View Full Version : Any tips on removing pastel from paper? I made a booboo.

11-19-2015, 05:10 AM
I'm using faber castell Pitt pastel pencils, daler Rowney soft pastels and daler Rowney murano paper.... And I have well and truly messed up the colour on this dogs muzzle. I can't get any more pencil on top and I only have five daler Rowney soft pastels... Is there any way to remove the pastel without ruining the image or am I going to have to either start over or just bite the bullet and buy a bunch of soft pastels in suitable colours...

Thanks in advance! X

11-19-2015, 10:02 AM
This method takes a good deal of courage and as one of my teachers put it, a willingness to "never be afraid to mess up a painting", but it has worked for me in the past. Take a can of compressed air (the kind you use to clean computer keyboards) and attach the little straw that comes with it and use that to VERY CAREFULLY blow off the pastel in the offending area using gentle and short bursts, holding the can close to but not touching the paper. It's a tedious process and you have to be careful to avoid surrounding areas, but it will remove the pastel back to the surface - the straw allows pinpoint precision.

You can also brush off the offending area, but the canned air via the tiny straw allows for more precise removal.

I hope this helps. :-)

11-19-2015, 10:07 AM
Hoping someone else will weigh in, but what about a workable fixative? I run into this as I'm a bit heavy handed with my pastels. Impasto actually, lol! This gives me more tooth.

Moqui Steps
11-19-2015, 02:12 PM
All three methods mentioned above will work for you.

As already noted by Tammy - Canned Air or an air compressor with a small jet nozzle will remove quite a bit of pastel from the surface. I learned this by accident once.....:rolleyes: The tiny nozzle that comes with the canned air allows fairly precise aiming.

Also mentioned by Tammy - stiff hogs bristle oil painting brush can loosen up the pastels also.

I would try a combination of both to get you down to the paper.

If you don't want to remove any or just a bit of pastel then using a good fixative as noted by Jess will give you enough tooth to add more layers. Spectrafix is what I like the best.

11-21-2015, 10:26 PM
I have had good results using a kneaded eraser. Just be gentle so you don't tear your paper.

11-24-2015, 07:21 AM
If you have any safety blades, gently push the sharp side flat across the pastel surface, it will scrape off layers of pigment.

Otherwise use any of the suggestions above.

All you need to remove is a certain amount of the pastel pigment, enough to give you the opportunity to spray with Spectrafix, then rework. You don't need to get back to the paper colour.

another point worth mentioning is that you cannot really layer really well with pastel pencils. They simply carve into whatever is below. It is always best work soft over hard, and the pencils are hard.

11-25-2015, 12:07 AM
And be careful to go outside (and stand upwind) if you use compressed air!

Best, Evelyn

01-27-2016, 09:51 AM
I recently found that a microcloth makes a very good pastel "eraser" and softener. And it picks up the dust pretty well. I have been cutting pieces and wrapping them around paint brush handles or color shapers. This works quite well. I haven't tried to remove all pastel from as many layers as you are describing there, but if you try it please let us know.

01-27-2016, 11:05 AM
Dab a kneaded eraser on the area. You can form the eraser to any shape you want and bad the paper. Do not rub.