Drawing on Wood with Colored Pencils

Colored Pencils on Wood

If you’re an artist or just a beginner who’s very fond of using colored pencils, then you must have wondered if applying colored pencils on wood is a plausible idea.

Most people who have very little experience of working with colored pencils on wood will tell you such a thing is not possible.

The internet is fraught with a multitude of instances where artists have showcased their beautiful art on wood using colored pencils. If you’re someone who’s totally into creating art that looks timeless and romantic at the same time, then you might want to check out using wood as a medium for colored pencils.

There is something so unique about creating painterly drawings on wood and using them as décor for your living space.

Before you decide to randomly just choose any piece of wood, you should know little tips and tricks to make the best decision for you. As a beginner, the best recommendation is to opt for a wooden disc that is no more than 10cm in diameter.

Wooden discs are easily available at local stationery shops or paper stores. You don’t have to worry about buying a branded wooden disc for your first couple of tries. A simple type of wood would suffice.

This article aims to focus on the variety of tips and points to keep in mind if you want to get into using colored pencils on a wooden medium.

Some of The Top Colored Pencils For Drawing on Wood

Here are some of the top colored pencils for drawing on wood.

How to Get Started On Wood Using Colored Pencils?

Colored Pencils vs. Markers:
Colored Pencils

Among the many types of wood, birch wood has been artists’ number one choice when it comes to drawing, painting, and coloring on wood. Even the connoisseurs of art have used wood as a medium to embellish their drawings and paintings in the past.

One reason for wood’s popularity, especially birch, has been its accessibility in most parts of the world. The medium doesn’t require a lot of time to be prepared and has long durability.

This is also the reason why artists used wooden mediums to paint in the earlier days and converted them into furniture for their customers. This type of practice was fairly common and preferred in previous centuries when the canvas hadn’t been introduced to the crowd.

Why Using Colored Pencils on Wood May Be Your Best Choice?

Working on wood may seem daunting at first but in reality, it’s one of the easiest mediums to work with using colored pencils.

Wood Has a Rigid Foundation

As the name suggests, wooden mediums are more rigid than other mediums such as paper and canvas. Due to its rigidity, artists don’t have to fear tearing or punching a hole through the medium.

This also provides artists with stronger support to draw and color in with colored pencils. Some wooden mediums also come with their keyholes in the back to allow you to hang them on your walls after you’ve completed working on your art.

Wood Grain Remains To Be a Timeless Background Preference

There is something so uniquely vintage and classy about working on wood with art utensils. Because of its grainy texture, the wooden medium gives artists plenty of room to experiment with different kinds of backgrounds. Woodgrain is a great option to consider if your drawings involve lots of miniature detailing and ornamentation.

There are a lot of hardwoods out there that have a beautiful grainy texture on them. You should keep in mind the nature of art you do when choosing the right kind of wood for yourself.

Moreover, don’t feel restrained and frustrated if you’re not able to decide on the spot. You can always look around and compare and contrast different woods with each other to see what works best for you.

Wood Is Easily Accessible

Wood is not just a perfect medium for anyone wanting to experiment with their art, but it is also readily available in a wide range of locations all over the world.

Wood isn’t just found in construction sites for building purposes, or in lumberyards. These days the practice of using wooden medium has not stopped but evolved into a much more beautiful art of its own.

You don’t have to go to a construction site or lumberyard to pick the right kind of wood for yourself. These days wood is easily accessible in art supply stores so you don’t have to worry about getting your wood from a distant place.

Moreover, wood is incredibly inexpensive and you don’t have to pay a lot of money even for the exotic types. They are available at reasonable prices all over the world and may range from birch to oaks to hardwoods. It’s even more cost-effective if you buy them from a lumberyard outlet.

Wood Is Durable Than Most Mediums

As discussed previously, wood is a lot more long-lasting and reliable than other popular mediums. Some of the world’s most beloved paintings are conserved on wooden mediums which is a testimonial to their permanence and durability. Even with colored pencils, wood is just as reliable as ever.

Moreover, wood also smells great so even after a long time, it will not make your art smell weird. It has a very earthy scent which gives you a feeling of being out in nature all the time. Additionally, wood is also able to stand on its own without any extra support. This also makes it a beautiful present for people who love art and keeping it as memorabilia without having to spend a lot of money on expensive drawings and paintings.

Colored Pencils on Wood

colored pencils on wood
colored pencils

Focus On Picking the Right Type of Wood

When choosing the right kind of wood for yourself, you should keep in mind the kind of colored pencils you’ll be using and the type of art you want to produce on the wood. It is recommended to focus on starting with a type of hardwood in the beginning.

Make Sure the Wood Surface Is Smooth

After you’ve picked the type of wood you’ll be using, the next thing is to ensure that the surface of the medium is as smooth as possible.

If the wood doesn’t hold its texture and appears to have an overall inconsistent feel to it, then you might want to bail on this one.

Working with a rough wooden texture is quite hard and frustrating and defeats the whole point of creating timeless art pieces. It’s also quite tiresome to focus on drawing and coloring in areas that have a jagged feel to them.

Pigmentation on Wood Looks Seamless

Wood is one of those mediums that helps to enhance the pigmentation from colored pencils. With paper, you need to create multiple layers to bring out the vibrancy of the colors. But with a wooden medium, all the pigmentation soaks up effortlessly.

With wood, you don’t need to create multiple layers to bring out a more exuberant effect. When working on wood, however, you need to consistently keep sharping your colored pencils.

This is because wooden mediums tend to absorb the pigment at a faster rate from the colors, and in the process, the colored pencils lose their sharp tip.

Therefore, it is important for your wooden surface to be as smooth as possible to avoid the pencils losing their sharpness so easily.

Colored Pencils Blend Well On Wood

Even with smooth wooden surfaces, blending with colored pencils might come across a few rougher areas on the medium. These rougher surfaces shouldn’t be demonized altogether and instead, be used to maximize the texture for blending purposes.

Areas where the wood is not as smooth as the rest can be utilized to accumulate color pigmentation to create depth and offer a more realistic effect. You can also use this step to bring the best out of lighter colors that are not easy to work with on paper as a medium.

Why Use Softer Pencils On a Wooden Medium?

Another smart decision you can make while working with colored pencils on wood is to use softer pencils to color on the surface. This decision will also be affected by the kind of wood you’re using, to begin with. Pencils with softer cores perform best on wood because they create fewer indents while coloring.

However, that doesn’t mean you can forget about firmer colored pencils. You can incorporate firm ones when you need to focus on sharp edges and accurate detailing in your art.


With all that being said, woods are an incredible medium for colored pencils. If you’re an artist who wants to experiment with different mediums, then you must add wood to your list. The workable and impressionable surface of the wood is a perfect medium for adding finer details to your art, and creating beautiful miniature paintings if you plan to focus on lesser ornamentation and capture the entire landscape instead.

Using colored pencils on wood has a few theories of its own. For instance, if you follow the direction of the wood grain as you shade in, you’ll create a lighter value than if you were to do the opposite and color in the other direction.

If you work against the wood fiber, you’ll be able to create a darker effect by roughing it up. On the other hand, you can achieve a lighter shade if you work with the direction of the wood grain.

After you’re done with your drawing, you can spray it with retouch varnish or use epoxy resins to preserve your artwork. If you want, you can also use the drawing as décor in your space or hang it on a wall of your choice.

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