View Full Version : Pastel Newbie

03-12-2002, 05:02 PM
I have a set of Rembrandt pastels, a set of oil pastels, and a couple sets of Conte sticks that someone tells me are pastels.

My questions...and I know these are probably FAQ questions...are how is each best used, on what type of paper, and do I need to blend with anything but the normal blending sticks or fingers?

I am utterly clueless here, and I am wasting the potential of these materials as a result. Can you point me to some information about them?


03-12-2002, 05:54 PM

I use cotton balls, paper towels, q tips, fingers and tortillions. Depending on what I am trying to accomplish. For broad blending I use a paper towel. I usually use this for the background if I plan to cover the whole paper.

As far as Paper, I don't know. I just use Bristol charcol/pastel paper. Nothing fancy.

Oh and for blending Oil Pastels I think fingers and tortillions work best.

03-12-2002, 06:13 PM
Don't mix those, work with the soft or the oil or the conte individually, I use my pastels to blend never stumps rags etc
and it's easier to start on a neutral coloured ground

03-12-2002, 07:22 PM
You will probably find as many answers as there are pastel artists. The answer is...whatever works for you to get the result you want. I have never mixed oil pastels with soft pastels or pastel sticks. I suppose it could be done. :confused:
I think of pastels as sketching, sketching, sketching. Cross hatching, scribbling, loose, loose, loose. My friend, an artist from France, trained in France, makes landscapes that look so real...from far away. If you get up close it is nothing but loose lines. Tons of lines. I don't work quite like that.

If you are just starting out you may want to get some inexpensive paper and play with it, then get some good pastel paper and see what you can do.

What is your favorite subject to paint?

One thing to remember is not to smudge or oversmooth the pastel out on the paper because the beauty of pastel is the wonderful pigment.

03-12-2002, 08:50 PM
I was browsing through the art books in a store last week and saw for the first time oil and soft pastels used together. I haven't tried it myself.
Oil pastel can be blended with baby oil and a q-tip, with turpentine, or, most often, with other oil pastels or a colorless one. Hard and soft pastels can be used together if they give the effect you want.
As light says, play with them. Experiment. Find a good pastel book and try the different techniques, and make up your own.
You've nothing to lose but a piece of paper, and you can even work on the back of that!
Have fun! :D :D

Karen Mc
03-12-2002, 09:16 PM
I am also fairly new with pastels but am finding that practice and experimentation are the keys. I also borrowed as many of the pastel 'how to' books that I could out of our public library. Personally I find that I am most satisfied with the results if I don't blend with an object, rather I layer colours to give depth of image.

03-13-2002, 08:24 AM
I also just use pastels to blend; one color into another. That type of blending gives the work more vibrancy. The only time I use a stump in blending would be to soften a shadow area or soften some edges on a portrait. I believe you can over-blend...

As far as paper,usually canson (smooth side) for portrait/figure work, and a sanded support for landscape where I want to be more loose and expressive.

I don't work in oil pastel, so no help there. Ken