White drawing material on Black paper

Drawing With White Media on Black Paper


Reverse Drawing

Using contrast in drawings is a great way to create a dynamic image. One way of creating good contrast is by using white material or media on dark or black surfaces. White media, of course, comes in many different forms. Ink, charcoal, oil pastels, chalk pastels, and colored pencils are all types of white media used for drawing. Combine this white media with a stark black background and you've got instant contrast.  Strong contrast in a drawing usually leads to a dynamic and dramatic imagery. 

Drawing with white material on black paper does require some getting used to.  This is because most of us are accustomed to drawing with dark material on white or lightly colored paper.  This thinking has ingrained in us the need to add dark values and leave the lighter values.  When we reverse this thinking by drawing with white material on black paper, our process is the opposite. 

Now, we must train our minds to deal with the lighter values and leave the darker values to the tone of the surface.  This reversal can be challenging, but important in our development as artists.  It forces us to recognize the importance of tints (lighter values) and their inherent relationships with shades (darker values).  With practice, our understanding of value and how it is used to create drawings improves.

Drawing with white media on black paper can create stunning imagery and the drawing process itself can lead to improvement in your drawing ability.

Suggested White Media to Use on Black Surfaces

While you are virtually unlimited when choosing a medium to work with, if you are doing this exercise for the first time, I would recommend starting with a drawing medium.  Drawing mediums that work best for a "reverse drawing" include compressed white charcoal, conté, oil pastel, and colored pencils.  Work with a medium that you are already comfortable with so you can concentrate on the thought process involved in working with the lighter values.

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The following video demonstrates drawing with white media on black paper....

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