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This is a discussion on Pastels? within the Horse Artwork forums, part of the Horse Pictures, Videos, Artwork, and Contests category

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    11-10-2013, 07:25 PM

Does anyone here have any experience drawing with pastels? I want to branch out and try some different mediums because I usually only use pencil.
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    11-10-2013, 08:04 PM
Message the member, "Kayty". She is very adept in pastel.
    11-11-2013, 07:00 AM
I have been working with soft pastel for about 5 years now, and sell a lot of my work.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to know about them?
    11-11-2013, 11:46 PM
Originally Posted by Kayty    
I have been working with soft pastel for about 5 years now, and sell a lot of my work.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to know about them?
I have a question since I just picked up my pastels since last year How do I get depth and texture in a picture? I'm working on a picture of my horse, and I can't texture the hair or leather.
    11-12-2013, 04:21 AM
What type of paper and pastels are you using? They make a huge difference in the quality of your portrait. Particularly when starting out, you really need to use quite a heavily toothed paper in order for it to hold all of the layers on.
What colour is your horse? Say a chestnut, there are multitudes of base colours in that coat. Some have a blue base, some green, some purple, very deep red etc. I layer at least one, if not two bases of that colour down in all of my drawings. Then from there, start working towards the coat colour. So in a red based chestnut, I'd put down a light blue/purple base, lay down my shadows and highlights, and start to work my deep reds out from there. Only the final two layers are actually the true colour of the horse. If you just slap on some brown and orange, there is going to be no depth.

Also, make sure you make big use of your shadows and highlights. Make highlights white, and shadows black with a deep blue/purple base to give the black a really deep feel about it. If you start a portrait by marking out those shadows and highlights, then working around them, your portrait will take shape much more readily and it will force your eye to think more about getting depth in the colour.

I hope this helps you somewhat!
    11-14-2013, 12:10 AM
Originally Posted by Kayty    
I have been working with soft pastel for about 5 years now, and sell a lot of my work.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to know about them?
With pastels do you draw in layers? Like you put down a layer of a dark color where you want it then add other colors? What is the best kind of paper to use? What's the best thing to draw with them? Thank you so much in advance!
    11-14-2013, 02:10 AM
Yep, as I said in the above post I start with a base layer and work from there. Don't go in too heavy in the first few layers - you will fill the tooth of the paper quickly so it won't hold the final layers. Use a medium pastel for the base and only add the soft and hard pastel in the final 2 layers.

You need to work on a toothed or textured paper. For starting out, something like Canson Mi-Tientes or Pastel Matt is good.
I love working on velour, but wouldn't recommend it for starting out as it is very unforgiving and accepts limited layers. I am also doing some work on Colourfix, which is interesting to work on - I am not overly convinced on it yet as I find it difficult to get the detail and texture that I like.

Regarding pastels themselves - you do get what you pay for. The cheap small box sets readily available in craft type shops are usually pretty hopeless. I use Rembrandt medium pastels, Unison and Schminke soft pastels, Conte hard pastels and Derwent pastel pencils.

I'm not really sure what you mean by 'what is the best thing to draw with them?'. Are you referring to what subjects you can draw with pastels? If so, your subjects are limited only by your inagination!! They are wonderful for landscapes, human and animal portraits, movement scenes, still life's etc etc etc.
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