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View Full Version : Does anyone work exclusively in pastel pencils?


Christinal
09-27-2013, 06:10 PM
Here on WetCanvas I mean. Just curious. I love holding pencils vs. sticks and definitely more than brushes with wet paint. I'm still exploring though.

NRC
09-27-2013, 07:01 PM
Not I .... enjoy playing with all manner of media, including ceramics. Right now I'm on a pastel pencil kick but with 120 pencils still fall back to sticks here and there.

Dcam
09-27-2013, 08:08 PM
I've thought about doing a painting only in pastel pencils and I have 3 or four brands. They just don't seem as saturated with color. I can see the possibility of small works with them though.
I have a pretty set method: Pans, sticks, pencils....all three.

Happy painting.
Derek

robertsloan2
09-27-2013, 08:56 PM
I've worked entirely with pastel pencils, about half the time if I pick them up I'll finish with them. I love my pastel pencils. Currently I'm using a set of Stabilo ones, but I have a full set of 72 Cretacolor ones back in Arkansas that I'll get back when I get the rest of my stuff shipped. They're both good.

My favorite surface for them is the same as for Pan Pastels, Clairefontaine PastelMat coated paper or Canson Mi-Tientes Touch, which has a similar surface. That or colored, unsanded papers. I use sticks on sanded papers more often and I'm not going for as much detail. I like working small with them, though I don't work that large with anything for reasons of disability logistics.

I'll go much smaller with the pastel pencils than with sticks. They are my choice for pastel ATCs, I can get enough detail to do anything I want within the tiny 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" space. I also love them for sketchbook work, where I may sometimes do smudging and blending in early layers and then texture with more marks over that.

I started with colored pencils before discovering pastels, so I know what you mean about the feeling of a pencil in your hand.

Christinal
09-28-2013, 11:46 AM
Thanks everyone. Robert, thank you for that detailed answer and especially the your paper preferences. Paper confuses me still so that's a big help.

I LOVE tiny paintings. I spend a lot of time in that area of the forum oohing and aahing. I have an image on my computer of a butterfly on some flowers and keep thinking it'd be perfect for a small pastel pencil piece.

And I hadn't even considered using them for sketchbook work!! They'd be so perfect!

allydoodle
09-28-2013, 12:04 PM
I've done a few portraits using pencils, but when I got to the background I went right for the sticks. I can't imagine doing an entire background with pencils, just too labor intensive. I also did a dog portrait using only pencils, but again, when I got to the background I immediately pulled out the sticks. I was trying to see if I could complete a painting with just pencils, but I just didn't want to. I got pretty far though.....:lol: .

I have done workshop portraits using just pencils, but it's more of a sketch than a finished painting. They work great for something like that, no mess, easy clean up.

As for tiny paintings, I've done really tiny paintings using Ludwig pastels. It was like painting with bricks on pieces the size of 3" x 4" (ish, the sizes varied a bit). It can be done without using pencils, I was pleased with the results. Here is a link to my thread showing those paintings (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=944451&page=2&highlight=sunset+northside), it was a fun exercise.

I will never give up my sticks, they're the best part of pastel painting. They are for me anyway, I admit it, I'm addicted to them.....:evil: .

Christinal
09-28-2013, 12:51 PM
Chris, those are absolutely lovely! I love the colors you used as well.

Yes, I was thinking in terms of pencils with small pieces, say 5 by 7 or less otherwise I'd be putting in a background for days, lol.

AnnaLisa
10-03-2013, 09:24 AM
Christinal, I was just thinking about the same question when I ordered
some pastelpencils to try.
I bought derwents for many years ago and I pulled them out recently and
found out that I didnt like them as much as I did when I first bought them.

So I ordered some pencils just to try them and have just ordered new ones
the other day, both Carbothello, Conté and Caran dache.
I also have some FC and Creta.

I have done a portrait for many years ago in pencils. It was of a child on a
smoth paper. I agree with allydoodle about the background. One can for instance make un underpainting first in watercolour and then when you have
drawn your subject you can just draw a Little of the background and dont fill it up totally.

Since I just love the sticks I was thinking that the pencils would be very good for use for details and when I am in an environment where I can not release
dust, for instance when traveling, the pencils are perfect or
if you are in a café or what ever. They are good also in the aspect that they
are not that dusty if you want to use them in your home, in a place where you dont have your regular place to paint.

So to end the talk, I like them for doing portraits when I dont want to get dusty. I have not yet figured out how to draw landscape with them because I need sticks then, laying them flat.

Christinal
10-03-2013, 12:42 PM
AnnaLisa, I have a set of 36 Faber-Castells but I'd like to try others. I'm going to take a beginner pastels class in October though so I want to wait and see how that goes before I spend more $$.

I was just thinking yesterday I'd like to try a watercolor background to get around the dust factor. I adore sticks, but yesterday I needed a shower after I fiddled around with them! :D

AnnaLisa
10-03-2013, 01:57 PM
Haha yes I understand what you mean, it would be great to have those vacum cleaner attached to a hole in the wall hanging out to suck out
all the dust in the room:)

One option is to use hard pastels. I like Faber C a lot because of the feel
but also I noticed that it was the brand that released less dust on the paper
when I compared the different brands of pencils.

Because of the fading issue, I only buy pencils with great lightfastness.
Of course if you dont care and you draw for your own interest its ok with what ever.

If you like pencils that are a Little bit harder then Creta is very nice. It has somewhat waxy stuff on it but you can take that off by rubbing the pencil to a
sandpaper.

Also Conté is a pencil that is not too soft, it has a harder feeling to it.

I find the Carbothello to be the softest. Then you have Caran D but it is
dubble in price. I buy it when I want colours that no one of the other have.

Lucky you who will be on a pastel class!!

Christinal
10-04-2013, 02:19 AM
AnnaLisa, thank you for those pencil descriptions! I let my impatience get the best of me and ordered samples of all those pencil brands (even a couple of Carans, which I'm hoping I don't love since they're so expensive!) this evening along with some Rembrandts. I've also got some cheap hard sticks I purchased way back when I tried this out and think I'll break them out again.

I'm going to order one of Dakota's samplers eventually.

And just resign myself to being well-showered. :D

Grinner
10-05-2013, 07:08 AM
Hello Christinal :) I don't use pencils exclusively in general, but I have on certain pieces. I love them - the catch is that (as Derek suggested) they are more transparent than sticks, not as vivid. My big lesson was to use them on a light background if I want to ensure that the colors are as vivid as they can possibly be. A dark background dulls them a bit. But they blend and layer beautifully, and can still look great on a dark background. I have Pitt, Derwent, Carbothello, and Gioconda. Of these four brands, I find Carbothello to be the smoothest. But I'm glad to have them all.

The only real challenge I have faced with pencils is getting them sharpened! I found a great link on using a craft knife, and this made all the difference for me. In case it is helpful for you, here it is (http://www.penciltopics.co.uk/page184.html), and this is a thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1317328) starting with that and including some other people's helpful tips. I hope you continue to enjoy your pencils, as well as your sticks :D

Editing to add this link to a small piece I did using only pencils (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1298413). It was on anthracite (the near black) PastelMat. Later in the same thread I post an updated version with the background blended, which opened my eyes to some of the versatility of pencils and the different looks you can achieve. Also, Chris/Allydoodle is my pastel pencil hero - she has done some GORGEOUS work with them, and looking at some of her work can help anyone interested in seeing what is possible with pencils.

Christinal
10-05-2013, 10:46 AM
Hi Grinner and thanks for those links and I'm drooling over those beautiful points. They're a work of art in and of themselves! I've saved both links to thoroughly browse later. I love the comparison of using a dull pencil being like doing watercolors with a broom. So true. I find myself struggling and bumbling along and finally I'll think "Sharpen your pencils, for goodness sake!!"

Your banana is AWESOME! Yes, I have noticed the dulling over a dark surface, but your banana certainly doesn't look dull. That's very encouraging. :D

And now I'm off to search Allydoodle's work. :D

gixerman
10-05-2013, 03:53 PM
Heres a drawing i done using just pastel pencils, the old set of derwent ones. Like the original poster i just love using pencils to.
Anyway i was pleased with what you can achieve with these pastel pencils. This drawing was the first and only drawing using this set of pencils and thought it might inspire so people to pick them up more, which is something i should probably do to lol.
Anyway the drawings along a different line of thought, to say the least lol.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2013/167847-wet_1.jpg

Christinal
10-05-2013, 04:32 PM
Gixermand, AWESOME! Your sky and water are especially amazing. How big is this? What's it on? I'm wondering if it's on a dark background specifically.

gixerman
10-05-2013, 04:47 PM
Hi Christinal, thx. The drawings about A2 possibly a little bit smaller and its drawn on sanded white paper

robertsloan2
10-06-2013, 03:00 AM
Grinner, thanks for linking to your banana! It's beautiful. I like it better with the blended background and if you want to tweak those two dark spots, I'd go in very lightly with the pencil again (blue maybe) to lighten them. Did see what you were talking about. Very tricky to do that. Gorgeous, gorgeous fruit with such wonderful details and textures.

Gixermand, love this painting! Fantastic illustration. The clouds are so electric and full of color too, not just the lightning but the sky in it is glorious. The being looks alien and magical. Incredible image of a very powerful figure, I keep thinking there's a good story too! Did you just imagine this as an image or have you also written a story or novel?

gixerman
10-07-2013, 03:56 PM
Hi robertsloan2. Im glad you like it. You are kind of right, in a certain kind of way,about there being more to it than just an image. The image did come first but from this image i have sort of imagined a story and a world behind the picture. I have lots of ideas for other drawings but unfortunatly i only draw about once a year lol. It has a lot to do with motivation more than anything, which i know is a very poor excuse and i kind of feel im letting myself down somewhat. Things might change though if i had more time to devote to being creative lol.

Grinner
10-10-2013, 02:05 AM
Gixerman, fantastic piece!

Christinal and Robert, thank you very much! (And thanks, Robert, for the suggestion - might try that.)

Christinal, this is the piece (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14586722&postcount=363) by Allydoodle (in a thread from 2012) that totally transformed my view of what was possible with pastel pencils. That link takes you to post #363 (the finished piece) in what is quite a long thread, so I cut to the chase for you. But I encourage you to click on the thread title on the top right to view the entire WIP when you have the time.

Christinal
10-11-2013, 12:24 AM
Grinner.....WOW! I had no idea! Off to read the whole thread....

Mettaphorica
10-12-2013, 01:54 AM
Hi Christina
there many artists who use pastel pencils exclusively. Colin Bradley is one that comes to mind - he has a great following for his animal portraits and tutorials. Look him up. I agree though that they don't seem to have the same colour saturation. I started doing a mountain lion in pencil; then wound up going over it in pastel sticks for vibrancy. The darks are just not as dark, the lights just not as light. I do still use them though, for detail and for bits where a larger stick won't get into.

I think it's normal if you are starting out to enjoy and feel safer with pencils, whether that be pastel, coloured, charcoal or other. I know I did. Pencils offer the safe feeling of better control and attention to detail. Of course you can achieve detail with larger sticks - it''s a matter of experience and feeling confident. I know I started out with coloured pencils and graphite because of this safe feeling, then gradually drifted over here to pastels as I gained more confidence and enjoyment of the looser way of working. I still use them, just not exclusively - and it's okay to use just those if you enjoy it.
cheers
Donna

allydoodle
10-12-2013, 01:45 PM
Also, Chris/Allydoodle is my pastel pencil hero - she has done some GORGEOUS work with them, and looking at some of her work can help anyone interested in seeing what is possible with pencils.

Christinal, this is the piece (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14586722&postcount=363) by Allydoodle (in a thread from 2012) that totally transformed my view of what was possible with pastel pencils. That link takes you to post #363 (the finished piece) in what is quite a long thread, so I cut to the chase for you. But I encourage you to click on the thread title on the top right to view the entire WIP when you have the time.

I just caught these comments Grinner, thank you so very much :heart: . You made my day really, such a nice thing to say, I truly appreciate it. Your banana is great, I don't know how I missed it in the Gallery. I must not have been on the computer for a few days when you posted it..... beautiful work!

I agree though that they don't seem to have the same colour saturation. I started doing a mountain lion in pencil; then wound up going over it in pastel sticks for vibrancy. The darks are just not as dark, the lights just not as light.

Just a bit of information about colors and values in pastel pencils.... I have found if you have a large selection of pencils, meaning different sets, you will end up with a better range of colors/values. Each manufacturer's version of a color is different, so it's worth it to have as many as you can. Because I have full sets of Carb Othello, Gioconda, Conte, and Derwent (I have the old set of Derwents with full value ranges of each color, I don't think they make it anymore). I don't find I am lacking in values or colors. Also, I find working on Wallis paper seems to bring out the best in the pastel pencils, the colors just grab and hold really well. The sticks do have more "punch", that's for sure, but you can get really nice results using just the pencils, different but still really nice. I do prefer my sticks though, I admit it :D .

Grinner
10-12-2013, 02:21 PM
Chris, you're quite welcome! And you actually didn't miss the banana - that link is to the Still Life forum where I crossposted it, but you did offer some lovely words in the Pastel Gallery :) Thank you for those, and for these.

allydoodle
10-12-2013, 03:14 PM
Chris, you're quite welcome! And you actually didn't miss the banana - that link is to the Still Life forum where I crossposted it, but you did offer some lovely words in the Pastel Gallery :) Thank you for those, and for these.

Ahhh... now I see, this link was a from the still life forum. I went back and took a look at the pastel forum posts and now I see your banana, I thought I remembered it, but I was at a loss as to why I didn't respond.... I thought I did but I didn't see my comments... Thank you for clearing that up, I thought I was going crazy :lol: . And you're very welcome, it is one beautiful banana!