White Pencil on Black Paper Artwork

By The Arty Teacher - November 30, 2019

Using white pencil on black paper can be really satisfying and a great way to inspire your students.  It’s a valuable way to teach your students how to create smooth shading, the importance of being able to make that shading go imperceptibly from light to dark, i.e. tonal/value scales, and how shading creates form.

It’s a good idea to start with something simple.  Art teacher Rachelle Bruce got her students to create these wonderful spheres.  I like that they created a value scale at the top of the paper.  She can really see some great teaching and learning going on here.

Rachelle then went on to get her students to draw the wonderful pumpkins below.  You can really see what they have learned being applied.  What great progression.

Below is some beautiful artwork by students of art teacher Tiffany Fox, who teaches AP Studio art.  You can find her on Instagram and Facebook as Fox’s Fabulous Artists.

Using gorgeous Prismacolor pencils to capture the sparkling reflections on transparent objects, these bright whites really zing out.  This really drags still life into this century. What wonderful work!

You may want to get your students to do direct observation, or if your students have taken photographs, you may want to give them a helping hand by letting them use white transfer paper.

My student below has used a paper that, although sold as black, is more of a charcoal grey colour.  The white Derwent pencils give a subtler look that is appropriate for the subject matter of a skull.  I love the perspective that this student has chosen and all the detail and variety of tones that they have captured.

white pencil on black paper

If you are looking for an artist that works white pencil on black, you could introduce your students to the Instagram artist ‘WhitePencilonBlack‘. Her amazing portraits are below and there are plenty more to look at on her Instagram account.

white pencil on black paper

She tells me that she uses white Prismacolor pencils and for extra white Staedtler glasochrom, and works on 140gsm black Canson paper.  I didn’ t know there was a pencil whiter than Prismacolor!  Good to know!

white pencil portrait

white pencil on black paper

I hope you’ve enjoyed these white pencil on black paper artworks.  The Arty Teacher provides quality art resources to art teachers around the globe.  Why not register to be kept informed about inspiring blog posts and new resources.


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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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2 responses to “White Pencil on Black Paper Artwork”

  1. Margaret Flis says:

    I love the pumpkin picture. I wish there were steps for doing this. I checked your website (I’m a subscriber) but I could not find this lesson.

    • The Arty Teacher says:

      Hi Margaret, As you’ve read in the blog post, it wasn’t my students who created this work. However, I’m always open to good suggestions and will set to task making a step-by-step guide to drawing a pumpkin with white pencil. It may take a while as I have resources already planned for the next few weeks.

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