Four common ways to mark up wood stock and draw cut lines: lumber crayons, pencil, carpenter’s pencil and marking knife.
While woodworking crayons don’t seem to be popular, they are great to quickly markup stock and do rough layouts. A bright red mark is much easier to see than a thin pencil line. Also you can highlight high spots and plane it down until the color is gone.
A soft lead pencil is an easy way to mark a cut line, but in soft woods, the thin tip may not mark well.
A carpenter’s pencil with a well sharpened beveled edge makes a darker straighter line that’s easier to see. Make sure to keep the flat side vertical.
A carpenter’s marking knife is a great tool for not only marking the cut line quickly, but also for scoring the wood so you can get a chisel or other tool started by feel in addition to sighting the line.
Not every woodworker has a marking knife, but they certainly make a fun gift. Check out this Narex single bevel set.