View Full Version : How to go about creating a pastel journal?

06-20-2014, 01:30 AM
Is there a way to do this? I have two small pastel paintings I created today, but other than using a hole puncher to put holes in the left sides of the paintings so I can put them in a binder, I don't know what else to do. I am afraid of the pastel smearing. Any ideas? I'd like to start a pastel journal here!

06-20-2014, 03:19 PM
Since I don't work in pastels, I'm not much help. Tho' I have seen people use fixative to keep the work from smearing. And, I've seen people use another paper between pages.

RobertSloan2 does pastels in his journals. In fact he's got a recent one posted of a rose. So, yes, it is possible. Check it out here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20123808#post20123808).

06-30-2014, 09:43 PM
Hi! If you're going to hole punch your pastel sketches, you can make a Koolbind sort of journal easily. Cut pieces of pastel paper to fit it. I would also suggest marking off a border so you're not working right to the edge, even taping the edges of the pages with masking tape.

Cut a piece of glassine or tracing paper the size of each page. Then either hole punch it to lay over it within the binder, or tape it to the top of the sheet to fold over when you're done.

For my own pastel journals, which I miss terribly, I bought wirebound watercolor journals. One of them I was taping glassine to the tops of each page to flip over it when done, priming the pages with ARt Spectrum All-Media Primer, aka Colourfix primer. It's awesome and comes in 20 colors. Painted over hot or cold press watercolor paper in 2 or 3 thin coats, it has the same surface as sanded Colourfix pastel paper. There's also clear Supertooth primer that gives a harsher tooth more like Wallis or Fisher.

You can do this with any watercolor pad or journal, though I liked hard cover wire bound journals best for it. The other one I just bought, it was a Canson Montval watercolor journal with 140lb cold press paper interleaved with 15 sheets of plain drawing paper. I just use the drawing sheets as the barrier sheets to protect the pastels and prime the paper. Paint only on one side of each sheet.

"Koolbind" is a system with binding rings and hard covers that Dakota Pastels sells, the pages are cut and hole punched from your choice of three different good sanded papers. Wallis, Colourfix and Sennelier La Carte. I don't recommend La Carte for journals because it's not safe around any water, even too much moisture in a breath can take patches of coating off that you need to repair with Colourfix primer.

What I'm doing now in my Stillman & Birn journal is just using the rough paper as it is and spraying it several light coats of Spectrafix fixative. Most of the time I use hard or firm pastels like color Conte especially, or pastel pencils. Sometimes Pan Pastels which go on any kind of paper.

This backfired in a big way because I do draw or paint on both sides of the thick 180lb sheets. I used too much Spectrafix and it puddled on a searingly pink flower sketch, carrying the color all the way through the page to come up on the face of a white rose I'd done in Pan Pastels and also used Spectrafix to seal. Whoops! Fortunately the Spectrafix is a workable fixative, so I went back in with Pans again and the same hot pink pastel pencil to turn it into a bright deep pink rose and saved the page.

This is why I don't advise working on both sides in pastels. If the back of the page hadn't already had an image it wouldn't have mattered that too much fixative soaked through and carried a ghost image. So now if I work on the backs of pastel pages I'll try to keep that to something like pen or colored pencils that won't soak through or need fixative. Also I switched to using a can fixative in the journal so I wouldn't get that puddle carrying color.

Workable fixative is not a perfect seal. There may still be some smudging. I use it all the time in regular journals for anything Conte, charcoal, pastel or just generally smudgy. I like to keep the things on facing pages in media that could stand up to being erased with a putty rubber aka kneaded eraser, in case there is any minor smudging. This usually does more to the opposing image than to the pastel itself.

You can either cut the pages of good paper to fit and bind everything first, flipping it around to get to the next clean page, or, just carry the sheets loose and work on a drawing board, then put them in the binder when done. Since you're setting up a binder approach, it might be better to do that. I chose hard bound wire bound ones to minimize the problem, the finished pages fold back under the cover so they're not rubbing against each other. I did several paintings in those before I moved, but they wound up in a box that didn't get shipped when I ran out of money. So now they're in storage at my daughter's house. I'll get them back and finish them when she ships that box.

Sometimes I'm tempted to replace them, but I'm having too much fun with the Stillman & Birn journals and do more pastels as loose sketches that wind up on my Sketchwall.

07-01-2014, 09:17 AM
Oh, thanks so much, Robert!

That was information I really needed, and I'm grateful!
I was wondering what to do with a large wirebound watercolour book I had. I had done some paintings in it a year ago, and I was very disappointed in the paper...so much that I know I'll never use it again. And for that reason, I didn't want to pass it on to someone (here, this paper is crap, wanna try it? lol).

Now I can get full use of my book by making it a pastel book. It makes sense to convert a watercolour journal, since the thickness of the paper keeps the pages from bending and dislodging the pastels.
I just have to get some Colorfix primer now. I have never used it. Do the coloured varieties cover up old artwork (my garbage paintings)? Is it that opaque? If not, I can just rip out those pages, but it would be nice to save the paper.
Do you still have to use glassine if you are using only one side of the paper?

And just out of curiosity, is Colourfix also a good primer for oil pastels?

Thanks for any advice you can give, you're the best!

*I am just pinching myself with happiness right now, I just invested in the whole set of Caran D'Ache pastel pencils. i hope they are good! I am a pastel newbie, and took some time to decide which ones to go with...I know from the few I have, that I like the softer ones. Can't wait until they arrive!

07-03-2014, 02:41 AM
Brilliant information Rob!

Yes the colour fix will cover so you will be able to re use all the pages :)

07-04-2014, 07:30 AM
Rob, thank you SO MUCH for sharing that information. I'm going to have to try this! :thumbsup: