View Full Version : Eye and Lips study - lesson 1 & 2 from Learning Center

05-18-2017, 04:38 AM
Hi all,
first of all I'd like to introduce myself, I'm Natascia but you can call me Nat :)
I'm totally new here, I introduced myself on WetCanvas forum few days ago, and this is my first post here in the Pastel Forum.

I'm also new to drawing and painting, I've always considered myself a total disaster at drawing, and so did my art teacher :lol:
But I decided that I wanted to learn something, so I started drawing with the "drawing with the right side of the brain" book and I became addicted to the sensations :)

I have a friend who is sooooo good at pastels, and I love the effect, so I bought the cheapest pastel set I found at the mall, and tried it, with total disaster results, till I found some youtube tutorial and this forum...you all be blessed, this is soooo wonderful, so precious and useful for beginner!

I followed lesson 1 and 2 of the Learning Center, but couldn't post there so I hope this is the right place to post my attempts to reproduce the lessons!
I am using Mungyo cheapest 24 pieces set that was a gift (soft), and the set I bought, 12 Conté pastels (quite hard if compared to Mungyo), on sketchbook paper for the eye, and the Strathmore sketchbook toned gray for the lips. All very cheap materials, but being a beginner I don't want to invest until I get some confidence with the medium and I know what I want to do.

The eye from Lesson 1:


The lips from Lesson 2:

C&Cs of course welcome!

Thanks again for this forum, this is more than I ever thought I could achieve!

05-18-2017, 08:55 AM
Nat, Welcome! Yes, this is the place to post your drawings and paintings in pastel! Glad you have found the learning center (yes, you can't post there - that forum along with a few others are older, archived threads). The two active forums under Pastels are this one and the Soft Pastel Talk forum - which is for questions and discussion about Pastels. The Soft Pastel Talk forum also has our monthly activity thread called The Spotlight - which has a theme each month - that might interest you!

Both of these studies are very well done! I hope you will continue on! You are doing great!


05-18-2017, 12:03 PM
Hi Don,
wow compliments from the Professor himself, such an honor, thanks so much!
Thanks for the warm welcome and help, I saw the Spotlight, and I also like the Spring theme, but I have no time at all from here to the end of the month - going on holidays, I'll pick up the next month's theme :)

I am loving the pastels, I'm also thinking to buy a better set, I put my eyes on the 90 half Rembrant, do you think that could be a good start?

I hope for the next time I can blend the colors using less layers, and get the values better, that is sooo hard for a beginner! But I love this thing that you can use 2-3 colors to reproduce the values and everything looks correct even if the colors are "not correct" ! looks like a magic :)


Donna T
05-18-2017, 12:03 PM
Welcome to the Pastel forum, Nat! Your work looks really good! I hope you will treat yourself to some good quality pastels and try all the kinds of papers available. It is so much fun to experiment!

05-18-2017, 12:48 PM
Thanks Donna! Sooo excited to have the appreciations of masters like you :) I am not really good at drawing, I never thought I was, but I seem to have a feeling with pastels, I just love them! And yes experimenting is so fun, the grey paper was such an amazing discovery!

I am also trying watercolour, but it is so much difficult! I love the transparency though, but pastels for realism is what I love the most!

Do you think as I asked Don that the 90 half Rembrandt would be a good starter choice? It seems that almost everyone kinda starts with Rembrandt, I don't want to actually invest in super expensive brands as Sennelliers for the moment, though I recognize that the Mungyo are really cheap quality if compared even to the Conté. (guys I have just started and have read the whole brand discussion, I am a great lurker :D )

Thanks :)


05-18-2017, 12:58 PM
You are doing extremely well so far :clap: so go with the Rembrandts....they're the work horses for most pastellists.:wave:

water girl
05-18-2017, 01:34 PM
Welcome! Don't doubt yourself, because you are doing quite nicely. It's all practice, until the "ah ha" moment, when you think, "I've got this!!!" Not to confuse you, but Mungyo does make an extra fine soft (round sticks) set or two. Lastly, if you buy a set with whole sticks....break them in two. As a newbie, I would never do that. I liked to look at those pretty sticks, all neat and clean. :lol: :lol: :lol:

05-18-2017, 03:14 PM
There are certainly many nice sets out there. Like many, my first set was a half-stick of Rembrandts, so you can't go wrong with them. It is hard to recommend pastels to someone because the range of soft to hard is quite wide in pastels. Some brands are much softer - the Rembrandts are on the harder side. Personally, when I was first starting out, I found the harder pastels much easier to work with, but many prefer the soft brands. If it is possible to visit an art store that sells pastels in your area, see if you can try some out and see which you might prefer. Sennelier makes some nice half stick pastel sets as well - and they are much softer.

In some ways, pretty much any brand is fine, so if you can get a good deal on a set that has a good range of colors, that would probably be a good idea.

Don (not actually a Professor, but I pretend to be one on the internet!) :lol:

05-19-2017, 02:56 AM
Thanks to everyone for your support, it is really a great motivation...though last night I betrayed pastels for a watercolor :D
Thanks for your suggestion, I found a good deal indeed with the 90 Rembrandt set, a second hand but in very good condition plus some tools, papers, and other few pastels and carbothellos! My bundle is going to arrive next week, so as soon as I come back from holidays I'm going to try it and let you know how it's going!

Don, indeed I found it easier to work with the harder, I'm actually using the softer a lot, I mean the mungyos, cause I have only 12 hard conté and I miss so many colours, and I couldn't reproduce the values correctly with those (or it was very hard :D ). But I feel I have much more control of the harder. And at the moment you are my Professor :D

You are all such a great inspiration, I'm visiting your websites, Leslie, I am so fond of your "brushy" gentle touch, your trees and snow landscape are so beautiful and true with a sort of a magical fairytale fog!
Karen, omg at that Lunch at Fig Tree Cafe! Stunning to say the least! Like all your glasses and jars, it's impressive! While the Front Door is one of my favourite color, it reminds me of the colors of thefront doors of the mediterranean countries like I saw in Tunis.

Thanks, and see you soon, I will keep on posting my studies and trials, I really hope to grow my skills with pastels with your help :)

05-19-2017, 07:47 AM
Studies such as this go a long way to growth in your work! Welcome and Thanks for posting. The features are very important forms in portrait- once you've mastered the parts, the whole is much easier, so keep up the good work.

05-24-2017, 10:10 AM
Nat, welcome! As a beginner, I think your job is very good. Already it is perceived that you take advantage of the transparency of the pastel to achieve effects, something that only with some practice is reached. I hope you continue practicing and posting your works.

05-29-2017, 04:51 AM
Hi, thanks to everybody for the warm encouragement words, I am so happy that you find something good in my studies and it really motivates me to go on!
Ken and George I love your works too, George I saw your process of the "Path in the brazilian forest", wow, amazing, and I love your bright greens!

I came back yesterday from my holidays and I found the Rembrandt set on my table (bought 2nd hand before leaving), so I couldn't help but try them!
Ok I totally love them, they are not as hard as I expected, I feel they are totally right for me at the moment, and the colours are just wow, so bright and so many shades!!!

So I did anotehr study, I tried to reproduce Don's eyes and nose experiment, using his same colours more or less, but uhmm after taking the pic I see so many errors, the eye line is...not a line.

I had lot of struggles for the "shapes" as Don says, I found it difficult to avoid straight lines in small spaces, but I hated the effect of totally straight lines so I tried to create some movement ath the edges of the shapes. I struggled a lot on the tip of the nose with the shades and values. I worked that part a lot and I don't really like this, I love how Don worked the whole painting so little that you can see the paper underneath.

Hope you can understand what I said, english is not my mother language and I don't really have an "art vocabulary" in english :D

Here's the study, C&Cs very welcome!

05-30-2017, 03:30 PM
Nat, I think this looks good! Despite your "struggles" ( I don't notice them) you have clearly defined the shapes using light and shadow! The values of the nose look very good! And so do the other parts!

It is very good to try and avoid straight lines as most "lines" in a portrait or figure (or even a landscape) will not be completely straight - and a slightly curved or irregular line is more "artistic"!


06-05-2017, 06:17 AM
Thanks Don - as a retrospective finding the nose values seemed nothing if compared to values of trees and bushes lol!
I'm trying to work more with pastels "on the side" and not "on the tip" when possible to avoid straight lines.