In this question about non-photo blue pencils, it is implied that non-photo blue pencil marks will not show up when scanning, or photographing, art pieces.

So, could I just use any blue pencil, or does it have to be a specific shade, or does it have to be a 'special' pencil specifically for that job?

  • 1
    Thanks, answering this question taught me something interesting! Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


It has to be a particular shade of blue.

From Wikipedia, it is apparent that non-photo blue refers to a particular colour rather than a particular kind of pencil:

Non-photo blue is a particular shade of blue that cannot be detected by graphic arts camera film. This allows layout editors to write notes to the printer on the print flat (the image that is to be photographed and sent to print) which will not show in the final form. It also allows artists to lay down sketch lines without the need to erase after inking.

Here's the code for this colour under various systems (also taken from Wikipedia):

  • Hex triplet: #A4DDED
  • sRGB: (164, 221, 237)
  • HSV: (193°, 67%, 79%)

And here's the colour itself:

non-photo blue

  • 2
    As you seen in the answer to that question, the color is irrelevant in modern applications. So, it's a specific color, but it doesn't matter now unless using specific, older graphics arts film.
    – user24
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 2:37
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    We called it "non-repro blue" when I worked at the college newspaper. Lots of rude and inappropriate things written all over the proofs, none of which were ever seen by our readers ;)
    – Erica
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 12:03

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