I did a search for you, and found the thread I was talking about. Here is what I said:
For those who might want to practice techniques, here are a few ideas. My suggestion would be to take a big sheet of paper, and simply make MARKS. Do not try to paint anything recognisable. In this way, you concentrate purely on the marks you are making, rather than the object itself.
Some important things to remember:
1. Remember to vary the PRESSURE of your strokes.
2. Notice, as you work, how the colour of the paper interacts with the colour of the pastles.
Now try these techniques for mark-making, and colour areas.
FIRST - USING THE EDGE, OR POINT, OF THE PASTEL.
1. Linear marks can be useful in a painting, so you need to practice linear strokes - lines. Try making thin, light lines. Then gradually increase the pressure until you are makiing firm, thick lines. Be aware of the pressure, and see how the surface of the paper affects the line.
2. Now develop these lines into areas of colour. First try "cross-hatching". Make your lines criss-cross each other, in varying directions. Huge variety and density can be achieved in this way. You can even try cross-hatching in different colours for different effects. If the cross-hatching is loose, the paper colour will show thro. If you build up more and more lines, the paper colour will gradually be covered, and you will have a dense area of interesting colour if you use more than one colour. "Feathering" is another one to try - instead of crossing your lines over each other, lay them side by side. Try slanting lines, that is the easiest. Now try vertical lines.
3. Try dots and dashes. These will create textural effects. Pointilism came about thro the use of dots of varying sizes. The finished effect will dance with light and vibrancy.
NOW TRY USING THE SIDES OF THE PASTELS.
1. As Marsha said, break the pastel, so that you have an unwrapped piece, about 1" long. Using the side of the pastel, make sweeping strokes across the paper.
2. Now change to another colour, and make more sweeping strokes near the first ones, and then use a finger to blend in a few areas. DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH BLENDING. Too much blending in a pic will make it look too soft and squodgy and polished. But it is handy here and there to soften an edge, or a line. Try first with your finger, and then with a tissue. See how the blending differs COMPLETELY.
3. Sweep one colour over another. First try dark over light. Then try light over dark. See how they differ. Lights over darks will shimmer, darks over lights will subdue. This is called layering. It will be very effective over a blended area. Also try a quick spray of fix, and then try layering over the top. The under-colour will affectthe newly applied layer. Cool colour over warm, or vice versa, will add depth and interest.
4. Now try BROKEN COLOUR. Short side strokes of pastel, side by side with just the edges overlapping. You can build up amazing areas of colour in this way. For instance, if you wanted to create an area of blue in a painting, but did not want it to be too monotonous, you could use broken colour, using a variety of blues, all similar in tone, but varying in hue (purple-blue; greeny-blue; royal blue; etc). The resulting patch of colour would be vibrant, and not at all monotonous. Seen from a distance, it would still read as blue tho. You can also create areas of broken colour where the colours vary. Try it, but use harmonious colours - for instance, those next to each other on the colour wheel. Red, red-orange, orange, orange-yellow. The patch of colour you create will be gorgeous.
Finally, using any or all of the techniques above, try graduating your area of colour from very light to very dark, carefully so that the jumps in tone are subtle. (Gradation of tone is essential in order to model form and volume in a picture. Also, to achieve a sense of space or atmosphere in a landscape, the eye needs to move gradually from areas which are fully saturated in colour, to lighter or darker tones and colours.)
After you have spent two or three hours on this kind of practice, you will have lots of tools to tackle a painting. You will also find that you can look at other pastel paintings by other artists, and will be able to analyse HOW they achieved certain effects - effects you might find useful. "
Thee is some great advice from others there, including experts like Marsha and Ilis, and if you scroll down to my post, you will find a big picture at the bottom of the above suggestions, to show what my practice sheet looks like:
Hope you find this useful - it should give you a REALLY good start.
Incidentally - there is a wonderful painter in Brisbane, who uses both oils and pastels, teaching at one of the art colleges there, her name is Kay Kane. Just in case you ever hear of her doing any classes.