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I have used pastels, during Drawing1.  I found Soft pastel very messy and frustrating, and the dust irritating on my skin.  However, happily trying again and looking through a book I already own, The Encylopedia of Pastel Techniques by Judy Martin, Search Press, I experimented with the Soft Pastel first.

Beginning with a page in my sketchbook I attempted various blending method.  I used my fingers, a blending stump, crosshatching and wetting (which was unsuccessful.  I then attempted a quick sketch of my coffee mug.

Conclusions on Soft Pastels (which I personally concluded that I don’t like) are:

  • Need to keep pastels clean, or get dirty colours
  • build up of dust
  • blending with fingers or stumps
  • They take the grain of the support
  • Mix colours on the page
  • They need fixing
  • Fine detail – tricky to say the least
  • They can be used on top of other mediums, something I have tried previously but not here.

I moved on to Oil Pastel.  I battled a bit with this medium in the previous module, but there is something about them that keeps me coming back to them, there is something drawing me to them but as i haven’t been too successful yet I don’t know why.

Beginning again in the sketchbook with some blending experiments, also using some pastel paper I tried blending with a wet wipe (no good), fingers, olive oil and a q tip, laying one colour over another, scraping into the surface, crosshatching and something called scumbling.


  • I need to get some turps and see what happens
  • Less fuss than the soft pastel, less mess
  • Very bright, intense colours, but I only have a limited range at the moment.
  • Surface probably needs to be quite strong

Moving on to try a small picture or two I did two of the same still lifeDSC_0063

Interesting results……the first picture I drew in pencil first and tried to colour from there, only to loose detail and feel the need to draw it on again with graphite stick –


The second was much more successful, I drew straight away in pastel and didn’t restrict myself to trying to produce real colours.


Its freer, I left the background paler, and theres more 3dness  (no such word?) to the cotton reels.

Finally, following on from my purple scrapped drawing of my coffee mug whilst experimenting with acrylics and using anything but brushes, I tried another scraped picture by following a technique described in the book.


Initially painting Indian Ink on some canvas paper and scrubbing light oil pastels over the dry ink, I took a wooden kebab skewer and tried to draw my dog.  True to form he wouldnt stay still long enough, so it ended up being his head in different positions.


I loved the effect this produced.

Close up of the right hand side to the drawing.


Scraffitto.  Lovely texture caused by the canvas paper not taking the oil pastel evenly.  The scratching can be smoothed over if you go wrong.

Couple of weeks later another couple of Scrafitto with oil pastels.

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