find some black paper drawing inspiration. It can be from other art or nature or a simple cup or vase on a side table.

You can look for other examples of black paper art online or in magazines.

Plan Your Composition

The next step is to plan your composition. Planning your composition includes studying the outline, how exactly the lights and shades are, and how to place the subject matter of your artwork in the open black space.

Create the Outline

Now that you have planned your composition, it is time to start creating the outline. You can use a white or light-colored pencil to make the initial sketch. Avoid applying heavy pressure on the paper. Also, try not to place your hand on the paper as much as possible.

Fill up the Areas with White Pencil Shades

After making the initial sketch, it is time to start filling up the areas by adding light layers with a white pencil. We have already seen how to create light, medium, and dark values. Study where the light falls and accordingly apply the values.

Remember to use different degrees of pressure and strokes to create different shades. You can use various techniques like crosshatching, layering, etc.

Also, you can use a cotton ball, blending stump, or Q-tip to blend the pencil strokes to create smooth transitions gradually from light to dark values.

Apply the Final Touches

Once you fill the artwork with various shades, it is time to apply the final touches. You can use a white gel pen or pencil to add bright highlights to your artwork. You can add the darkest values if required if there are the darkest shadows. You can also add other details with different colors to make your artwork pop.

Use a Ruler for Straight Lines

Use a ruler if you are working on geometric shapes in your artwork and need to draw straight lines. Do not try to freehand any lines, as it will be challenging to get them right.

Be patient when working on black paper, and take your time to create an expert-level drawing.

Can you Use Pencil On Black Paper?

You can use a white color pencil instead of a traditional graphite pencil on black paper. The white pencil will show up clearly on the black paper and help you to create contrast. You can use the white pencil to draw any subject matter, from portraits to landscapes. 

If you’re looking for a unique look, try using colored pencils on black paper. The colors will stand out against the black background and add extra interest to your artwork.

You can also fine-tune the contrast in your artwork using different black paper types.

How Do you Use White Charcoal on Black Paper?

White charcoal is a great way to create contrast in your artwork. By drawing with white charcoal on a black surface, you can make your subject matter stand out. The white charcoal will also add a layer of interest to your artwork.

If you’re new to white charcoal, start with a small piece and experiment on a scrap piece of paper first. Once you learn how to use it, you can move on to larger projects. Just be sure to touch lightly with white charcoal, as it can create a messy drawing.

In addition to white charcoal, you can use other light-colored materials, such as chalk or pastels. These materials will also help you to create contrast and interest in your artwork.

Do Pastels Work on Black Paper?

Pastels can be a great medium to use on black paper. The colors will appear more vibrant against the dark background. Pastels are also easy to blend so that you can create a variety of colors and shades. You can use soft pastels to create any artwork, from portraits to landscapes.

Black is the complete absence of light, so how can pastels produce any color on a black surface? The answer lies in the physics of light.

While it’s true that black objects absorb all wavelengths of light, they still reflect some light to our eyes. And when it comes to pastels, it’s not the wavelength of light that matters, but rather the intensity. Pastels are very pigmented, reflecting a lot of light on our eyes. They appear bright and vibrant, even on a black surface.

With regular practice, you can produce stunning artwork. Just be warned that it can be tricky to work with at first. The key is to start with lighter colors and build up to darker shades.

How do you Blend White Pencils with Black Paper?

The main challenge in blending white pencils with black paper is that it can be difficult to see what you’re drawing. The white pencil will blend in with the black background, making it hard to create precise lines and shapes.

Start by drawing lightly and gradually build up the intensity of your strokes. By doing this, you’ll be able to see your lines better and create more precise shapes.

Draw with a white pencil on a scrap piece of paper first. It will help you get a feel for the pencil and how it works on black paper. Once you’re comfortable, you can move on to larger projects.

Another challenge is that the white pencil can easily smudge the black paper. Use a light touch when drawing, and don’t rub your hand over your artwork after drawing with the white pencil.

Do not press too hard when blending colors. The white pencil can easily damage the black paper, leaving behind permanent smudges.


Black paper art is a great way to start thinking creatively with your artwork. It can be enjoyable and free to experiment with new mediums and techniques, so why not try black paper?

With practice, you will produce stunning artwork on black paper. The principles we’ve outlined should help get you started, but don’t be afraid to experiment. We would love to see how your drawing has come out.

If you create something amazing, feel free to share it with us. We trust you have fun trying out black paper art.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which Color Works on Black Paper?

    Select light and bright hues to give your black paper a vibrant, eye-catching effect. Consider adding whites, pinks, blues, or yellows for the best contrast. Darker tones can be difficult to distinguish when placed on such a dark background.

  2. Can you use Pencil on Black Paper?

    You can utilize a pencil on black paper. Graphite or charcoal pencils can create a beautiful and subtle hue on dark surfaces. To add depth and texture to your artwork, try layering light and dark strokes of the pencil. With the capacity for corrections and blending techniques for smooth tonal transitions, this medium offers abundant creative possibilities.

  3. Does Chalk Work on Black Paper?

    Chalk works beautifully on black paper, providing a striking contrast of light and dark hues. It is essential to consider the texture of your paper when using chalk, as it influences how easily it adheres and looks bright or dimmed. You can explore specialty art supplies explicitly designed for darker surfaces to emphasize your artwork further.

  4. Is it Hard to Draw on Black Paper?

    Contrary to popular belief, drawing on black paper is not a struggle. With some practice and exploration of different tools, you’ll soon become skilled at creating beautiful works of art using black paper as the canvas. By experimenting with this unique medium, your artwork will have impressive contrast between light and dark tones, making it stand out in unique ways.

  5. How do you Draw on Black Paper with Chalk?

    Drawing on black paper with chalk is a creative endeavor. Start by selecting your preferred chalk type and ensure the surface remains neat and dry. Light strokes can create outlines that need to be filled in with more contrast for depth. Specialty art supplies can add texture and improve your artwork further. With dedication and experimentation, you will soon become an expert.

  6. What Pencils Draw on Black Paper?

    Drawing on black paper requires the perfect tool for optimal results. Graphite and charcoal pencils are excellent options because they provide deep contrasts with a wide array of hues. Additionally, oil-based pencils give you a more vivid color range that may be just what your artwork needs. Ultimately, experimenting with several types is critical to achieving the desired effect from your masterpiece.

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