Pastel can be used to both draw and paint which makes it very versatile. Explore the article below to know more on pastel painting techniques.

Pastel Painting Techniques

If you think that pastels are only for the kids to learn drawing then, you are as wrong as those contemporaries of Galileo who thought that the sun and the entire universe revolved around the earth. Pastel was also used by Picasso, no less, to paint; he even created oil based pastels, and it was introduced as a medium of art by Leonardo Da Vinci. Though, nowadays modern painters tend to look down on pastel paintings, it was extensively in use during the 18th century for portrait painting. Pastels can be expressed in a variety of styles and techniques in a range of color, shades, and graduations. This gives an unlimited scope to the artist. That is why; it is one of the best ways to start painting, as it is very much like working with a pen or pencil. You also need only the paper, pastel sticks, and your imagination, and nothing else. Later when you have mastered the art you can use other tools that will give you extra versatility. One of the main reasons for pastel not being a favorite for budding painters is because of fixing the color. If fixing is not done properly then, the painting doesn’t last long. This requires that they be always framed under glass in order to preserve them. Read the article given below to know the various pastel painting techniques tips.
Tips For Pastel Painting
  • There are varieties of ways in which pastels can be used. They can be combined or used on their own to produce a painting.
  • Pastels usually come in three types – hard, semi-soft and soft that provide a slightly different result.
  • The pastel should be held like a pencil or a pen and drawn with the end.
  • The thickness of the line can be altered by varying the pressure on the pastel. For a darker line, you should press hard and for thinner lines, you should press gently.
  • For broader, looser drawing, use the whole arm instead of just the wrist.
  • To create large blocks of color, use the side of the pastel stick. This can also be used to work quickly. You can also break the pastel and use it for optimal results.
  • Use sharp edges to create fine lines. For different types of pressure, alter the pressure on the pastel stick. For this usage, the best types are the soft and semi-soft types.
  • The most common technique in pastel painting is hatching and cross-hatching. For this, use pastel paintings or hard pastel sticks.
  • A set of parallel fine lines drawn closely together is called a hatching. A second set of lines drawn at an angle is called cross-hatching.
  • This technique is used in pastel painting to experiment with color and tone in a loose, flexible way. It is also used to create a sense of form and shape by varying the direction of the cross-hatching.
  • Since, in pastels you cannot mix the colors before, there are two ways in which color and tonal variations can be developed. One is through optical blending, in which the colors are kept in close proximity (like hatching), and another is blending where the pastel is mixed on the paper.
  • The pastels can be blended through a variety of tools, the most common being the fingers. For larger areas the side of the hands can also be used. Other tools are paper stump, putty rubbers and cotton wool. When using fingers, keep a box of wet-wipes to clean after each blend.
  • Another technique which is quite widely used is known as scumbling. In this, after a layer of pastel has been applied and fixed, a soft pastel is dragged on its side, across the top. This creates a broken covering of the new color on the top. Scrumbling results in a textural and visually stimulating painting. Use very soft pastels for best results.
  • Feathering is a technique that uses short strokes to give vibrancy to a painting. It looks like a fine-tuned form of hatching and the result looks like scumbling. Feathering is also used in optical mixing of color.
  • Feathering is used mostly to create atmospheric effects with light. It can also give to the painting the appearance of a fabric, feathers, and scales.
  • Dusting is another technique that is widely used in pastel painting. Scrape the surface of the pastel stick to create dust and sprinkle it over the block of color. Then use a palette knife to press the dust into the surface.
  • While dusting, it is better to use the painting horizontally. Also the palette knife should be very clean.

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