View Full Version : Velour & Harrison Animals Book?

12-28-2005, 01:44 AM
I have started working through the projects in Lesley Harrison's great book, 'Painting Animals that Touch the Heart'. Really happy with velour and most of my attempts are coming out well. (Have done some very fun eyes and paws!) However-- one problem. She is one of those artists who seems to paint every single hair, and, while I don't plan to do this in the long run, am trying to emulate her as closely as possible while doing the exercises. But-- I cannot find a soft or hard pastel or pencil in WHITE to do the hairs fine enough. In fact, my white Cretacolors barely make a mark on the velour at all (other colors do a much better job). White Nupastels are better but hard to keep sharp enough. Soft pastels are hopeless for the level of detail needed (even tho she says to 'sharpen your favorite white soft pastel'). Any ideas? I need a very strong white that can be made needle sharp.

Have to say this book is making me a velour convert white issues aside!


12-28-2005, 09:48 AM
Will be glad to see the answers you get to this question! While I haven't tried velour yet, the fine detail issue is a problem for me on the various surfaces I've tried. While it's easy in coloured pencils, or even in paint, I just don't see how they do it with pastels....even the pencils blunt too much most of the time!

Glad you're enjoying your new book and the world of velour! :D

12-28-2005, 09:49 AM

I'm not into that (still). Altough I got that book for christmas.
But let me tell you something : one way to define a line or something else is to paint around it.
Get my point ?
Of course that I haven't tried this much, but it's thought.

Best regards,


12-28-2005, 11:09 AM
Hi Brad,
At least you are trying the practice projects! I jumped right into a pet commission! LOL Last night in desperation I broke my Rembrandt halfstick - the only white pastel I own! It did help, but then I had other issues. Corrections on velour are difficult and I am too scared to try the razor blade trick on it! It will be lots of practice for me before I can say I am happy with any of my pastel work.

Paula Ford
12-28-2005, 11:15 AM
Brad, Try a piece of white charcoal. Can't wait to see your animal paintings!


12-28-2005, 11:18 AM
Thanks folks. Josť, painting around lines is good- but I've found it just does not work when trying to do hair. Looks clunky-- at least the way I do it. You need the hair to look like a hair via the actual stroke. I tried to lay down white base coat and use grey strokes. Semi-successful but not quite right for white hair.

It's funny-- the velour is definitely hard to erase-- but I'm finding it fairly easy to correct by going over mistakes-- it seems to take a fair number of layers. I've tried some the exercises on Wallis too and the results are good. However the effect on Canson was not (again, the way I use pastels)

I do love the softness the velour gives the fur strokes-- if I could just get those little lines!

K Taylor-Green
12-28-2005, 11:44 AM
Erasing on velour is next to impossible, as you are finding out. A white Pitt pastel pencil, made by Faber-Castell is one of the best for making fine lines on velour. I also like to break my Nupastels. Every time I break one, I get 8 crisp sides for making fine lines. I just keep breaking them as long as it takes! The real tiny pieces are a challenge to grip, but it works.

I just bought a few Carb-Othello pastel pencils, to try out. Naturally the white one is on back order!

When I first got Leslie's book, I painted the wolf with the pumpkin, mostly because I am aquainted with the wolf. He lives in Indiana, at a facility called Wolf Park. Leslie gets a lot of her wolf reference photos there, as do I.

12-28-2005, 04:49 PM

Just a addition. Rembrandt also has a white super soft stick.
I'm saying this because Barbara said she only had one white stick and was from Rembrandt. I suppose it must be the regular one.
From the brands I've tried, white for highlights is Schmincke.

Best regards,


Piper Ballou
12-28-2005, 05:11 PM
I have done several excerises out of her book too, I love her work. she uses Girault for soft pastels and NuPastels...I have the NuPastels and they work well, also Faber-Castell works really well too. To make a fine line I break the pastel and use the side edge of the broken part. I sharpen in on sand paper.

Someone told me that you can use Canned Air to blow off a small area on velour, I have not tried that yet.

12-28-2005, 05:38 PM
Hi Brad

For whiskers I use either a CarbOthello or Derwent white pastel pencil sharpened to a fine point in an electric pencil sharpener. I find all the Cretacolor pencils are much harder than the 2 brands mentioned, and am not able to use it over top of soft pastels. The CarbOthello or Derwent should work unless the amount of soft pastel already laid down is too thick.

Another thing that I've tried, although not with as much success is to break a white NuPastel and then use a utility or craft knife to sharpen one point, forming almost a triangle. I can't get as fine a point on the NuPastel tho.

12-28-2005, 05:48 PM
Interesting- I can't get my Derwent white to put down much of a line even on the bare velour. The Nupastels are best but hardest to work with. I did find that a white charcoal pencil I have (no brand given!) works pretty well but breaks constantly.

12-28-2005, 06:19 PM
What brand of velour? I've never had that problem.

12-28-2005, 07:07 PM
It's Hahnemuhle. I must be defective or the pencil is!

12-28-2005, 10:29 PM

sharpen wonderfully in the little brass sharpeners from Dakotapastels (buy the replacement blades too, like 2 packs of em lol). once you get a white girault to the tip that you need, it gliiiides and makes a sharp, and if its worked enough a soft line..........you just have to practice.......Mrs. Harrison uses giraults mainly for her fur techniques........i emailed her a couple years ago about this issue, but i dont think her email address is the same anymore ( and no not because of me lol), but just take every white pastel you have and get the ones you dont have and experiment, thats about all you can do, if you have only nubs, crush em use a little alcohol to wet them and roll it into A new pastel.........had to do that ALOT with my nubby whites lol.....

hope that helps and i hope i havent repeated anything someone else has already mentioned

01-05-2006, 03:55 PM
Great advice from everyone, it's really funny seeing people with the same problems with fine detail. Up until I joined this forum a couple of days ago I was the only person I knew that painted, let alone pastel on velour trying to emulate Lesley Harrison!

K Taylor-Green
01-05-2006, 11:04 PM
Fingerpaint, I love your avatar!!

01-06-2006, 02:25 PM
Thanks a lot Kate (is the Avatar the one at the top?:) ). If so, it's a huge acrylic on stretched canvass, I was going for a kind of ancient Greek type of theme with it. The frame it's in really suits it, it ages it if you know what I mean?