View Full Version : layering

04-24-2008, 04:23 AM
just out of curiosity, do you apply darker tones first then build up with lighter ones or visa versa?:p

04-24-2008, 10:51 AM
I paint from dark to light, but near then end if I need to I will add dark over my light.

04-24-2008, 04:01 PM
I think the classic mantra is "dark to light". Personally I block in all the major mid-tones first, then I go in and block in the darks on top of the mid-tones. Then maybe some lighter tones on top of the mid-tones. Then I'll sort of work around the whole picture, but don't do my very lightest of light accents until the end.

04-24-2008, 04:22 PM
Generally speaking - dark to light. But I've seen many variations work well in the hands of experienced painters. Experiment and find what works best for you. As far as I'm concerned, there are no hard and fast "rules" in applying pastel.


04-24-2008, 04:26 PM
I normally start with a mid-value and then go lighter and darker with no noticeable pattern. The lightest lights, however, need to go on last.


04-24-2008, 05:02 PM
As you can tell by the responses so far, there is really no right or wrong way. The dark to light concept stems in part from plein air painting in which it becomes advisable to capture the shadows first because they will change. But the most important aspect becomes how do colors, values, textures, shapes compare to each other when placed on the paper. Some artists therefore place a dark and a light value to bracket their range and then compare all other things relative to those guideposts.

However, when I first saw the title of your post "layering" I thought you were trying to adress how to combine strokes of various pastels to achieve a new color or value. For example, I often layer a compliment or a color to help neutralize its intensity. In this case the values are usually very close. If you mix a dark and a light you will generally end up with the so called "mud".

04-25-2008, 02:18 AM
What works for me is applying my midtones first and then build up the depth and the light.

04-25-2008, 10:29 AM
If you REALLY want to add a level of complexity introduce the subject of using fixative with layering. There are those who swear by it and those that swear at it...;) I have tried experimenting with sketches but the combinations are endless (paper type, hard vs soft/vsoft pastel, fixative or no fixative). Some approaches work best with some styles... there really is no shortcut to figuring out what suits you best. I agree however, leaving the lightest lights until the end is generally the way to go.

Fixative allows you to 'keep going' when the ground seems saturated with pastel. However, it can darken or dull the overall affect. Some use it for basic layers and then leave the top layers unfixed so the purity of colour is unaffected.

Sorry... seem to have strayed off topic :o

04-26-2008, 12:51 PM
just out of curiosity, do you apply darker tones first then build up with lighter ones or visa versa?:p

It really becomes whatever will give you the result you desire. I tend to go light to dark, but have also gone in reverse to get the effect I am seeking.

04-28-2008, 04:08 AM
I like a mid tone to dark surface and block in the lighter values first. However I still keep the values shifted a little darker because I find it much easier to blend lighter colors into darker ones with pastels. Then again I prefer to optically mix my colors on the surface.