Demo: Create Depth and Tone With Pastels
When you're working with color, typically you want to reduce the contrast, fabulous, thank you, of the color, so that what you're focused on is the color of your picture. So right now, this is gorgeous reaction-wise, but I'm so attracted to the blue of that tape and the orange, that my eyes are going right to it. So what I tend to do when I'm working on a piece is I'm gonna cover up everything that isn't the picture with my white tape. And this is called artist tape, and it's a really great tape. And I can cut it with the X-Acto, or I can rip it, it doesn't really matter. It doesn't have to be fancy. You're just trying to cover up, move my colors over, the paper that's there. Okay. And, if you want to, and this is something people do sometimes, is actually you can soak and staple pastel paper. It is something, it is an option. You don't have to do that for pastel though, because unless if you're water coloring, and then pastel on top, which is what I did with those landscapes, you woul...
d want to soak and stretch and staple the paper. But we're not doing that here. We're just working with a single media which is the pastel. And you can probably see already, my eye is gonna focus and tend to focus more on what's inside rather than what's at the edges. And I'll show you the X-Acto knife. If you want to be more precise. I'm just ripping this tape. And it's good to use a ruler. I don't have a ruler right now but I'll just use the edge of the page, and this table is a working table so they're not gonna mind that I'm cutting on it. Just create a clean edge, okay. Hold it here. I'm also getting rid of all that excess orange which is our ground tone. There we go. So we're just gonna create two things. A ball, or a sphere, and a cube. And, by doing that, I want to show you how you create volume with the both of these shapes. So I'm not super fancy, just trying to cover up much of that orange, so I'm really focused here. Okay, now the first thing I want to do is create a tone, and then I'm gonna erase into it to get my edges. So there's two ways we can work here, and this is true of all media. There's subtractive and there's additive. And so in this case, we're gonna use the pastel dust to move across the whole surface, and use it as a ground on top of this orange ground. So Kenna, what would you want on top of this ground to make something, an interesting ground surface? What would you choose?
What about a yellow on top of that?
Yellow is nice because if we chose a green or a purple it would neutralize it. We'd have a very brown surface, which isn't bad, but I think a yellow is a nice choice. And I'll be able to see the drawing underneath it more easily than a dark tone. Now this side, and I'm gonna put, I am going to put something underneath it so I'm not getting too much of the table. Hold on a second. I think I could use this. So this is, you can see this is the textured side, and it has a real tooth to the paper. But I thought it'd be fun to play with it. Even though this is a really small picture. I'm going to use a rag to get this color to be more consistent across the surface. So I'm just basically changing the color of this paper from orange to a kind of yellowy orange. It's a beautiful color. Nice choice, Kenna, I love it. Okay so now, I have to decide what color this cube will be. And I'm feeling, I don't know, I'm kind of feeling green. What do you think, Kenna?
Sounds good to me.
Okay, I'm gonna grab my dry stick pastel, and I'll do, this one will be the dry stick, the other will be the oil pastel. And I'm just gonna try to color this whole square. I'm gonna use the fact that this has an edge to it so I can go right to the edge of my pencil drawing. If I used the round, which I could, I wouldn't use it for cube, I might use it if I were making a circle, but not for this shape. You're trying to use your tools, and I do consistently say this. You're trying to use your tools to maximize the ease of your application. And, by doing that, it's actually more fun, because you're not fighting your tools. But this tool is designed to make an edge, so that's why I'm trying to use this instead of one of these tools that the chalk that's really round in shape. I would use that for a circular motion, circular shapes. This for square shapes, or for lines. Okay, so first thing I'm gonna do, and you can see all this color sitting on the top of the surface, and it's quite nice. I'm gonna rub it in though, so that it's a smooth application. Also just because I like that. But textures are great to have too, especially in landscapes, or in cloth, or you're trying to suggest material that's textured. This kind of surface is just great. Okay. So there's our cube. Now I'm going to try starting with my finger to make a kind of neutralized tonality over this whole thing, but I will grab those stumps. Simply because the stumps can get into the little nooks and crannies of the shape of this cube. Now the one little issue is, my pencil drawing is nearly invisible underneath this. And because the pencil was quite light, I'm gonna kind of have to guess a little bit about where those lines are. So if it's not a perfect cube, you will forgive me. When you're drawing and you're gonna apply color on top, making a darker drawing is helpful. But if it's dark and it's thick pencil, that's gonna merge in with your color, so you might want to use the spray fixative to keep that pencil drawing on top of that surface. Okay so this is when I'm gonna grab a fresh stump because I have a fresh color here. I'm just gonna go right into the corners. It acts essentially like a pencil. And you can get your colors in pastel pencils as well as the chalk form, or the rounded chalk versus the square. The only difference is the pencils create more line work, and the chalk larger areas, but they work well together for sure. And, just about done with this. Again, I'm just gonna blow so that the dust is gone. Now I'm gonna use the subtractive method to figure out where my light is on this surface. Okay, almost there. Okay. So I'm trying to create a blended, smooth tonality. That's why I'm using the stump and my fingers. But now I'm going to try to figure out where my light is going to be, and I'm going to use the edge of this eraser to establish that. So here, I'm gonna use the eraser to pull off the color, and I am guessing. Totally trying to use, I'm eyeballing where the top of that box is to figure out roughly where the corner is, to make an even shaped box. And then I'm going to turn the corner here to make, I might use this edge. To find the top part of the box here. That works pretty well. And all I'm doing is subtracting off the color that was here to make what would be the lightest side of this cube. And it's not gonna pull all the color off but it's gonna pull a good amount of it off. And then I'm going to apply some light tonalities of pastel to this side to create a sense of light. And I'm going to leave this color on this side sitting on the surface so it really pops, and feels like it's in front of this shape and this shape. It's closest to the viewer. And that's just crating an illusion of form. It's a very simple thing, but it's kind of a critical piece of using these materials, is understanding, what do they look like when you put them on the surface? What does a thick patch do versus a thin layer of color? Or a neutralized color versus a vibrant color? Okay. So it almost looks pink, which is kind of interesting. It's just the green and this orange tone, have combined to look almost like a pink tone. I'm going to add this delicious green, right here, and I'm gonna let the tooth of that exist a little bit more so that you can really see that color sit on the surface. And it's quite pure, it doesn't have the neutral color of the green underneath. It's directly on the paper to a certain degree. And you might say, well why did you put the tone down in the first place? Well generally speaking, I like to put a shape of color to understand what my overall shape color is, and this box is a green box. So by applying the overall shape color, and then going in to find the lights and the shadows, I just find it easier to think about it. And that may not be true for other people, but I think it helps to compose pictures when you're thinking about shape first, and then detail, and light and shadow second. So here, this is the side of the box that's lit. And I'm not blending this, except with the tool itself. I'm not using a stump at all, okay. And now, we have one side of the box, but we probably want to find at least one other side to tell us about this form. So I am going to grab another tool to say, okay what if we have the darkest side of the box on this side? So let me find a color that will work really well. I'm gonna combine a darkish brown, so I make sure that my color is neutralized. You'll see with pastels, they don't get very dark. Most of the colors here are fairly light on surfaces, so you only have limited numbers of colors that really go dark. So brown is one of them, and I'm using brown because it's closer to the green than say black, which will really neutralize the color a lot. Black neutralizes color quite dramatically. So I'm mixing a cool sort of green, and this brown, and this I will blend with my finger. And if it's too far away as a color, I'll go back in and add a little more green. Blend it, put it here. Now all I'm trying to do is establish a very simple form, and the very simple form is a cube, to understand how to kind of create light and shadow. And all that I've done is use a pure pigment in the light, it's very vibrant. After I put down this sort of overall shape of green, I erased out color underneath so that color would really pop on that surface. And this last part is I've mixed two greens and a brown to make a sort of shadowy color. If I put it right there you can probably see it better. I'm using my fingers, I'm using stumps. I'm using the texture of the paper to kind of describe this form. Here's where I should grab a stump. I'm gonna make sure it's a clean stump. Not one that I've used before, unless it's green. But here, actually, I'm picking up color, so it's because it doesn't have the oil. It's just, it's kind of pushing things around and lifting it off, and I'm not even pressing very hard. So, I'm gonna use my finger for these corners and just try to be careful. Okay. And that, I've aligned it pretty well. I'm not quite on the corner, so I'm gonna lift it, and then I'm gonna hit the edge so that it really feels like they're connected. And, gonna push this around, and that looks pretty much like a cube. It looks fairly dimensional to my eye, and I can go back in, I can erase anything that looks funky. This surface really does well with erasers. Now the only problem is that I have to be careful, is that I had a little yellow there and I want to make sure that I don't lose that yellow. So, again I'll just blend it with my towel. And we have our cube.