Pencil on Canvas

by Dina Kowal

Learn how to blend colored pencils on canvas panels.


  • Canvas panel or gessoed sheet (Dollar Tree brand canvas panel used here)
  • Hybrid ink (must dry on canvas and be compatible with your blending method - Impression Obsession black hybrid ink used here)
  • Stamps (Impression Obsession WP835 Peony Set and WP915 Fred Said used here)
  • Colored pencils, oil or wax based (Polychromos pencils used here)
  • Supplies for blending (odorless mineral spirits and paper stump, rubbing alcohol and paint brush, alcohol blender marker, water and brush, blender pencil, Finesse blender marker or Dove or Stampin' Up!® blender pen)
  • Sandpaper block (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Choose a test canvas panel or a piece of prepared canvas (coated in gesso). Scribble some colored pencil swatches onto the canvas and experiment with different ways of blending. Each method has a different result. You may want to test your inks on the panel as well, to be sure they will not bleed with your solvent of choice.

    Used here (left to right):
    Generic odorless mineral spirits blended with a paper blending stump
    91% rubbing alcohol blended with a flat paint brush
    Colorless blender pencil
    Copic blender marker (Finesse, Dove or SU Blender Pens will also work)
    Water blended with a flat paint brush

  2. Step 2

    Stamp onto the canvas using a hybrid or permanent ink. (Be sure the ink is compatible with your blending method.)

    Canvas panels are about 1/8” thick and fit nicely in stamp positioners for use with clear stamps.

  3. Step 3

    Choose wax or oil based colored pencils to color your image(s). To begin for the sample, here are a light, medium, and dark pencil for the flower petals.

  4. Begin by coloring over the full area with the lightest color. This is a quick and easy ‘scribble’ – stay in the lines, but don’t worry about perfection since the color will be moved when blended.

  5. Step 4

    Blend the first layer with your method of choice. Odorless mineral spirits were used here for an even base layer of color, applied with a blending stump.

  6. If using a blending stump, clean and sharpen as needed with a sandpaper block. Pull the stump down the length of the block at an angle, rotating each time to recreate the point.

  7. Step 5

    Add shading if desired, when the panel is dry. For a floral image, shading begins at the base of the petals, blending out to the edge.

    Areas that are hidden behind something
    Areas that are lower
    Areas that are farther away or curving away

  8. Blend the first layer with your method of choice.

  9. Step 6

    Repeat with the darkest color.

  10. Step 7

    Repeat the above steps with the remaining color areas in the image.

  11. Step 8

    Mix it up! For the background on the panel, I took advantage of the watercolor-like properties of the blending done with rubbing alcohol. I like the softer brushed look and the texture that remains. (I added a layer after this one and blended with mineral spirits for more saturated color around the flowers - you can see that in the finished photo.)

  12. Step 9

    Add any embellishments or additional stamping that you wish to complete the project.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Pencil on Canvas. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

Looks like fun. Don't think I have any canvas panels but will look. I know they have some up at Dollar general if I can't find any here.
muscrat  |  Mon Sep 27, 2021 at 7:29 PM

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