Colored Pencil on Wood

At the LoLa art crawl, my husband asked me if I ever considered drawing on a wooden panel. I thought that was a wonderful idea and wanted to go to Home Depot and buy myself a nice piece of plywood right away. I quickly decided that that was too much work and visited Dick Blick online.

Of course Blick has birch panels, cradled and ready to go in different depths. The American Easel wood panels seemed to have the promise of a bit more tooth than prepared panels like claybord and similar panels. I ordered a 12×16″American Easel panel to use for my next drawing of a toad still life  and a 5×7″ panel to test my techniques on.

The boards came in and I could tell right away they were well made. Where I work, we get a lot of art on panels; they seem to be really “in” right now. I decided to try a loose landscape on the 5×7. That way I would know if they have enough gumption to hold all of the layers I like and I wouldn’t ruin the larger panel.

Here’s what I  came up with. It isn’t a great photo, but it shows that there is potential here. I used my phone, so the photo is missing detail especially in the grass. There are a lot of darks and midtones missing.  (Man, I need real Photoshop at home!)

The wood does not take the layers that my favorite substrate for colored pencil – Stonehenge paper – does, but there are possibilities mixing watercolor pencils with regular colored pencil on the wood surface. I used some Derwent Inktense with water in the sky and fields and they work very well to put pigment into the wood surface. Prismacolor and Caran D’Ache Luminacne go over the Inktense after they have dried. I found that the coverage differs among pencils in the brands I have. For example, Prismacolor white did not want to go on other layers, but their Artstix did great. Luminance in general worked OK, but the turquoise blue rocked. I need to do more experimenting, so I went ahead and bought three more 8×10″ American Easel wood panels at my local Blick’s. I don’t think these will take the OCD detail of my toad pieces, so I was thinking about either mounting Stonehenge to them or just going a bit more abstract. Either way, I like these panels and I hope to do some good experiments with them.






2 thoughts on “Colored Pencil on Wood

  1. I just bought a small cradled wood panel from Michael’s craft store and I’m experimenting with drawing in colored pencil on the panel. I noticed that the wood panel doesn’t take the layers of pencil and found your blog when searching for information. Thank you for the suggestions, I will try the Derwent Inktense pencils. I also wondered about spraying the drawing with workable fixative and seeing if I could put more layers on top.

    • I haven’t tried the workable fixative on board yet, but that is a good idea. Another thing that seems to layer a bit better over the colored pencil is the Prismacolor art stix. They and the Luminance colored pencil seem to be able t squeeze one last layer on wood that has been saturated.

      I started my second drawing on board and am finding I have to do a lot more planning beforehand, especially with the light colors. When you have a work done on board you should post it!

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