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Question: pencil for photo paper

I just received an interesting question. Can anyone help? The question is:

What type of pencil would be ideal for writing on the back of glossy photo paper?

The individual is hoping to avoid using a pen.


10 comments to Question: pencil for photo paper

  • Jim

    On real photo paper I wouldn’t use a pencil at all for fear of contaminating other prints or bruising the paper. I use an alcohol based marker like a Copic fineline. Dries quickly and doesn’t fade. I usually use a medium grey.

  • Jim,

    Thanks very much for your reply. I passed it on to the correspondent.

  • My best recommendation is to use Prismacolor pencils (black), which can be bought singly at art supply stores. They are soft, and need only a light touch for writing on the backs of resin-coated (RC) photographic paper (that’s the laminated general-use photo paper that most color prints are made on).
    I’m a professional archivist, and that’s what we use. For fiber-based photo paper, I use soft #1 pencils. A light touch means you won’t “emboss” the paper with your handwriting.

    I hope this helps.

  • Abraham, Thanks very much for the professional assistance. I’m sure it will be quite appreciated!

  • You’re most welcome !
    Any time !

    Say, does anyone know what happened with the “Pencil Revolution” web page? It doesn’t look like anyone is maintaining it.


  • dmg

    I am a photographer. The best I have found to write on any photographic surface is the Staedtler Mars Omnichrom (a grease pencil with a wood casing). They are no longer made, but I think you can still find some grease pencils with wood encasings from other companies. They write virtually on anything and they don’t smear easily. Otherwise you will have to use the Berols, which are ugly as…

    I also use a pigment liner (I like Staedlers) for photographs, but it is not a good idea to use in the back because (and depending on the image) it might be visible. They write nicely even on glossy photos.


  • dmg, thanks very much for the informed advice.

  • SA Stirling

    Regarding the black prismacolor pencil used on photos – is the verithin okay or just the regular black prismacolor?

  • cathy

    Ok, here’s the problem. The use of pencil never fades as with inks. As a trained artist I use pencils to sign my serigraphy work and ALL work for that matter. I am having some prints made and the person that is making them is using a injet printer with a matt finish paper. It is not professional for me to sign in anything other than pencil. So what pencil will work on this pape? And for that matter, does anybody have a suggested price for printing an 18 X 24 print? I think this guy is trying to stick it to me…and I am about to get p…off. I even wanted him to use my paper…which he managed to side step. Seems as though he has a price in mind that he wants and he is going to get it regardless of the paper used.

  • Hi please could you help me with regards to signing artwork with pencils. My art giclee prints are printed on a cotton paper that is quite soft. If I use a sharp pencil it sort of digs into the paper and snaps. If I use a more blunt pencil and write more gently it looks a little untidy.
    Do you have any advise on how to sign my prints.
    Michael Hunter

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