If you’ve got some pastels amongst your art materials, try this exercise.
Luckily for me I have just studied the OCA Drawing 1 Courseand so I have plenty of pastels, in fact I have so many because I have to keep buying boxes just for the white pastel.
Pastels are both a drawing and painting medium, and nowadays are used more in the latter category. The application of oil pastel and soft pastel is very different, particularly in relation to painting:
- Oil pastel is usually used with turps and can be used to layer and blend.
- Soft pastel picks up the tooth of the support and can be blended with paint using a damp cloth or brush and water scumbling techniques.
You can cover large areas with the side of a stick, lay one colour over another, and blend colours and tones. Use the points of the sticks for linear details. Practise making marks and blending with pastels; if you have time, use the techniques you’ve discovered to make a simple picture.
I was actually planning to just use oil pastels for this exercise as i the box of soft pastels that i have is a portrait box and yhere isn’t a great deal of contrasting colours in there. However, I decided to give this exercise a go with soft padtels first and the results were satisfying.
With the soft pastels I used a number of techniques, squiggles, hatching zig-zag, smudging, blending with a hard cotton bud ( I lost my tortillon in the move) and a new technique that I wish I had a name for and that was to blend a dark with a deep pink using a wet cloth and then to add lighter colours to the blend. The lighter colours sat on the top of the damp blend and could lightly be rubbed in with a finger or cotton bud. If I put pressure on while rubbing they would disappear into the darker blend below. The results can be seen in bottom right of the image below.
From there I wanted to use my new found technique which I still don’t have a name for in a simple picture, I was watching Peaky Blinders which gave me an idea, which I realised in the drawing below.
From there I went onto using oil pastels. I used mostly hatching techniques which was nothing new but what was new was how I blended in the hatching (with my finger). I found that by moving my finger across the hatched lines I could manipulate the oil pastel or drag it horizontally across the hatching. Other techniques I used were using the side of the sticks to cover bigger areas and then ‘dragging’ that into another colour as well as squirkling and blending with the cotton bud.
It was now time to create a simple picture with the oil pastels and I had something in mind but first it was time to christen my sketchbook. I chose a pose from the last part of the Drawing 1 Course which was actually quite a dramatic pose but I had only used squirkling with oil pastel and this was an opportunity to do more with it, luckily I held on to some photos that I took from that exercise Using Colour.
I picked out the simple details from the pose as I wasn’t working on massive sheets of paper so I needed to know I could recreate in oil pastels.
This time I used a 50/50 white spirit/linseed oil solvent with cotton balls and cotton buds to blend, something I had never done before and it was quite messy. Using this technique I found it quite difficult to get te colours right as lighter colours sat on top of the solvent and would not blend in, it is also taking a very long time to dry. I feel that it would have been better on a larger sheet of paper using my finger/cotton bud/tortillon to blend the colours like in the experimental stage above.