Drawing on Black Paper

I work from dark to light


I recently tried drawing on black paper – it feels like drawing a “negative portrait”
It means that instead of going from light to dark, I worked from dark to light this time.

It was totally exciting, because I was only drawing the light, since the shadow was already there.


Here are my results: I’m particularly happy with Ian 🙂


Have you ever tried drawing something on black paper before? Feel free to leave a comment!


Ian McKellen
Photo: Andy Gotts

Nikola Selezinko
Photo: Agata Serge

If you’re planning on drawing on black paper, you should know that the quality of your supplies is really important. Please do not use any cheap white colouring pencils, because you will most certainly be disappointed. To achieve decent results you will need a very opaque white crayon or chalk. I can say from my experience that oil-based colouring pencils (like Faber Castell Polychromos) will get you the best results, because they are far more opaque than regular colouring pencils. I’ve listed some of my favourite white chalks and crayons here – to help you find the right supplies!

Materials for drawing on black paper:

  • Black paper
  • Daler Rowney white soft pastel crayon
  • Conté a Paris pastel pencils
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Graphite Pure 9B
  • Faber Castell artist pastel white
  • Faber-Castell Polychromos white

Visit me on Instagram to see more portraits like these! Or hop over to my Pinterest to check out my boards.

Wishing you lots of inspiration!

In this article I’ll show you HOW TO DRAW A PORTRAIT

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