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introduction   >  HOBBY TIPS  >  Soft pastels

Soft pastels

Soft pastels are dry coloured chalks which are made of powdered pigment slightly tied to a certain solution of tragacanth. Offered pastels have different hardness (hard, medium, soft) and shape (flat, rounded, thick, thin).

The art of working with them is mostly dependant on the ability to lay down required shade of colours next to each other and therefore, there is a general rule: the more pastels in the artist’s set the better. For removing applied colours from the surface we can simply blow them away. To keep the painting, it is necessary to apply fixing. The modern means for fixing is for example shellac fixative.

Chalky, fine drawing is characteristic for soft pastels. When you draw with the pastel on the paper, its pigment makes crumbles and stays on the fibres of the paper. The most common way to mix soft pastels is using mixing and penetration of individual shades and spreading them with fingers or with a paper spreader. This is useful if you need to for example emphasize or subdue the tone of a clear colour.

The technique of drawing a portrait – this technique is linear. The drawing starts out with a pencil or a chalk which outline the basic position of the face and afterwards using light chalk work out the bright areas. The surrounding of the bright areas need to be gently shaded with pink and then with yellow colour. The penetration of individual tones is brought down by paper spreader so that the pastel is imprinted in the paper. Once the basic sketch is created, you can finish the drawing with different colours, tones, mixing them and adding darker touches and highlighting brighter areas.

The technique of drawing landscape – These drawings are usually drawn from the top down in order to avoid blurring. If you want to achieve a strong impression of the perspective, the drawing is divided in horizontally divided stripes which are getting darker in the direction down.

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