View Full Version : hi I'm new to pastels

01-11-2010, 03:44 AM
I wrote a very long post and attached photos only to be told I need to have at least two previous posts to be able to post a picture so this is my second post :D
I'm here to learn as I know hardly anything about pastels actually I hardly know anything about painting or drawing at all! so I have a lot to learn I love this forum and hope I have the staying power to actually be good some day.
I tried to post on the learning centre forum but it won't accept new posts? I really wanted someone to show me step by step how to paint water with a koi fish? I've tried searching fish and ponds and I can't find any lessons or steps for either, any ideas?
Also I wanted to ask about materials but can't post on there so where should I put these types of questions, on here?
I'm driving my husband and children mad with my new found love of pastel hope I don't do the same to you.
Cheers Deborah.

Paula Ford
01-11-2010, 04:01 AM
Hello Deborah! Welcome to the Pastel Forum!

This thread is extremely helpful for beginners in pastel... http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=392571

Merethe T
01-11-2010, 07:37 AM
Hi Deborah, welcome to the Pastel forum! :wave:

To get the best answers for your questions, post in one of the medium spesific forums. If you have questions about Pastel materials, the Pastel talk is the place to ask. If you have work you'd like to show and get comments on, post in the Pastel Studio and Gallery. Also browse through the different sub-forums for pastels, there's so much information available through WIP's, demos and older threads - most questions have probably been asked earlier and might be useful for you. I know many members prefer to do an advanced Google search to find information, it seem to bring up more information. Just spesify in the search that you want links from Wet Canvas.

I hope this is useful for you, just let us know if you need more help! :)
And - we know all about pastel-addiction, you are among friends here.... ;) :D

01-11-2010, 09:50 AM
Hi Deborah, and welcome to the wonderful world of pastels. the folks are great here and very helpful to. if you can't find an answer to your questions just ask here and I am sure that more than one person will give you a helping hand.

01-11-2010, 09:51 AM
Hi Deborah! Welcome to the pastel forum! Hopefully we can help you on your new artistic journey!


01-11-2010, 10:21 AM
I really wanted someone to show me step by step how to paint water with a koi fish? I've tried searching fish and ponds and I can't find any lessons or steps for either, any ideas?
Welcome, Deborah! Here is one thread from the pastel forum entitled A couple of fish (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137407), which shows some koi.

And another thread called just fish (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=151958). Take a look at these. You also might want to look at some threads on how to paint water (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7820075&postcount=1).

Both show pix of underwater fish pastel paintings. I suggest that you begin your step-by-step with a photo of the image you want to copy/duplicate. Open it in your photo editing software and posterize it a bit, to pull out the large color areas. (It's sometimes easier to see where the color areas change when you posterize a bit. See, for instance, the fish's head, below.) Then just go for it!

Hope this helps.




01-11-2010, 04:17 PM
Welcome to the world of pastels. You have been given some excellent advice. Just dive in and get that pastel on the paper. Good luck. I hope to see your paintings soon.


01-11-2010, 05:35 PM
I would like to welcome you here. hope you have fun like the rest of us.

01-11-2010, 05:48 PM
Thank you so much for the warm welcome, hints on searching and the fantastic links.
I seem to be torn these last few days between house hold obligations(I do love my kids), playing with my pastels and reading this forum, life is good!

Cheers Deborah.

01-12-2010, 03:40 AM
Welcome to the pastels forum! I've learned so much here and the more I get into it, the more I love my pastels. Your family's just going to have to put up with your pastels addiction.

There are two classes in the library that have helped me a lot. ESP means Exploring Soft Pastels. ESP: Snow taught by Deborah Secor broke me of the habit of using white for snow -- or white flowers or anything else. It's much more effective to use light colors with a warm or cool shift showing what's in sun or shadow and how close it is. Same with darks, if you use a deep dark blue or violet and brown or dark red together in the shadows they're a lot livelier than actual black.

ESP: Still Life the Colourful Way taught by Colorix is wonderful. Read through that to help understand color and how to use color to give depth and brilliance to your painting.

Doing water is tricky, but I think the Colourful Still Life class may help you understand how to create the water texture around your koi. Getting the shape of the fish right is tricky too, but some realists just use their own photo reference and transfer the outlines using the Grid Method.

Measure off a grid of even sized squares, say one inch squares or half inch squares, on a printout of the photo reference. It helps to posterize and do the printout in black and white so that you can see the values with it. Then grid the paper you're painting on with the same number of squares. Carefully draw what's in each corresponding square without paying attention to what it is, just matching where the lines go.

It comes out a lot more accurate than freehand sketching for a beginner and some people still love using it long after they can draw freehand.

Also try doing a small black and white sketch before the painting, a "Notan" to establish the white, light, dark and black value areas. This can also help in planning the composition, deciding where to crop the photo.

I love koi ponds, my art teacher in New Orleans had one with about twenty very tame fish in his courtyard. I used to feed them every time I went over for class, if you dabbled your hand in the water they'd all come over for food and bump your fingers.

If you don't have a good photo to work from, check the Reference Image Library here. You have to go all the way to the top menu above the forums index and then look at Content Areas for the Reference Image Library. I've found everything I ever wanted to paint in it, including a walking cheetah when I needed one.

Enjoy your painting! Looking forward to seeing your WIP (work in progress).

01-12-2010, 08:52 PM
:wave: HI, Deborah,
Welcome to Wet Canvas Pastel Forum!
The posts above have given you lot of good advice. Don't be afraid to ask questions and we'll all try our best to be helpful.

:thumbsup: :clap: :wave:

01-13-2010, 07:42 AM
Thanks again for the replies, I am taking everything in!!!

01-13-2010, 02:10 PM
Welcome to pastels Deborah!

i have been on wet canvas in the pastel forum for about one and a half years and I have learned a great deal and have a great deal more to learn. Have fun! You will find buying pastels too be quite addicting! LOL!