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Dcam
01-26-2012, 11:01 AM
Every so often someone will ask how they can get thin lines with pastels. I'd like to show you what I do. I will also add how I get "straight lines". I'm sure many of our WC pals can add to these actions.

Letter A shows a drywall sanding screen (home depot)....cheap and way better than a sanding block. It rinses out easily under the tap. Two small square pastels have been scraped across the screen over the trash can, to form a point.

Letter B Shows the obvious pastel pencil: Great for thin lines.

Letter C Shows a round pastel which has been rolled on the edge to form thin lines....great for tree branches. Or you can just draw with the sharp edge.

Letter D shows a square pastel and you can use the corner or whole edge for lines.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Jan-2012/183894-ZZZZscrape_002.jpg

For straight lines, I like to use scrapers. These can be found at any big hardware store, sometimes in packs of different sizes; some plastic, some metal.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Jan-2012/183894-ZZZZscrape_003.jpg

These are useful when you don't want to lay a ruler or straight edge on your work surface. Hold the scraper on an angle and make your line. This will give you a nice line without messing up your surface.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Jan-2012/183894-ZZZZscrape_004.jpg

If you have a huge line to draw, a big squeegee works great. The idea is to keep the flat area of a tool from smudging your work. Only the thin edge of the scraper meets the surface.

Cheers, derek

Kathryn Wilson
01-26-2012, 11:20 AM
Great thread and suggestions Derek!

I use the square pastel on its edge and go upwards with it - at least that works for me. I don't know why a downward stroke tends to leave a heavier line. A mystery to me.

Anyway, I just lay the pastel on its edge and slightly press to get the line, then move the pastel its length upwards and press lightly again. You get nice broken lines that way too.

Donna T
01-26-2012, 12:57 PM
I have every one of those scrapers, Derek, and I'm tired of pushing drywall "mud" around with them. I will happily try them for drawing straight lines! I need to pick up a sanding screen too - great idea. I read where Frederick Somers sands off pastel and makes a paste of it with water. Then he dips in the edge of an index card and presses it onto his paper to make very thin lines for reeds or grass. I haven't tried it yet but it seems that you could bend the card to get curved lines too.

allydoodle
01-26-2012, 01:39 PM
Those scrapers are a great idea Derek! So is the drywall sanding screen, I would think it would work well with pencils too, to get a real point if needed. The other ideas I do use, but I especially love the scrapers - I think I'm gonna buy me an assortment pack just for my studio - hopefully DH won't snatch them up.........:lol: . I like the scrapers because of the handle and the fact that you don't have to lay the ruler across the painting. Where were you when I was painting harp strings.........:lol: . I actually used a really low profile ruler and it did work well, but I'm still gonna get me some scrapers, much better for shorter lengths, and easy to use on the easel. The ruler had to be used an a flat surface, such a pain to keep taking the painting on and off the easel..........

Davkin
01-26-2012, 01:49 PM
Ya, the scrapers are a great idea, having a handle they must be much easier to use than a ruler. I'll have to get me some.

Thanks for the tips!

David

robertsloan2
01-26-2012, 01:50 PM
Derek, this is awesome. I hadn't ever thought of using scrapers for thin lines, I usually either use a pastel pencil or the corner of a hard pastel. But your technique even allows curved thin lines. That's awesome.

I can see how it could also become a mask to create long straight lines like the harp strings, by laying it in place and sketching along it fast with the corner of a hard pastel. I'm good at doing freehand straight lines but if they get too long, it's tricky.

The scrapers look dang useful. Going to have to add some to my kit. Thanks for the mini-lesson!

allydoodle
01-26-2012, 02:05 PM
Great thread and suggestions Derek!

I use the square pastel on its edge and go upwards with it - at least that works for me. I don't know why a downward stroke tends to leave a heavier line. A mystery to me.

Anyway, I just lay the pastel on its edge and slightly press to get the line, then move the pastel its length upwards and press lightly again. You get nice broken lines that way too.

I do these same things as well Katherine. I love pressing the pastel into the paper, the broken lines you can get are really nice, it looks natural somehow. I've also wondered about the upwards/downwards stroke thing, I'm sure there's a good scientific explanation for it!

DBfarmgirl
01-26-2012, 02:33 PM
Off to get me some scrapers- that would work MUCH better than the small rulers I've been using. Thanks!

Devonlass
01-26-2012, 03:46 PM
Derek....you're a genius!!!! There's going to be a run on scrapers at Home Depot and Lowes now! I'll be at the head if the line.

bluefish
01-26-2012, 07:48 PM
a 'french curve' will make nice curved lines held similar to the way Derek shows to use the straight tool......

nice thread Derek......I'm sure you helped a lot of people.....:thumbsup:

'blue.....:wave:

lotsahugs
01-26-2012, 08:04 PM
GREAT tips Derek, thanks...much better than using a ruler!

KarenB
01-26-2012, 09:44 PM
Great idea and thank you Derek :clap: ....Now where are they out in the garage and did I clean them adequately before I put them away? :o

pastel lover
01-26-2012, 11:32 PM
Hi Guys,

I have an explanation for the heavier downstroke. It is because the muscles & tendons are on the downside (palm side) of your fingers so that you can make a fist or grip something. You can't help but to use more pressure on the downstroke hence the heavier line. Derek, love the scraper idea. I have been using a triangle stood on edge but the scraper w/handle is a much better idea. Thanks.

Tanja

jwcarroll
01-27-2012, 10:15 AM
<writes notes to self> Thanks!!

Turpintine45
01-27-2012, 03:52 PM
Brilliant Derek! Thanks so much for sharing these tips. I love the scraper idea it will boggle my husband's eyes! Ha,ha!

sketchZ1ol
01-27-2012, 06:54 PM
hello
a word of advice :
all scrapers are Not alike !
most are made to have some sort of curve .
i've learned this from working in the ' mud ' trade
( hey Donna :) )

you have to look at the edge of the knife/trowel/(ugh)scraper
at it's flat and at it's edge .
after you've spent a half hour
and pulled down the whole rack
to find a straight edge ,
a crowd may have gathered
wondering if this is performance Art :lol:

you could true-up/sand the linear edge of the tool
but if it has a bow/camber to the plane(flat)
you might be better off in the wallpaper dept -
there are tools made to smooth out bubbles
without bruising the paper .

if you swim or play b'ball ,
the muscles are probably more balanced
for vertical motion .

Ed :}

allydoodle
01-27-2012, 07:37 PM
hello
a word of advice :
all scrapers are Not alike !
most are made to have some sort of curve .
i've learned this from working in the ' mud ' trade
( hey Donna :) )

you have to look at the edge of the knife/trowel/(ugh)scraper
at it's flat and at it's edge .
after you've spent a half hour
and pulled down the whole rack
to find a straight edge ,
a crowd may have gathered
wondering if this is performance Art :lol:

you could true-up/sand the linear edge of the tool
but if it has a bow/camber to the plane(flat)
you might be better off in the wallpaper dept -
there are tools made to smooth out bubbles
without bruising the paper .

if you swim or play b'ball ,
the muscles are probably more balanced
for vertical motion .

Ed :}

You're amazing Ed, as always you're a plethora of information :lol: . I would have never realized, and knowing me I would have picked up the most 'curved' scraper on the shelf! :lol: :lol: :lol:

sketchZ1ol
01-27-2012, 07:50 PM
hello
Chris - wear good clothes
if you go out on such a mad search ...
people might not know what you are doing ,
but they'll see that you have good taste .

:)

Ed :}

the drover's dog
01-27-2012, 08:20 PM
A bit out of place in a pastel forum perhaps, but old credit or loyalty cards are nice to have in your kit too. I've just done most of an acrylic painting with one by using it as a cross between a big brush and a palette knife.

Dale

chewie
01-27-2012, 08:40 PM
been using index cards in this way for years. use em, toss em. but they are sometimes too short, so this is a great tip!

Dcam
01-27-2012, 10:09 PM
There are no curves in the scrapers I displayed.....don't worry about it.

:) Derek

Finvarra
01-28-2012, 05:56 AM
Great idea, thanks for sharing.

Cheers
Lesley

sketchZ1ol
01-28-2012, 06:08 PM
hello
Derek - didn't mean to step on this thread . :rolleyes:
it's a smart/practical idea .

good ideas coming in also .

Ed :}

allydoodle
01-28-2012, 06:48 PM
There are no curves in the scrapers I displayed.....don't worry about it.

:) Derek

I will be looking for those exact scrapers Derek, this really sounds like a great idea :heart: . I hate working flat, and this will allow me to keep the painting on the easel, much better......