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Getting Started with Pastels

Lesson 3 of 10

Demo: Blending Pastels

 

Getting Started with Pastels

Lesson 3 of 10

Demo: Blending Pastels

 

Lesson Info

Demo: Blending Pastels

What I have here is this oil chart and the reason why I did this is because I've used a lot of dry pastels. I haven't used as much oil pastels, simply because I love the way the dry pastel works over the watercolor, so in trying to get the know the oil pastels, I decided to do a color chart. And basically what I did was I chose two blues that were really different and I just looked at the colors in the palette here, two reds that were really different, I really only had to work with, here, one yellow, and then I realized oh I have another, so I popped it down here. I would usually do these in order and organize them, blues, reds, yellows, and secondary greens or purples. So I have a green here, I have a kind of interesting green, gray color that I thought I'd play with, and two sort of neutral colors. This would be burnt sienna and burnt umber if you were using paints. So taking all those colors I created, it's kind of like a math chart, I put the same colors here as here, and then I i...

ntersected those colors. So this lemony yellow color and this green become this color here, and then some more neutral, and really interesting colors would be, let's see we'll find one, this is a wild one, this gray, green tone and the orange make this neutralized kind of brownish red color. So what you discover is that you can get to know these colors and figure out what the combinations are just by simply applying them on the side here and then layering one on top of the other and sort of blending them together. And that's all I did, and I'll just show you on the side here what that looks like. If I took my blue and I rubbed it on the surface and then let's just intersect it with something that's going to create neutrality. I think I'll use this color that I used before. So with oil pastels, you can just continue to go over one over the other to create your color. The tool itself is literally pushing this pigment around. Which is kind of interesting. Then you have sort of a gray, green block here. I can push it bluer if I push more of this color on top. Or I can shift it to be more red. Because the color is so opaque, whatever's the last thing you apply that's going to be the most dominant, I say oh, I think I want it to be more blue, I'll change it up again. It does hit a layer, sort of barrier, or wall at a certain point. Like now I can't really apply much more color to that. It's not letting me add too much more to it because there's a lot of oil, and a lot of pigment already there. But these are very blendable, very malleable, and really different than the dry stick. I'll do the same test over here, try to use a similar color, (scraping) Now if I leave it there, you see a lot of the texture of the chalk because it's a dry stick. If I want to blend it so it's a little bit more smooth and consistent, I would just rub it with my finger. Or I might actually rub it with what's called a stump. It's just another application tool. The stumps tend to pick up a little bit of the pigment. As you can see it's creating a powder. (blows) A finger tends to push that pigment into the surface. And the reason why is because your hands have oil on them, and that oil actually activates that dry pigment, much like the oil pastel, only with less oil, hopefully, my fingers. The oil is just very gentle and light on your hands but it presses that color into the surface so it's kind of a nice, interestingly, your fingers are kind of a nice tool. But I recommend, you know, creating a color chart like this, and then I would label all these colors, if there was a name on the side, just to remember which one, but you can kind of see which ones coordinate. With the orange, we know it's here. The bright, dark red is here. It's pretty easy to match the colors. But by doing this, we start to get familiar with the color we're using and it's an excellent exercise for someone who's not really sure, never used the tool before, never used these materials, you have a set of chalk pastels, or you have a set, or dry stick, you have a set of oil pastels, either one. Make a chart, and I didn't even put any tape or measure to make it really fancy, I just literally did what I did here which is just press down a little square shape of color. And a couple things are good about this. One is that it gives you a point of reference that you can use for whenever you're making a picture to kind of look, like how do I make that color, oh, it's right there on the chart. We don't remember color as human beings. Not really what we're good at, generally speaking, but when we see it, we can then reference literally, deconstruct it how is it made? The second thing is you're getting to know your material, and I think getting to know the material is probably, it's like any kind of a new person, this is like a new person. You want to get to know it, so you're going to engage in it and figure out what it's all about, and how it acts, how it behaves on a surface. I will mention that this color chart is on, it's just on a bond paper. And bond paper is a sketch paper that's fairly thin. It's not too expensive, you can buy a big pad of it, again, at Blick you can buy any of these supplies. All these supplies came from Blick. And it's kind of a nice tool for either dry stick pastel or oil because it has enough heft to it that it can handle the color but it's not an expensive, fancy piece of paper for a finish, so I used that for this color chart. And it worked out pretty well. So I'm just gonna put that aside. And again I just did some testing with a dry stick to see what my primary colors, secondary colors, and what I call tertiary, or third layer of colors, your browns, your grays, your black, and your white, so this is a little test. And I like to do tests, because I feel like, again, it's helping me to understand the properties of the materiel, and to be able to explain it to you. So we'll talk a little bit more about stumps. I wanna pull over, there's two things I wanna do is I wanna show you surfaces and the application of the color at the same time. And I also wanna talk about a tool like a stump. And you can see I have a couple of each type and they're just based on their size and a stump is a blending tool. And basically it's used to move the color across the surface and push it into the paper. A stump is made of paper, so when you're rubbing a paper tool, and I'll show you with some sketch paper here, let's see if we can find the news print, which is what this is. Newsprint is really inexpensive, I'll show you the pad. Really inexpensive paper, used for preliminary sketches, and studies, it's recycled paper. So it has, it's gray, and it has a lot of texture to it but it's also really thin, really inexpensive. So it's good for testing things, but it's again not a fancy paper for making a fabulous finish, it's a little too delicate. (paper tearing) So I'll rip a sheet out, and we'll do some tests, and I'll put it aside. So with the stumps, and let's test a few colors here, I did a few test patches. This is not a great surface for pastel and I'll show you why. I'll start with an oil pastel. And you don't use stumps, typically, with an oil pastel. You can but it doesn't move beautifully. I'll show you, let's use this color. We'll use the same color. Here's the oil pastel, and this is the newsprint paper. And you can see, there are two things you can either let your texture be, or you can push it into the surface of the paper. Let's try pushing this with my finger and then I'll test it with a stump. So it moves pretty nicely with your finger. There's a lot of oil in this color. Really pretty easily. I do have to clean the fingers, though, as I do this. I'll try a stump, and once I use a stump with particular color, I would kind of say, okay, that's my orange-y red stump. You wouldn't wanna keep using that tip with different colors because then it's gonna turn really brown and gray, it's gonna neutralize the color. And it works pretty well. It feels, I don't know if you can hear this. (scratching) It's very subtle, maybe you can't hear. But it feels a little weird when I get to the lighter area of this color, it starts to, it's paper on paper so it has that fingernails on a chalkboard kind of feeling, so it's, I don't mind it, but I think I like using my finger a little better. It's not a bad blending tool for this when you're in a thick patch of the color. It's not touching the paper. But when you get to a thinner area, it's paper on paper, not so cool. But with a finger, it moves pretty nicely and it doesn't' feel the same way, so I personally prefer using the finger. But the stump functions, it's probably better on a smoother, slick surface than, say, newsprint which has a little tooth to it. So this I wanna do is the dry pastel. And I'll just grab a color from over here. (scratching) And again, you can apply it fairly thickly, you can do a thin patch of color. We can move it with our finger. We can move it with a stump, actually I'm gonna use the opposite side, I don't like to mix oils and dry stick because one is a powder pigment and the other is an oil based pigment. You can blend them, but they're not exactly ideal for blending, and that's mostly because it's like oil and water, it's like two different methodologies. You could put the oil on top of the dry, but the dry will not do so well, I could test it. It doesn't really want to lay nicely on that surface. It's kind of resisting it, and then I'm getting oil on the stick, so generally speaking, you could do an oil on top of the dry stick but not the other way around. And that's sort of this method that I've talked about which is, with painting, or even with these materials, fat over lean. You want to do your thickest application of color over your thinnest, and that's because particularly with the oil pastel, it's oil so it's not fully dry, it's tacky, and when I touch this it's still tacky to the touch, so if you're trying to apply something dry on top of it and it's not fully dry itself it's going to tend to resist, and in some cases with the oil pigments they can crack, so I don't like to do dry over or thin over thick. The general rule for painting and for tools like this is thick over thin. So you can do, that's the oil pastel. This is the dry pastel. It works pretty well and it moves fairly well with the finger. I'll try the stump. I'll make sure I have the right color. And it blends in nicely. I still, it's that sound that I'm not a fan of. That feeling of paper on paper. So again, I just, maybe its just that I like kind of to get my hands dirty. Maybe it's my bias. But I just feel the fingers do this thing that I really like. So that's, your dry pastel works pretty well on the newsprint, we'll test one more color over here. Now the other thing is, you can see as I'm drawing, we are on a table surface, so this is a really good tool for a rubbing. If I want it to be perfectly smooth, I would have to put another, some kind of pad or something underneath. And the other problem when you draw on a surface that's variegated like this wood it's gonna pick up those textures and then you can't really get rid of them. They're there, and you can see, it's sort of speckling. When I did this, and I'll show you, I'll just stick a smooth surface underneath. And do this again. Then you can create a really smooth tonality. So you have to pay attention to the surface that your paper's sitting on, especially if the paper's super thin like newsprint. But newsprint is fine for studies. It's fine for a quick sketch. And I would use it only for that. I would not make a finished piece on it because it's delicate and it's really toothy and it's not a beautiful, color's not bright white, it's gray, so it kind of neutralizes the color a little bit. But for quick studies totally fine.

Class Description

Are you interested in drawing with pastels but not sure how to get started? In this course artist and illustrator, Mary Jane Begin will introduce you to pastels. This class is perfect for beginners looking to learn the basics of the medium in order to begin a drawing practice. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the know-how to start experimenting and drawing with pastels!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • All about the different types of pastels and how they work
  • Which supplies and papers to use when working with pastels
  • How to begin making simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium



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