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Zarathustra
09-24-2002, 02:44 PM
Hi,

I'm not sure if I have posted to the pastel forum before, so greetings to anybody who doesn't know me (I'm usually found in the photography forum).
This is really a bit of a generalised query. I bought a set of 72 Derwent pastel pencils, half-price from Derwent pencil museum/factory in Cumbria, Lake District a few months ago. I have to confess to not actually using them yet, but I intend to very soon as I am inspired by some of the artwork that appears in this forum.
Are there many disadvantages/advantages to working with the pencil form of pastels? Are there any good tutorials on the Net on how to use the pencils; which papers to use, and possibly something about the blending techniques? I'm very much the novice/beginner artist and pastels are completely new to me!

Thanks in advance!

KarenU
09-24-2002, 05:46 PM
Hi Zarathustra.....I don't use pastel pencils much but was hunting around the net and found this site you might take a look at...some basic demos of using pastel pencils:

http://www.bradleygallery.co.uk

I didn't spend alot of time looking at the site, it appears that they sell video training, etc. but they did have several demos online.

Dark_Shades
09-24-2002, 06:23 PM
Hi Zarathustra, I bought a set of Faber-Castell pastels from the site KarenU has just mentioned on the strength of his work.. its a good site too with a couple of tutorials using them. Im only new myself since Aug and I love them! - the only paper Ive been able to find is Ingres Pastel pad. I think the best thing is just try them out, feel how they work and how you work. Alot will poo poo them and saying that you cant get the variety of strokes, I think it all depends on the individual and style. The only thing perhaps I would say is that they are not so quick to block in large areas.


You will love working with pastels what ever style or choice you decide on... you've already bought them so just go for it :)

Birdie
09-24-2002, 06:29 PM
Once you start I am sure we will be seeing a lot of you;) I use pastel pencil for line work in my pastel paintings and for out door quick sketches...you can do some really nice work with pencils. Use any pastel paper.....I would recomend not spending big buck at first, a pad of Fabriano- Tiziano is light weight but good to just try out the pencils on....use them to do some drawings with, they blend nicely they just don't cover large areas without having to sharpen them often....
Here is another thought....just jump in with both feet and buy a set of pastel to go with the pencils:D We would love to have you hanging around here too....:D

Birdie:rolleyes:

Redsy333
09-24-2002, 07:37 PM
Welcome to your new addiction:D! LOL
I started into pastels because an artist friend of mine suggested that I would do well. Once I tried them I fell in love!
Basically the pastel pencil ranges like most , the softer they are the better they are to blend and layer. I went with a medium level and bought the Carbothellos just to try the variation myself.
So far I love them, they are much smaller then the Conte's and go on much smoother.
Like every medium you will find that everyone has pros and cons, so your best bet is to just jump in and see what works! Here is another link for pastel supplies,
http://www.dakotapastels.com/
As far as paper, I prefer Canson, because it has a smooth side and a textured side.
I would highly recommend reading up in the Hall of fame threads , there is HEAPS of info in there. And you can view all the different opinions and styles of members in WC.
One more thing and ill shut up:D LOL you can email alot of the suppliers and they will send you free samples of different products to try before you buy! Not all , but many will and it really helps you when deciding to buy!
Good luck ;)
Redsy

Mo.
09-24-2002, 08:51 PM
Hi Zarathustra,

There are no disadvantages to pastel pencils, I use them all the time, sometimes solely on their own as in this dog commission

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Sep-2002/safy.jpg

And more often than not in conjunction with the soft pastel sticks, my preference being Rembrandt, with some harder square stick pastel that I buy from my local art shop, but unfortunately cannot remember the name of the brand at the moment.

My favourite brand of pastel pencils is Schwan Stabilo, or Carbothello, followed by Faber Castell (Pitt pastel) (Derwent pastels, notorious for breaking but fantastic colour range) and last but not least Bruynzeel (very good pastels, made in Holland)

Hope this helps you some,

Cheers,
Mo.

KarenU
09-24-2002, 08:56 PM
Mo...I love your dog portrait!!! :D

Zarathustra
09-25-2002, 05:26 AM
Thank you for the replies, and making me feel welcome.

Karen: Thanks for digging out this UK site, it looks very useful. I was a little surprised that the artist didn't have an online gallery on the site, but from the demonstrations he is obviously talented at what he does. Last night I made a succesful bid on E.bay for a video with a slightly 'gimmicky' title: "Paint like Monet with oil pastels". Although I don't own oil pastels, at $9.99 I think I found a bargain even with international shipping costs. Another website sold it new for $79.99!!!!!

DarkShades: I saw one of your previous threads (at least I believe it was yours), about the difficulty of getting the art supplies mentioned on WC, in the UK. I actually bought an Ingres Pastel pad myself, the pastels and papers others are using in USA and elsewhere don't seem readily available here.
I saw one of the drawings you did with the 'cheap' UK pastels, and was very impressed! How do you get down to smaller detail with these thick crumbly coloured sticks?! :)

Birdie: I've taken up your advice and have just invested in a cheap and limited set of ordinary pastels to accompany the pastel pencils - I figure I can always expand from here should I wish to keep with pastels. Another reason for choosing the pencils as a main drawing medium is the dust issue. I have a slight allergy to ordinary house dust, and so I think too much from the pastels could induce a small reaction. I believe for those who use pastels on a regular basis, there is a potential health risk? Is it anything like the miner's equivalent of black lung? Perhaps they might call it the 'iridescent lung'!

We would love to have you hanging around here too....
Thanks Birdie, always nice to feel welcome! :)

Redsy333:
I started into pastels because an artist friend of mine suggested that I would do well. Once I tried them I fell in love!
I took up drawing in graphite this May, and kept with it for a couple of months. I liked my progress, but recreating photographs doesn't seem very expressive or creative to me, I'd really like to try something that borders more into impressionism, and pastels seems to be the perfect medium! Coupled with the fact that they are more spontaneous and a little quicker to use.

I'm afraid I've not heard of Carbothellos or Conte's, but I'm sure I'll come across them soon enough! I've heard of the Canson paper, but I'm not sure if it's available in the UK.
I shall definately take a look in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully tomorrow I shall even try one the tutorials in this forum.

One more thing and ill shut up LOL you can email alot of the suppliers and they will send you free samples of different products to try before you buy! Not all , but many will and it really helps you when deciding to buy!

This would be fantastic, but again, I'm not sure if company's in the UK are so generous.

Thanks!

Mo.: Wow, you have impressed me with this dog commission, and this was done solely with the pastels?
I've heard of the Rembrandt range, I actually did a search on E.bay to try and bid for some (I didn't win), because I don't think they're available in the UK.

(Derwent pastels, notorious for breaking but fantastic colour range)

That doesn't sound so good!

jackiesimmonds
09-25-2002, 12:03 PM
Hi Zarathustra (did I spell it right? Miracle!). I find it hard to understand why you, or anyone else living here, cannot find art materials here in the UK. We have just about EVERYTHING except specialist pastels produced by individuals in the US. I posted to Dark Shades a few days back, with a great long list of all the people who will send you their mail order catalogues - Art Express, Jacksons, Great Art ... all based in the UK, and offering all the things you think you cannot get here. OF COURSE you can!!! You just haven't been looking in the right places! We are much cheaper here too. Canson is freely available, as are Rembrandt pastels. All you have to do is call and the brochures will come thumping through your letterbox. Well, perhaps not, because they are big. You will probably find them on the doorstep.

I also recommend that you subscribe to THE ARTIST and LEISURE PAINTER magazines here in the UK. It doesn't cost a lot, especially if you pay for a year all at once, and you will get tons of articles to read each month, and masses of adverts in the magazines which will point you in the right direction for art supplies. I write quite often for The Artist, usually articles about pastel painting, so I do know what I am on about!

Pastel pencils, incidentally, are fine for those who like loads of detail in their work. If you want to work in a looser, more impressionistic style, you will find pastel sticks easier to work with, because you can use the SIDES of the sticks to block in areas, and to create areas of broken colour (a la Degas!!).

Let me know if I can help in any way,
Jackie
...................................................................................

do visit my ebay page and auctions (http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/jackie4art/.)

visit my website which has a “troubleshooter” page of helpful pastel tips and hints (http://www.jackiesimmonds.co.uk)

Also see my posts in The Artists Marketplace here at WC!

Zarathustra
09-25-2002, 06:05 PM
Hi Jackie,

Just call me Z. for short if you like? ;)

I've no doubt the materials are available, but for those who don't live near an art supply store, the web isn't very yielding. However I have found that a Lakeland gallery I visited a few months ago (www.heatoncooper.co.uk) has a good range of reasonably priced mediums.

I shall keep an eye peeled for 'THE ARTIST' magazine. Last week I subscribed to the artsguilds book club, and received four impressive art books, massively reduced, and I'm sure during the year I will find something there dedicated to pastels too.

Are there any disadvantages in combining pastel pencils with the sticks? I heard somebody say that the nupastels (are these a hard variety for more detailed work?) were removing some of the underlying soft pastel when they were being applied.... could this also be a danger with the pencils?

Let me know if I can help in any way,

I shall keep it in mind. Thank you! ;)

Mo.
09-25-2002, 07:43 PM
Hi Zarathustra,

Are there any disadvantages in combining pastel pencils with the sticks? I heard somebody say that the nupastels (are these a hard variety for more detailed work?) were removing some of the underlying soft pastel when they were being applied.... could this also be a danger with the pencils?

You have to be careful when using pencils on top of soft pastels as they can lift the soft pastel, and also push the pastel dust further into the surface, I have combined the two many times, an example here.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=55746&highlight=cheetah

I sometimes just use pencils on their own, soft pastels on their own, or a combination of both, sometimes over a layer of watercolour on water-colour paper as in the cheetah painting, it largely depends on your style of work.

I've taken up your advice and have just invested in a cheap and limited set of ordinary pastels to accompany the pastel pencils - I figure I can always expand from here should I wish to keep with pastels. Another reason for choosing the pencils as a main drawing medium is the dust issue. I have a slight allergy to ordinary house dust, and so I think too much from the pastels could induce a small reaction. I believe for those who use pastels on a regular basis, there is a potential health risk? Is it anything like the miner's equivalent of black lung? Perhaps they might call it the 'iridescent lung'!

I also suffer from asthma and yes it is true the pencils don't produce as much dust as the soft pastels, but if you work with an easel the pastel dust will fall downwards, have you thought about wearing a light mask when working with them, this will help too.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Mo.

jackiesimmonds
09-26-2002, 04:07 AM
oooh thanks Mo, I had meant to mention about the easel idea and the mask, and Z everything you are being told about working with pencils over soft pastels is absolutely accurate. Youwill SCORE into the soft pastel with your pastel pencils - this can be a useful technique sometimes when you want to break up edges, for instance or soften a tone. I generally suggest to students to work FIRST with the harder pastels, including pastel pencils, and use the soft pastel over the top if you want to, for thicker passages, or heavier highlights.
this image was done with hard pastels, because I wanted the cross-hatching effect to show clearly. I could have done it with pastel pencils. Highlights were pressed in strongly with a soft pastel.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Sep-2002/SharingThePigeonFeed_ebay.JPG

HeatonCooper are good, particularly if you are close enough to visit. However, do check their prices against Jacksons or Art Express (phone numbers in the Dark Shades thread.). The Artist Magazine ... call them on 01580 763673 and they will send you a subscription form, it is easier than trying to find it in bookshops or newsagents. Otherwise, send me a pm with your address and I will send you a back copy!

Jackie
..............................................................
do visit my ebay page and auctions (http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/jackie4art/.)

visit my website which has a “troubleshooter” page of helpful pastel tips and hints (http://www.jackiesimmonds.co.uk)

Also see my posts in The Artists Marketplace here at WC!

Luvy
09-26-2002, 08:39 PM
I use pastel pencils alot, but find it hard to get a really sharp point to do tight spots like the corner of the eyes etc. Makes me crazy. Any ideas on how to get it sharp enough? I've tried sandpaper and sharpener. About the time I get the point right a few stokes and it's gone again Grrrrrrrr

KarenU
09-26-2002, 08:42 PM
Luvy...how about trying an x-acto knife, and then go at it with the sandpaper to get a really fine point....the point won't last any longer, but it's quicker to sharpen. I usually end up breaking the pastel if I use a sharpener.

Mo.
09-26-2002, 09:58 PM
Hi Luvy,

I'm suffering from insomnia here, it's almost 3.a.m. so thought I'd browse around. :)

What brand of pastel pencils are you using? Some are thicker and softer than others and harder to get a fine point. Carbothello (Schwan stabilo) are softer, Faber Castell or (Pitt Pastel), and Bruynzeel, are pretty good for fining down, but Derwent..... almost impossible for getting a fine point.

I never use a pencil sharpener, contradictory to all advice, I always use a sharp craft knife for sharpening the pencils, and a sandpaper stick for tuning in to a fine point for those critical spots, and yes you will have to use that sandpaper stick quite often if you are doing very fine detailed work, but I save my pastel powder deposits, into a small tin, comes in handy sometimes for blocking in background areas etc., and such.

Good luck, keep going,
Cheers,
Mo.

Zarathustra
09-27-2002, 05:32 AM
Thanks for all the helpful replies - I feel overwhelmed! (in a postive way of course!)

Mo: That's a beautiful cheetah, you've got the green reflection on the underside of the fur very nicely.
I have an easle, so I shall use it as advised. Thanks!

Jackie: That's a great looking picture Jackie, very cool colours, and for an impressionistic rendition it really captures a lot detail.
Unfortunately I do not live close to HeatonCooper, but their postal delivery is very good.

Karen: What's an x-acto knife? Would an artist's scaple do the job as well?

This is my first pastel attempt - I only used the soft pastels ("Inscribe") - very crumbly, and I don't know how you could work in detail with these! The black smear at the bottom is an accident. ;)
I'll try and give the pencils a try today, and hopefully I'll start to slowly improve!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2002/pastelfruit.jpg

Birdie
09-27-2002, 07:58 AM
Hay Z,
that is very good.. So how did you like working with them? Yes they are crumbly so you will learn a light touch...wait until you drop one and you hold your breath until it hits the floor....:( but every brand is different and some are not so crumbly...
Well have fun and I will look for more of your post here in the Pastel forum...

Birdie:rolleyes:

Redsy333
09-27-2002, 08:12 AM
Thats a great Pic Z!! Just getting in there to get the feel of them is the best teacher of all!!! Here is a link for the various forms of Xacto Knives and a basic pic of one!! I hope that helps:D
http://www.artstuff.net/xacto_knives.htm

KarenU
09-27-2002, 10:38 AM
Hey Z!!! Wonderful first painting....I think you did a fabulous job! Can't wait to see more of your work.

Yup...scaple...xacto....I assume about the same kind of implement that does some wicked cutting! :D

jackiesimmonds
09-28-2002, 04:29 AM
Z - considering you were working with Inscribe pastels, which are what I call "cheap and cheerful", you have done a very good job here. They ARE crumbly, and scratchy too, and are a world different from proper artist's pastels. Treat yourself to just a couple, and you will see what I mean immediately.

The veggies are looking good - painted with confidence and exuberance. I would urge you, however, to look at how other artists deal with the colour of shadows. Black is a very "dead" colour, and although shadows would appear to be greyish on the whole, in fact when you paint them you can make them so much more interesting if you don't use just black, or grey. I know you don't have a lot of subtle colours in your Inscribe set, but in other makes of pastel, there are the most marvellous subtle blue-greys, green-greys, purple-greys, red-greys - all soft, "greyed" versions of blue, green, red etc. Often, when you have such brightly coloured objects on a white surface, you even get reflections from the skin colour of the object, down into the shadow.

Warm light will make the shadows bluer too.

Despite all the above, you are well on your way!

Jacikie
............................................................

do visit my ebay page and auctions (http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/jackie4art/.)

visit my website which has a “troubleshooter” page of helpful pastel tips and hints (http://www.jackiesimmonds.co.uk)

Also see my posts in The Artists Marketplace here at WC!

TeAnne
09-28-2002, 07:19 PM
WOW glad I looked in here. Love that Still Life and the dog. :D:clap:

Mo.
09-28-2002, 07:37 PM
Hi Z,

What a terrific start, Inscribe pastels are the very cheapest range you can buy, in comparison to oil paints it's like using student quality against artists quality, the artists quality being a lot more expensive, but giving you a much more enjoyable and satisfactory run for your money.:)
When I painted in oils I used the student quality to start, then gradually built up on artists quality, what a difference, what joy it was to paint with such flowing and vibrant colours, the student oils were chalky in comparison, similarly Inscribe pastels do not give you the same feel and sensuous pleasure as say Rembrandt pastel, which are my favourites. When you can, build up on the professional pastels, it's worth it!

Just a thought, I would like to see the banana placed in front of the fruit, rather than jutting out behind.
Keep going! and good luck!:)

Cheers,
Mo.