257 Eyes and nose excercise with pastels


I found this portrait class here where “students” are asked to use dry pastels. In the first lesson you do eyes and the nose. I went out and bought myself five dry-pastels in different skin tones, and tried it out.. I think i need to get used to using pastels. How is it possible to make any kind of details with those small clumsy sticks? Maybe they’re better for bigger drawings – my self portrait (drawing 201) didn’t turn out exceptionally well, either, though.

Are there some pastel-fanatics out there, who can tell me what the secret is?

0 thoughts on “257 Eyes and nose excercise with pastels”

  1. I think you are being a bit hard on yourself. This is not at all bad for a first go with pastels. I have owned the same set of chalk pastels since I was in school. The fact I still have the same set that are a quarter of a century old tells you how often I use them and that tells you how successful I am with that medium. I just cannot get the detail I want with pastels. If you find a technique then you will need to share it with me and maybe I will bust out my pastels again.

    • Haha.. I heard that a lot of people draw on sandpaper with the pastels.. It “eats” the colour more readily, and makes crisper lines.. I think there might be more to it, though.. I did this one on watercolour paper.. I don’t know if it makes any difference.

      • I have used them on paper with a good tooth but never sandpaper. I have used them in combination with charcoal which then allows me to add the detail I want but, as I say, mostly they just sit in a box.

  2. Something you may want to try out- dry/soft pastels are water soluble. See what happens if you wet some paper and then make a pastel stroke on it, or lay down the pastel first on dry paper and stroke a wet brush over it. The main binding ingredient in dry pastels is gum tragacanth, which isn’t normally used to make watercolor (which uses gum arabic) but is compatible with it and in ages past was experimented with as a watercolor ingredient by Joseph Turner. 🙂


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