Making Your First Pastel Drawing

Pastel drawing involves the use of a type of paint that comes in the form of a substance that resembles chalk. You can have hard, semi-soft, or soft pastels, and all of these are good for different pastel drawing techniques. If you are just starting to learn about pastels I would suggest trying the different types and finding out which one work best for you.

One way to use pastels is to use the end as you would a pen or crayon, making defined lines and shapes. These lines can be very expressive. The thickness of the lines in your pastel drawing can be affected by the pressure put on the pastel as you draw.

Note that,when drawing with the end of the pastel, you'll want to use your whole arm to create the strokes, not just the wrist. Long, sweeping motions are easiest to make and evaluate for viewers of your work.

Using the side of the pastels to create sweeping blocks can save time and make for a more smudged look. To get the best results from this technique, break a pastel in half - even a small piece can still be used, whether stroking from the side or creating lines. Once the pastel is worn down from this use, take one of the sharp edges and use it to learn to draw with fine lines. These techniques offer the best results in pastel drawing if you use semi-soft or soft "crayons."

Since pastels are not mixed prior to making the marks on the paper, you must learn to blend the colors on the paper. You can either use two colors close together to create the illusion of being blended, or you can blend on the paper. Traditionally, this second technique is achieved with the bare finger, though there are other methods, including putty and cotton wool. If you do use your finger, be sure to clean it after every blend so that you do not spread colors into unwanted places on your pastel drawing. You may want to keep a box of wet wipes handy for this purpose. Softer pastels are easier to blend, so anytime you don't want a fine color definition, be sure to use the softest pastels you can find.

There is another form of blending that can be accomplished, though less common and more complex. Lay your pastel drawing flat with the first color in place. Then, take the pastel that you wish to blend, hold it over the area in question, and shave off bits of the pastel that can be blended into the color already present. Use a palette knife to do this, but also be sure that the knife is entire clean to avoid contaminating any colors

Interested in learning more about pastels and how to really make them look great? Why not hop over to for more pastel drawing tutorials.

Pastel is a great, enticing medium with which to experiment, and it is fairly inexpensive. If you take the time to find your favorite method, you could be hooked for life!

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