View Full Version : underpainting

06-29-2003, 05:46 PM
Can anybody help/advise me when and how to use underpainting for pastel medium. I know some people are using acrylic and/or watercolor .

I also would liketo know if the principle of using underpainting for oil medium applies to pastel.

Thank you all in advance.


06-29-2003, 06:53 PM
I think different people use it differently but I generally do a light wash of acrylic in kind of complementary tones. SOmetimes just something which I think will add to the colors I am using. I lay it down with a large brish, very loosely and almsot abstractly. WHen it is dry I just pastel right over it. There is always a bit showing through, which seems to add depth and interest to the painting.
Hope that helps!


06-29-2003, 08:01 PM
Here's a good thread on the topic of underpainting, from a few months ago: :)

06-30-2003, 04:50 AM
I really recommend that you try GOUACHE for your underpainting. Unlike acrylic and watercolours, gouache actually contains some chalk, and so it provides a really complementary surface for your pastels, grabbing them a bit. Not only that, it is opaque, and the richness you can get with the darks is wonderful under pastels.

Be careful of using acrylics thickly under pastels - they are plastic, remember, and the pastel will slip about on a plastic surface. Used very thinly, like watercolours, they won't be so plastic-y.

Another idea is to use marker pens! These don't clog up the tooth of the paper at all.


07-01-2003, 05:53 AM
wow Jackie - markers? I never thought of that!

Another underpainting idea is to do your underpainting digitally, with your computer and then (if you have pigment based ink and acid free paper) print it out, then pastel over it.
I would not suggest this for pieces you're selling (in case your printer ink ever fades!) but it makes a great piece that you can have prints made from.
It does limit you to about 8x10 though.....