View Full Version : Using colored pencils over soft pastels

08-15-2015, 07:46 AM
I'm new to soft pastels and am having trouble getting fine lines. I don' like pastel pencils, they are so scratchy and unreliable. :oDoes anyone know if Faber Castell polychromos pencils will go over soft pastels?

water girl
08-15-2015, 04:56 PM
I don't think so. There are polychromo pastel sticks that are square, so would have a nice edge. If you want black or white lines, consider white and black charcoal pencils. Fine lines are difficult, but when I want a fine line I use a ruler. Lay it down on the left of your pastel pencil, run the line, then reverse it for the other side. I hope that works for you.

08-15-2015, 08:54 PM
What i tested Caran d'ache product sample about pastelpencil to me is not what i used scratchy at all. same i think i can say for faber-castells but they have too many fugitve colours. even Talens ones are not scratchy. but first ones are very creamy to my taste. only reason why i dont use them is i cannot shatpen thm itself (i avoid using knife) and saddly one important (to me i mean) hue has problematic pigment.

Mike L
08-15-2015, 11:04 PM
Nupastel are hard pastels in slim square sticks and make very neat and fine lines. Plus, they won't kill most bank accounts.


08-15-2015, 11:25 PM
Cretacolor Pastels Carre are hard pastels, not too expensive and nicely lightfast. Those go well with soft pastels for detail. I tend to sharpen by sketching flattening one side down into a chisel shape for tiny details.

Moqui Steps
08-16-2015, 12:40 PM
Pretty much the only thing that will easiy go OVER unfixed soft pastels is more soft pastel and you may need to move to even softer sticks as the layers increase. You can put a fixative on the softs and apply finer strokes over them, but the fixative can change the way they look substantially as they tend to melt down into the paper when they get wet by enough fixative to stabilize them to allow hard strokes on top.

This is because you are painting / drawing on top of a fluffy pile of dust. As you have probably learned, using a hard on top of soft tends to scrape off the soft pastel below from the pressure required to get the pastel to stick and it is very difficult to get the color to stick once the tooth of the paper is filled. You need to press significantly harder with a harder pastel to get the same amount of color transferred to the paper as you would with softer ones.

Soft pastels also will not hold a sharp point or corner for very long of a stroke which makes it even more difficult to do fine lines. For more detailed work, especially when working small, you may want to stick to smoother papers, pastel pencils, hard and the semi-hards like Nupastel, Cretacolor, Mungyo Semi-Hard and Polychromos, saving the softies for the final touches of rich color on top. Even with the hards and semi hards you may have difficulty in drawing a fine line over multiple thick layers of color. The paper you use can also greatly impact how finely you can lay down thin / preciselines.

Finer textured paper and harder sticks = ability to draw finer lines.

08-17-2015, 04:27 AM
Thanks so much everyone for your advice on getting fine lines. Will try those suggestions:)

08-17-2015, 05:50 AM
In my limited experience with pastels I have kept the shards of pastel when I have broken my sticks, these have been quite fine and I used them on edge by hand or with tweezers

08-17-2015, 08:40 AM
You CAN make fine lines with soft pastels. It just takes lots of practice really. If you're doing a straight line and have square sticks (or sticks which have been given and edge by use) you can carefully lay that edge where you want your line and press...more pressure and a bit of manipulation gives a thicker line. You can break your pastels to give you sharp edges to make those fine lines. If I do a line which is too thick I simply go up to it with the background colour to thin it down a bit. Practice makes perfect!

08-17-2015, 04:39 PM
Another alternative for fine lines is to use either white or black charcoal pencils. Of course, if you are looking for a specific color than that won't work. However, if you need black or white, I do recommend giving it a try, it works like a charm :D

08-18-2015, 12:44 AM
I recently had success with the sharp edge of nupastels going over soft pastel to give flick like strokes for thin lines like in grasses, however, as all said, the only sure thing is to use softies. I tried the nupastels after seeing the suggestion I believe on Karen Margulis' blog.