View Full Version : Advice please

Summer Rose
02-06-2003, 06:29 PM
I'd like to try pastels, but I am unsure if I should try oil pastels or soft pastels. I don't no anything about either one. I've check "the hall of fame", but did not find any answers.

My questions....
1. Can soft and oil pastels be used together?
2. Which is easier for a beginner?
3. Is there a good beginner book that can teach one how to use this medium?
4. Are Pastels very hard for one to master?

I guess I just need some plain good advice!

Thanks to all who reply.

02-06-2003, 07:18 PM
Hi Summer Rose, I am a beginner (since last August) with no real art background. I can really relate to your questions and have learned a lot from this board and my own dumb mistakes.

Here is my suggestion. Start off with a decent starter set (box of 1/2 sticks) of soft pastels. Oils are much trickier and should be tried but not until you get the hang of soft pastels.

Can oil and soft be used together? I suppose it is possible (I think someone on this forum has done some combos) but wait until you feel fairly comfortable with the soft. I lost interest for now in using oil.

Buy paper designed to be used with pastel paints or charcoal. Don't use regular sketching paper as it isn't rough enough (not enough tooth) to hold onto the pastel pigment.

Tape or clamp your paper to an easel so when you "paint" the dust falls off your surface and onto the floor.

Read this forum religiously as well as Landscape, portrait and any other style you like. There are pastel artists on many other forums.

If you have a scanner or a digi camer (which I don't), post your works-in-progress (WIP) for feedback. Everyone here is as generous as they are talented.

Pastels are about the most fun I've ever had. I hope your experience is just as good. Nori

02-06-2003, 07:56 PM
Thanx Nori.....Learned a little myself here!

02-06-2003, 08:11 PM
welcome to the pastel forum! You might like to check your local library for books about pastels, too. When I began painting, I checked out a few oil painting books from the library and carried them with me everywhere, reading all if could, hoping some of the information would stick on my brain!

A couple of books I have for pastels that have good information for beginners are:

The Pastel Book by Bill Creevy (paperback, $19.95)
Pastel Painting Techinques by Guy Roddin (paperback, $22.99)
Creative Painting with Pastel by Carole Katchen (paperback, $22.99)
Pastel Workbook by Jackie Simmonds (paperback, $15.99)

You'll find a lot of others at Borders or Barnes & Noble bookstores. If you live close to one, spend some time sitting in the aisle and reading thru art books!!

Rembrandt soft pastels are sold in Michaels and other local arts/crafts stores so you might like to begin with them. Canson MiTientes is fairly inexpensive and makes a good surface to work on. I think its important to work with good materials to begin with so you won't be fighting with paper or poor quality pastels to achieve results that you will be pleased with.

And do check out the forum for tons of good info...and lots of inspiring artwork! This group has really been an encouragement to me!!

02-06-2003, 09:00 PM
Hi Nitsa and welcome too. You have already received some excellent advice,I'll just add that oil pastels and soft pastels really don't mix well, it's not a road for a beginner in pastels to take. Oil pastels take some getting used to they are not the easiest of mediums. Soft pastels are wonderful, you may find that a set of pastel pencils will suit you more to begin with before you branch out with the softer sticks of pastels, the pencils offer more control to the beginner. But as suggested above, really study some books on the subject and practise, but most of all enjoy and have fun.


02-07-2003, 04:04 AM
Hi there, you will love WC! And find lots of help too.

Have a look at the thread I posted earlier, about an interesting website. there are lots of tips and hints on the website I mentioned, plus demos to look at.

Also, do look at the demos on this website too.

The library advice is good - you can learn lots from books - I know, I write 'em and in order to do so, I had to read 'em!!