How to cover up pencil and charcoal marks

How to cover up pencil and charcoal marks

by Shirley
(Lacey, WA)

Reader Question: I used a combination of charcoal and pencil marks on a hard canvas board that I had coated with a couple coats of gesso. I want to use acrylic in kind of a watercolor way (like Charles Harrington).

I find that I did some wrong measurement with my grid lines and some wrong lines in my redoing of the drawing in the grid. Even though I used charcoal and light mechanical pencil, it does not come completely off. I am afraid that it will show through when I do my painting. Any suggestions?

response to question

Hi Shirley,

If you are planning to use the acrylics in a thinned, watery way, then there is indeed a good chance that those misplaced charcoal and pencil lines will show through the paint.

The best thing I can suggest is to carefully paint over those charcoal and pencil mistakes with white gesso. You might have to use a small brush so that you don't accidentally gesso over the lines that you want to save.

If you have to, you can do 2-3 coats of gesso over the mistakes until they are covered up. Depending on how thinly you use the acrylics, the tone of the paint might look differently on the areas that were gessoed over, but it's hard to say.

I hope that helps! Let us know how it goes!


Comments for How to cover up pencil and charcoal marks

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 02, 2012
Next time
by: Lyall Brownlee

Next time try not doing your sketching on the canvas. Plan your whole painting, gridlines and all on a sheet of paper the same size as the canvas. When the drawing is complete and perfect transfer the finished product with no mistake lines to your canvas, panel, paper using carbon paper. I get a 36" wide roll of plotter paper from an office supply store which can be cut to most canvas sizes, carbon paper also comes cheap at an office supply store.

Feb 09, 2013
Covering pencil marks
by: Anonymous

Thank you. That is most helpful.

Mar 31, 2014
Watercolour pencils!
by: Missy

Hi there, I realise this post is fairly old, but thought I would add to it for any other readers. Sketching your design in watercolour pencil is great - an earthy tone is best - and then it just blends into the paint as you work :-)

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Acrylic Painting Techniques and Tips.

Draw Groovy, a fun new step-by-step drawing book by Thaneeya McArdle, to be published by F+W Media

Buy Draw Groovy from Barnes and Noble Buy Amazon Button Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Subscribe to Artspeak!

Artspeak is a free e-newsletter from Art is Fun!

Sent once a month at most, Artspeak keeps you up to date with all the latest articles & tutorials on Art is Fun, and shares inspiring & informative content from our sister site, The Art Colony.





Don't worry -- your e-mail address is 100% secure.

I promise to use it only to send you Artspeak.

I'm sure you will love every issue, but you can easily opt-out at any time.


Join the Art Colony!

how to draw