Much delight with Soft Pastels!
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What a colour!
Are soft pastels used for drawing or painting? You can do both with soft pastels because the rectangular shape of the pastel sticks allows you to draw lines as well as colour in areas. This blurs the boundary between drawing and painting.
You will notice it immediately on very gentle strokes: Applying soft pastels is a very spontaneous process and the colour applied can be easily blended. This is because the pigments in a soft pastel are only minimally compressed and the soft pastel contains an extremely low percentage of binders. Soft pastels can create such flowing and soft gradients like no other drawing or painting mediums.
Faber-Castell soft pastels are available in two lengths: the standard and the mini format.
The right paper
Not all papers are equal. So what is the right kind of paper for soft pastels? Textured, rough-grained papers that allow pigments to stick well to their surface offer the optimal adhesion. Smooth papers are less suitable for this. When starting out, try not to make things too difficult for yourself and choose special papers available in shops designed for pastels. Such papers offer the best possible surface and give you the freedom to fully concentrate on drawing.
Once you become slightly more familiar with handling pastels, you can also try using watercolour paper, canvas, pasteboard or wood as a substrate. Always make sure that the substrate used is acid-free in order to prevent the unpleasant yellowing of your picture.
Lines and Areas
Hatch using soft pastels? Hatching is admittedly not the most important drawing technique for soft pastels, but it is an interesting way to add style and can be used in combination with other drawing techniques to create interesting visual elements.
Try using the edge and tip of a pastel to create precise and expressive hatchings. Layering hatchings on each other results in spontaneous colour mixes that will give you inspiration for new visual composition.
Blending and Mixing
Creating colour gradients is a forte of soft pastels. They can create gradients with such flowing and painterly quality like no other drawing and painting mediums.
Apply the colours you have selected for the gradient beside each other. Then blend the colours together only at their interfaces, preferably using a blending stump. The paper stump's tip allows you to work on small areas as well. A simple application technique that produces spectacular results!
Good to know: A blending stump is made of paper rolled tightly together and can be cut to size using a cutter or sharp knife. Blending stumps are available in various thicknesses.
Brighten and Darken
The art eraser
The art eraser is something you truly cannot do without! The soft rubber mass can be kneaded into any shape you want and therefore be used for correction on small spots or larger sections. When dabbed on the desired area, the art eraser absorbes loose pigments by binding them to the rubber mass.
The art eraser offers you another way of brightening colours and correcting parts of a picture. And that's not all it can do: use the art eraser to remove pigments from a picture with the help of a paper edge or a stencil. This allows you to create bright lines or areas with precision on your picture for extravagant effects; this also works on dark-coloured papers.
Postive and Negative
Even if you have rubbed colour pigments well onto the paper, they are only resting loosely on the substrate and are prone to being unintentionally smudged. A fixative allows you to seal and preserve your picture. The fixative is atomised and sprayed onto the picture from a distance of approx. 30 cm. After drying, it permanently protects the surface.
There are differing opinions as to whether you should use a fixative or not. Opponents criticise that using a fixative makes colours appear darker and duller. Proponents use a fixative to protect their picture as well as to allow themselves to further process their picture after the fixative has dried. The next two pages will show you how this works.
Good to know: Hairspray is not very suitable as a fixative because it makes pigments clump together, giving the picture a blotchy look.
Your can apply a fi xative on a preliminary sketch and then draw over it using soft pastels. This prevents the preliminary sketch smudging.
For great effects: Stencils
colours to the area.
You can pick up the pigment using your finger and incorporate it into an existing drawing or blend it immediately on your picture. This is an ideal technique you can use to quickly colour in large areas or create beautiful textures.
As simple as this
Combining strong techniques
The drawing techniques we have presented offer endless possibilities for creating extravagant pastel pictures. If you are looking for even more room for variation and you love mixed media pictures, experiment with exciting combinations of other materials and tools from the Creative Studio range.
You could, for example, use the Pitt Artist Pen with waterproof ink for preliminary sketching. The interplay of soft and with the Goldfaber drawing pencil also delivers great results.