How to draw with pastels?

Pastel is a cross between colored pencils and crayons. It consists of colored pigments with chalk and binding elements. The pastel technique originated from drawing with soft materials, such as coal pencils, coal, and sepia. Pastel pencils have many shades, to a greater extent they are delicate, like dairy ones, giving a special elegance to the drawings.

If you want to learn the technique of drawing with pastels, you should know that this technique is more suitable for drawings, where the atmosphere, color mood, background play a major role, since drawing pastels with small details is inconvenient, these pencils are not intended for drawing details.

Pastel drawing: preparation

Before telling you how to draw with pastels (for a beginner it is especially important), we will look at what is generally necessary for drawing, because pastels are not the most common material.

Pastels selection

There are three types of pastels: dry, wax, oil.

Dry in turn is divided into hard and soft.

Each type of pastels has its own characteristics, its own possibilities of working with a pattern. Choose at your discretion. We will say how to draw with dry pastel (below).

Pastel drawing paper

Yes, it should be a special paper with a textured surface, because it is necessary that the pigment is held. Most often pastel paint on colored paper, it allows you to convey the saturation of colors in full. The choice of color depends on the nature of the picture.

Types of paper for pastels:

  1. sandpaper (usually large format; for artistic purposes);
  2. velvet paper;
  3. pastel board (of tiny cork particles).


In addition, the following tools may be useful: a blade, bristle brushes, rags, an eraser, a cotton pad - for correcting the pattern; hairspray or special fixative.

How to draw with dry pastel

  1. The preliminary pattern is applied in small pastels, slightly different from the tone of the paper. The lines are thin, lightly applied to only see the contours. Use materials to correct (see above) if necessary. Do not use lead pencil, as pastel drawing on top will be bad.
  2. Next, the background. The main tones are applied by placing the chalk flat. If the length of the chalk is large, do not be afraid, break off the desired size (convenient, 2-3 cm). If the paper is colored, apply basic colors, only where necessary. There should be no gaps on white paper (use white chalk where necessary).
  3. Mark the main items, go to the refinement of the picture. Use lines, points, strokes. It is good to make pastel shades and colors Use feathering (a rag, cotton wool, a brush or your own finger) and rub the desired places of the picture. In pastels, you can impose colors on each other, experiment.
  4. What else you need to know about how to draw with pastels. For beginners, it is often difficult to keep tonality. Decide in advance what will be the lightest in the drawing, which is slightly darker, and which is the darkest. Remember - each item has its own tone.
  5. Some drawback of dry pastels is that it is difficult to convey the saturation of the shadows. But this can be improved by adding color. Draw a shadow with gray or black chalk, and on top enter the color (of the object or area where the shadow is). Blend.
  6. View the drawing from the side. Highlight the main details with clearer lines, blend out secondary or too contrasting areas.
  7. Fastening drawing. Use emery paper or velvet paper; this will keep the pattern longer. You can use special aerosols to fix pastels. Hairspray is also suitable, but remember that the pattern will darken.You can also put a picture under the glass.

Oil pastels

And a few words about how to paint with oil pastels.

  1. Use better light paper.
  2. A thinner is used for oil paints (for example, pinene).
  3. Preliminary drawing is applied with oil shallow or coal. At the same time, the ember is whisked before applying the pastels, so that barely noticeable strokes remain.
  4. After drawing a hatch pattern, flat, go to work with a brush. A brush dipped in a thinner, as if we blur a drawing.
  5. We draw the details, we specify the form, texture. Finish the drawing.