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Old 01-09-2003, 08:08 AM
Nature's Glory Nature's Glory is offline
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Rookie needs demo ...

Hi everyone. I have a set of "landscape" Derwent pastel pencils. And I bought some black Fabriano pastel paper.

I really love this medium but two minutes into my first venture I was immediately discouraged. I have some questions:

1) How on earth do you make a thin line? I do extremely detailed work and unless I have some kind of fog-lifting revelation, this medium is not at all conducive to my painting style. But I LOVE the look and have seen some very detailed work using pastels, so I know it can be done...

2) How do you get the pencils sharp? They keep breaking no matter what kind of sharpener I use. I hope that you don't tell me that I need to use a knife to sharpen the pencils. As fast as they wear down I'd be sharpening pencils all day long. Besides, I tried that, the pastels still crumble!

3) Touching the pastels seem to ruin them. How do you keep from touching the paper???

That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure I will have more questions!

Btw, I did read through the very informative posts but if I missed one that covers this info, please point me to it!

THANK YOU!
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Old 01-09-2003, 09:26 AM
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Redsy333 Redsy333 is offline
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First off Welcome

Keeping the pencils sharp are aquired in a few ways, sharpeners(metal but do eat the pencil quickly), Exato knives (best option for very fine lines) , or sand paper ( shapes nicely, w/o eating the wood as well).

Next thing to note is that Pencils are just like the sticks when it comes to density. They range from soft to hard. The softer they are the better they will lay down on the paper, but this is also makes for breakage to occur more frequently.
When using sticks or pencils, you must learn to lighten your pressure you use while applying the pastel to paper. You should always start out lighter and overlay to darken, at least till you get the feel for the medium.
The Derwent are nice pencils, but I have notice that they break more then others, so you will need to work lightly till you find the perfect pencil for you.

Now for detail work, you can sharpen, and you can use blending tools. There are many threads on such, in fact I have one that has pictures of mine.
Pastel shaper/blender thread
Hopefully seeing that will lend you some ideas!

Finally, to answer the question on paper smudging! When working in pastels of any sort there is alot of dust that floats around. So you either have to work on and easel with paper upright in Vertical angle, or work on a drawing table that is angled. Since you are working in Pencils, the Drawing table would be more ideal! IF you do not have one, Try placing paper on a board of sorts and propping up one end, so that the picture angles toward you. This way you can choose the angle that suits you best and lets the dust fall away a little easier.
I use a wedge or a rolled up towel to prop my hand up from the paper, this help keeps my hand from sitting on my work. It will take some getting use too, but once you do, it will become second nature.
In the Demo threads Gaka gives a wonderful demonstration, and in there he shows how he keeps from touching his work.
I will have to find that link and send it on to you

Hope this helps!
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Old 01-09-2003, 09:29 AM
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doe doe is offline
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Hi neighbor, I don't use the pencils for anything but small touches of detail and signatures. Prefer making a mess with the soft pastel sticks.

Maybe you could sharpen with sandpaper and not crumble the pastel. That's what I do - also with sticks.

I also saw here recently somewhere a thread about color shapers, that I haven't tried, but maybe you can get more detail with those. Personally use the cardboard tortillions and blenders on rare occasion.

Don't understand #3 - I'm always touching the paper and the pastels.

Maybe you'd prefer colored pencil instead, they can be used for very detailed work. I think there's a colored pencil forum here too. Don't know if this helps at all.

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2003, 10:58 AM
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crumbedbrains crumbedbrains is offline
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Hi Nature!!
Welcome to pastels!!
I too love to do detailed work but to be honest I don't use pencils . .I find I can never sharpen them!! LOL . .sounds like Redsy has got that licked though. I'd fully recommend reading the article above that Gaka has done on getting detail . . plus look through his other threads . . . he's THE MAN on detail here!!
Plenty of good info in them.
Good luck!!
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Old 01-11-2003, 06:47 AM
Nature's Glory Nature's Glory is offline
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Thanks very much for the detailed explanations. I appreciate the time you took and read some interesting and helpful articles. Thanks again!
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