One of the popular mediums used for painting is pastels. Oil pastels are pencils with an inert oil or wax as added ingredients. But unlike other mediums such as oils or watercolors where the colors are normally pre-mixed in the palette, in pastel painting, the colors are combined and mixed on the paper using a blending or overlaying technique. This way of painting produces vibrant colors on a wide range of surfaces.
If you would like to know how to paint with pastels, you could start by learning some basic facts:
- Pastels. There are soft pastels, hard pastels, oil pastels and pastel pencils that you could use for pastel painting. You should be familiar with how each of them works.
- Papers to use. Aside from the different types of pastels you could use, there is also a wide range of papers for pastel painting. These papers differ in texture from velvety to rough surfaces. There are also special papers with a “laid effect” with one side having closely spaced lines while the opposite side a little mottled. There are also papers with a texture similar to coarse sandpaper.
One of the important things to remember when choosing the paper type is the tooth of the paper. The tooth indicates the amount of pastel pigment that it is able to hold. A paper with more teeth can hold more pigments, making it ideal if you intend to paint several layers of pigment.
- Paper color. The paper color you use can affect the mood and general appearance of your painting. For instance, a dark red paper will add a warm glow to your painting while papers with pale colors give it a more subdued and softer effect.
When you are already familiar with the pastels, papers and paper color, you are now ready to make your first pastel painting. Here is how:
1. Create your thumbnail drawing on a sketchbook, applying each element on its spot.
2. You could start using a hard pastel because it is easier to use for beginners. Block in forms and shapes with a light touch. As an alternative, you could also lay down first your main color which would be the largest area in your painting.
3. For a start, you could create random strokes as you develop your own technique.
4. Once you are done blocking with a lighter stroke, you could then start filling darker and heavier strokes.
5. Blend your colors by layering different pastel pigments until you get the effects you want to achieve. When blending colors, you could use a dampened color shaper, a sharpened blender, or even your own fingers. You could also add in small swirls of colors for a better effect.
6. Refine your paintings by adding fine color details such as light in an eye, using finer tools.
7. Have one last glance at your painting, making sure that all the finer details are achieved.
It takes time before you can really master the art of pastel painting. But with constant practice and your knowledge about the basics, you will surely be good at it in no time.