View Full Version : WIP - Experiment with Pastel Pencils

07-12-2017, 07:37 PM
Hi all -
I am really enjoying your pastel forum - there is some beautiful work here! Thought this would be the place to post - I'm experimenting with pastel pencils and learning lots from mistakes along the way!

If you have some wisdom or feedback you wouldn't mind imparting, I'd love to hear it. (C&C welcome). What I am struggling with - I'm brand new to pastel pencils and actually pretty new to drawing in general. I'm a little frustrated with the loss of detail when I add color. Also, finding blending a little tricky - I'm using a tortillon stump, which definitely helps but still is ending a bit grainy.

Also, I'm finding the boats challenging - haven't totally gotten the hang of foreshortening yet.

I have a long way to go on this still. Let's see if I can figure out how to upload properly....

Anyway - this was initial sketch - started out with graphite before realizing these were not compatible - will alter next time. Sorry - my pic was not the best - trying to improve.


Next iteration, filled out left side:

Started putting in some color and attempting to define some light sources:


This is sort of where I'm at now - just beginning to put in some shading in the front left - still not done with color in other parts. Other buildings looking a bit cartoon-y :-)


Closer up on part where I'm currently working on detail:


That's all for now :-)

water girl
07-12-2017, 08:13 PM
First of all, welcome to the Pastel Forum. It's quite a supportive and sharing group, if you ask me. For starters, I think your perspective looks good, and the boats look fine. Don't worry about the graphite, next time use a pastel or charcoal pencil. It's all about experimentation and practice. Which paper are you using? Canson is relatively inexpensive. If you like cityscaptes, the smooth side, rather than the textured side will be a better fit. Later you can try some of the sanded papers.
Be sure to add your updates to this thread. Keeping your WIP all in one place is best. If you ever have a tech problem, or want something changed, you'll see a red triangle in the upper right hand corner of your thread. That is the "help" button. Click on that, type in your question or concern, and one of us will help you. Please enjoy the journey. Art is a constantly changing process.

07-12-2017, 08:41 PM
Hi and welcome! I think you're doing a great job so far. Having the buildings lean in as you have done definitely helps the eye. I am eager to see how this progresses. Do you also work with other types of media (acrylic, oils, water color...)?


07-12-2017, 08:43 PM
Thanks for the feedback Karen!
This is Canson 140 lb Cold press watercolor paper. I'm using the rough side, though, so that is probably my blending issue - I will try the smooth side next time - thanks!!

07-12-2017, 10:20 PM
Hi Aly--thanks for stopping by and the feedback :-)
Not really yet. I'm pretty new to this--drew a tiny bit as a child but have only picked it up as a hobby the past couple/few months maybe? I have been messing around just with graphite before. Now working with the pastel pencils and will probably incorporate regular soft pastels into the sky. I have a few colors of gouache that I'm intending to muck about with as well but haven't really done so yet.

Do you work with any other than pastel?

water girl
07-12-2017, 10:35 PM
The Canson paper I've used for pastels is Canson Mi Tientes. It comes in many colors. I prefer gray.

07-13-2017, 12:23 AM
Okay - interesting - it looks like they sell that in individual sheets too. Maybe sometime I can check them out in some colors. I can't decide if it would be daunting to potential wreck a nice piece of paper - or if it would be a relief to start with something that wasn't a blank white sheet :lol:

Donna T
07-13-2017, 09:58 AM
Hi and welcome to the forum! Wow, what a great scene you have started! Looks like you are pretty comfortable with those pencils. Working on a toned surface helps me judge the values more easily and I don't have to fight the little specks of white that don't get completely covered. When you finish this one I hope you'll keep experimenting with different papers and underpainting possibilities. Not to rush you on this one though ... I think it might take a while to finish!

07-13-2017, 01:33 PM
Thanks Donna!
Yeah - I think this one might be in the works for a while - I'm pretty slow :lol:
This whole concept of using colored paper is really interesting - it isn't really something I've thought of doing. Up until now I haven't really worked with color and particularly have always thought of it as adding darker colors to light paper, not adding light tones to darker paper. This is definitely intriguing!

How are the toned papers for erasing? I seem to make liberal use of various erasers (for corrections, blending, moving pigment around, etc.) Do you find that it damages the paper at all? (more than with white)

07-19-2017, 08:38 PM
Got a bit more work done on the left side..

07-19-2017, 09:21 PM
Looking good, kc.

One thing to consider. Your 2nd boat on the left needs less bottom of the boat and more gunwale on the inside you can see. Gunwale are the sidewalls.

07-19-2017, 10:59 PM
Thanks Aly! - I will try what you are suggesting.

I've tried to fix that boat twice now to no avail, so I've been studiously ignoring the little bugger for a few days until divine inspiration strikes :lol: I think that the fix you are suggesting is a good one that will take care of the problem. I appreciate the help!

Right now he looks kind of like the port side of the bow is rising out of the water :-)