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View Full Version : Colored pencil on top of soft pastels


Sarosna
10-10-2014, 04:41 PM
I'm sorry if this has been discussed before. I tried to search for information on this but couldn't come up with anything specific.

Basically I'd like to use colored pencil for coloring my artwork but they're frustrating to use when you have to color a larger area or when you want a really smooth finish. I tried watercolor under painting before but I'm no painter.

So how about soft pastels? I've been eyeballing Rembrandt's pastels for a while now.

From what I've read, soft pastels work very well as an underpainting for CP but you need to fix the layer first. I have some Winsor & Newton fixative and it should work fine for that, right?

What I'm wondering is that will my Faber Castell Polychromos pencils work on top of the pastel layers? I kept reading things about wax pencils. Since Polychromos are oil based, does this mean that they wouldn't work?

*Deirdre*
10-10-2014, 07:51 PM
Minna...I've moved your thread to Pastel Talk as that's where we discuss pastel related subjects...but don't worry, I left a redirect, just in case!:)

*Deirdre*
10-10-2014, 07:58 PM
Minna - I think you might stand a chance of using pastel as an underpainting with either spirit or water...obviously the water would take longer to dry, then use your CPs - I don't know about fixative as I rarely use it...but someone else will be able to answer that.:D
Personally, as pastel is pure pigment I would think the dissolved pastel would work just like watercolour paint, therefore wouldn't need fixing...:crossfingers:

robertsloan2
10-11-2014, 04:20 AM
I think if you want to block in large areas of color, a good choice would be to wash them in with rubbing alcohol or water. Most pastels will dissolve in water, it turns into something like gouache. Experiment on the paper first to see what works for you. Drinking alcohol like a cheap vodka might also work, it's what goes into Spectrafix casein fixative. If you use Spectrafix concentrate the painted layer will become rock hard and not move around when you work over it. I read about a pastel painter doing that on another thread but can't remember the title.

Conceivably it could work to just finger blend the pastel area and rub it in well enough to regain the paper tooth.

Rembrandt pastels are medium soft and a good choice if you want to branch out into pastel painting as itself too. I came to pastel from colored pencils and over time loosened up from realism to impressionism, they're very powerful and effective. The instant gratification can become overpowering.

Sarosna
10-11-2014, 08:44 AM
Thank you both :) I guess I need to just try it out and see how it goes. I saw an artist on DA who uses colored pencils on top of pastels and she seems to just rub the pastel in lightly. I've been thinking about using the pastel dust and applying it with a paint brush.

I think I'm going to try out the Faber Castell soft pastels first and see how things go. I can always upgrade to the Rembrandt pastels if I feel the need :)

If applying colored pencil on top doesn't work out well, I guess I could always add pastel pencils into the mix.

allydoodle
10-11-2014, 09:40 AM
Have you thought about using pan pastels as the underpainting for your color pencils? They are somewhat transparent, and can go on much more thinly than the sticks. I would think the color pencils might push the sticks around rather than go over them (unless you just rub them in lightly.) Pan Pastels can be mixed somewhat like oils, you could get some nice effects. Maybe try just a few to see if you like them.

I agree with Robert about Rembrandts, they would be a good choice if you want sticks. Another possibility is Cretacolor, they are harder and are lghtfast.

Sarosna
10-11-2014, 11:12 AM
Have you thought about using pan pastels as the underpainting for your color pencils? They are somewhat transparent, and can go on much more thinly than the sticks. I would think the color pencils might push the sticks around rather than go over them (unless you just rub them in lightly.) Pan Pastels can be mixed somewhat like oils, you could get some nice effects. Maybe try just a few to see if you like them.

I agree with Robert about Rembrandts, they would be a good choice if you want sticks. Another possibility is Cretacolor, they are harder and are lghtfast.

Pan Pastels are INSANELY expensive :eek:

Muffin_4377
10-12-2014, 02:34 PM
Hi there,
If you go with the pastel route, you will have to either wet them down or really work them into the paper, so the coloured pencil doesn't just scrape off the under laying colour. But the act of experimentation is always fun and can always lead to other ideas:)

But here's another option for ya if the pastel route doesn't work for ya:

http://www.prismacolor.com/products/colored-pencils/art-stix

Never used them myself, so I don't have a review for ya, but I bet those in the CP forum would have some info on them. :)

Oh and word of warning.....if you do end up with getting some pastels, they are highly addictive and lead to the purchase of more, and more, and more. And all of a sudden you will forget you even worked in other mediums.....MAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

robertsloan2
10-12-2014, 03:52 PM
I have Prismacolor Art Stix and do recommend them for the colored pencils level of it. That's what they are - Prismacolor Premier core material in 48 colors in stick form, waxy firm sticks with exactly the soft translucence of Prismacolor Premier pencils. You can cover large areas with them using them as colored pencils. I like to wear the end down to a chisel tip so I have corners for fine tiny details and a broad flat area to lay down smooth tonal layers. I start with one edge and wear that down till the tip's at an angle. The sharp edge at the top can then become a very fine line if needed.

Cretacolor Pastels Carre' might be a very good lightfast choice for pastel underpainting. Lightfast, inexpensive and lasting, they have a bit more filler and less pigment than the Rembrandts but their firm texture lets you draw with them like with charcoal. Be sure they're rubbed in firmly before going over them with colored pencils. I'd just finger smudge but that's because I like finger smudging pastels. A soft white tip Colour Shaper is just as good and a little easier to get and keep hard edges with.

Or the Kemper Wipe Out Tool (http://www.dickblick.com/products/kemper-wipe-out-tool/) from Blick. It's like a Colour Shaper with two different tips, but cheap, a very good blending tool for soft pastels or oil pastels or of course oil paints. It might even be used to burnish colored pencils though I haven't tried it for that since I use a colorless blender pencil.

Cretacolor Pastels Carre' are also among the brands that can be washed with water, I think. Heck, I'll test that right now. I had mine handy and laid in some yellow and orange big strokes to underpaint an apple as if for colored pencils - yellow and orange are good colors to put under red, while the lighter yellow side will have a bit of limepeel green in it by a hue shift. If doing it for pastels I might have done complements or done the shadow side in purple, but for colored pencils underpainting I'd want the best color to shine through translucence, yellows always brighten reds.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Oct-2014/70184-10-12-2014_Apple_1.jpg
Apple underpainting
Cretacolor Pastels Carre' washed with water
Aquabee Hemp Multimedia Drawing Paper

Water applied with a Niji waterbrush dissolved the color completely and I was able to move it around easily. I'll actually paint over this with pastels when it dries, maybe complete it with Cretacolors since they're handy. Or go from Cretacolors to Rembrandt if I want more layers, at least just add a softer white for the white highlight with a Ludwig near-white. I didn't underpaint the shadow, though I will lay out shadows when I get back to it, want some softness to the shadows.