10 Tips for painting with oil pastels

Artists who are new to pastels can have a lot of questions. Things like what kind of effect will the color have on the painted surface or what kind of canvas best goes with pastel colors are important to understand and answer. You need to exactly know how the end product is going to turn out to be creative with your pastels. We artists, definitely, want to keep things loose and more importantly, fun. If you are looking to learn more about pastels, this guide on The Talent Bank gives you detailed information and tips on improving your abilities.

Let’s take a look at the basics, for starters:

  1. The surface color matters: Painting surfaces come in a variety of colors and are not necessarily white. It is important to understand that this permanent background color will have a deep effect on the resultant pastel. To create balance and harmony in the art, you should be choosing a color that will show throughout or having something contrasting to add energy to the work.
  2. Combining firm soft pastels: It is advisable to buy two sets of pastels, one with softer sticks and the other one with firm colors. Combining the two has been a time tested way to creativity.
  3. Rework depends on the surface: With pastel colors, you cannot choose to rework anytime. While sanded surfaces do give a degree of flexibility in the time of your rework, but it is important to remember that the colors will fill the grains fast.
  4. An eraser is a must: depending on the tooth of the paper surface, an eraser can be put to creative uses. In fact, eraser is the best way to come up with a clean and bright surface.
  5. Working on wet yields: Wet underpainting allows for colors and gradients to migrate and consequently offer interesting effects. Experimenting and practice helps you understand the trick.
  6. Thumbnails to experiment: Since you are rather new to pastels, thumbnails are the best way to practice and let go.
  7. Get a viewfinder: It will help you divide your canvas into quadrants and also assists you in duplicating the same. This makes the final drawing much easier.
  8. Plan before you relax: It is very important to come up with good compositions, values, designs and underpainting. Once, you have established these, you will have fun in creating your artwork.
  9. Don’t overwork: Regardless of what kind of color you are using, it is never true that the harder and longer you work, the better is your painting. Overworked designs are easily noticeable and don’t look great either.
  10. Be selective about photos: Photographs are a great way to jog your memory. They will help you remember and establish a worthy scene and the precise colors you will need to create. Further, they will also tell you about the things you will need to focus upon and you won’t have the obligation to try and remember every minute detail, howsoever, insignificant to the work.

Lastly, enjoy your work. Pastels can be great if you have been able to understand and gain control over them.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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