View Full Version : Starting Out With Pastels

06-10-2007, 01:26 PM
I just bought a box of soft pastels. I read somewhere I should have white and black in the set which I have. Also, four or five of the same color but in different shades. I guess pastels are sorted by color not by name like cad red., etc. I got the book "Pastel School." as suggested in wc. It's a wonderful book, by the way. I have the opportunity to draw live nudes where I vacation in the Summer. I did it last year and I wasn't very good to say the least. But, I am ready to tackle this class again and this time maybe I'll do better. I have been drawing everything I see from furniture to faces. I started the faces with with grid method as I am not very confident with them. But last night I drew free hand a picture of my husband sitting in a chair and even though I couldn't get his face accurately, the proportion and size is good and the shading is good. It's a pencil drawing and maybe I shouldn't be in this forum because of that, but, I am a little leery of breaking in my new pastels. CC welcome.

Texas Tabby (Virginia)

Kathryn Wilson
06-10-2007, 01:48 PM
Virginia, welcome to the Pastel Forum.

A word of advice, do not try this complex a portrait until you get used to using pastels. Do simple subjects, like apples or pears until you get the technique down. If you try very complex subjects, you may get discouraged.

So continue drawing, but if you want to work in pastels, pick them up and get to work!!

06-10-2007, 02:01 PM
Thanks Kat for the advice. I'll do that. That's how I started in oils. And thanks for deleting one of my posts. I'm a novice with this computer.

Texas Tabby

06-10-2007, 08:08 PM
Hi Texas Tabby,
Welcome to the forums .
I know how you feel as I was just the same 1 year ago when I bought my first set of pastels. The thought of breaking a stick to paint was a bit daunting! But now you should see my pastels, :) they are all just about broken and in pieces..... it makes for good painting, hehe.

I think your drawing is great! you have a wonderful start with your proportions ... I bit the bullet when I first started and painted a portrait! It was very challenging and I really learnt alot. Go with your heart and passions and draw what you feel! thats how you learn and challenge yourself!
Hope to see you post a few paintings in the pastel forums!!!


06-10-2007, 11:52 PM
Howdy Tex,


I like the portrait of your husband: the posture really comes through. I can't really critique, because I haven't attempted portraiture myself. Keep working at it, learn all you can and practice, practice, practice... Like she does (http://kemstudios.blogspot.com/).

What I like about pastels is the color. I really like working with color, but I noticed that when I got my big set of Rembrandts, I was daunted by the huge selection at my disposal. Sometimes the variety at your disposal makes it more difficult, not less. I mean, it's probably a lot simpler to just pick up a pencil and start sketching.

The thing that's tough about pastels is value, but you're obviously well-versed in that. Sometimes the colors fool you into painting something weak, because you don't see that you've only used a small fraction of the available range of value. I know I have this problem, but you know what they say: the first step is knowing you have a problem. :D

Have fun. Break those new pastels into workable bits and have at 'er.


06-11-2007, 12:44 AM
Thank you Netty and Simon for the encouragement.

Netty, can't believe you have only been using pastels for only a year. Yes, I can see following your own inspirations even if difficult can be very rewarding. I will "get right to it." and post a few my self. But, I think they will be still lifes in the beginning as I am not too good with the tonal aspects of a drawing even though Simon says otherwise. I'm familiar with still life paintings as I come from the direction of oil painting and I love still life in oils.

Simon, I can see what "she does" from Georgia on her blog....what an artist. Shows what practice can do for a person. One pastel a day to complete l00, hmmmmmmm. Yes, I love color myself. My oils are pretty bright but I like them that way. I live on the US Border down Brownsville, Texas way and there is alot of color here with the Hispanic influence. The color combinations are really gorgeous.

Texas Tabby (Virginia)

06-11-2007, 05:22 AM
So glad you are inspired Texas Tabby, and will be looking forwards to seeing some of your still life.
One subject I am not too good at, but always willing to learn :)