I'm painting acrylic on smooth-sanded birch plywood, painting along over some pencil marks I made as guidelines. Some pencil marks are now painted over with yellow acrylic and the pencil marks still show (though lightly), while other darker paints do not have any transparency and do not show pencil marks.

I tried erasing them after the yellow dried, but the pencil marks are not working well. I'm using an eraser labeled for use on paper and film, brand says "Staedtler Mars-Plastic".

Another idea is to paint more yellow over the pencil, but at this point I've painted a layer of designs on top of the yellow background, so spot-painting more yellow will stand out/be uneven with the rest of the yellow background. Whoops - should've tried erasing the underlying pencil before continuing with the design.

Any other ways to erase the pencil under acrylic? Here are some pictures (thankfully the pencil marks are faint but look for a sine curve on the yellow):

yellow background with pencil mark under it yellow background with pencil mark under it
  • BTW erasing pencil on wood doesn't always work too well even without paint on top. You might have to try a few things, up to and including sanding
    – Chris H
    Dec 21, 2021 at 11:41
  • @ChrisH I had been having no problem erasing pencil before it was painted over, but maybe it was just a lucky combination of the pencil/wood/eraser combo I'm working with here.
    – cr0
    Dec 21, 2021 at 14:57
  • 1
    Good. If the pencil is quite soft (and softly applied) and the wood is quite hard it's much better than the other way round. Grain direction can matter too
    – Chris H
    Dec 21, 2021 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


You cannot erase it anymore. The graphite is underneath the paint, slightly mixed up in it.

The only way to get rid of the graphite is by painting over it, I'm afraid. But instead of painting layer after layer of a translucent paint, an easier option is to either mix titanium white in with the yellow, or apply a layer of titanium white first. Titanium white is one of the most opaque tints.
An alternative is to find a more opaque yellow, that is one that contains more pigment.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .