Slideshow Image 1

How to Use

What is Pastel

Pastel is a drawing tool made by hardening pigments with a small amount of adhesive aqueous binder. Beautiful coloring, smooth textures, and the ability to quickly capture essence are the characteristics of pastel. Impressionist artists used pastels because it was suited to quickly capture the essence and the colors of the subjects they saw.

However, unlike paints it is very difficult to mix colors with pastels. Thats why there are variety of colors. Also finished drawing require protections like spraying with a fixative to prevent smudging.

Today, pastels aren’t just used as a drawing tool but there are artists who attempt to make the best use of every materials involved in drawing pastel artwork.


Characteristics of Pastel

The strongest advantage of pastel is its convenience. Unlike other drawing tools, pastel doesn't require water or oil to start drawing. Its simplicity as a tool contributes to its convenience as a drawing material.

Water and oil paints require time to dry off to add another layer but, pastels do not require that time to wait. Also the wet and dry colors do not differ. It will depend on the material people draw on but, usually finished pastel works will require some kind of protection (fixatives, framing under glass).

The one weakness of pastel is that it is hard to mix colors compared to other drawing materials like paint. So multiple colors are needed in order to draw something colorful.

Materials needed to draw with Pastel

  • Pastel
  • Of course the first thing we need is pastels. There are several types of pastel. When pastels are classified into large groups it can be separated into hard, soft, and oil pastels. Soft pastel is the most widely used form of pastel. Gondola Pastel is a soft pastel.

    Soft pastels have a higher portion of pigment and less binder, resulting in brighter colors. At the same time less portion of binder makes soft pastels very breakable. We need to pay extra attention in times of use.

  • Charcoal or Pencil
  • Charcoal or pencil is needed for sketching.

  • Fixatives
  • Since pastels have higher portion of pigment it results in a higher proportion of dust. Dust does not stay on papers very well. Therefore, pastel artworks need some kind of protection from peeling off. Fixatives are the most commonly used protection and we recommend people to use specific fixatives for pastel.

    When using fixative, stand up the artwork slightly slanted and spray the fixative from about 30cm away evenly on to the artwork.

  • Paper
  • The type of paper used to draw on doesn't matter but, a rough surface paper would be preferable. Since pastels are very powdery, rough surface paper will capture and reflect the colors better compared to smooth surfaced paper.

  • Glassine
  • Using glassine will help maintain the condition of the artwork longer.

Drawing with Pastel

It is not very difficult to draw with pastel. Basic uses of pastel are drawing, coloring, and smudging. We want people to use pastel as a drawing material that can express freely.

Drawing Lines

Use the edges of pastel to draw clean and distinct lines. Draw lines to make images sharper.

Drawing with Sides

Use the sides of pastel to color in large areas. An additional touch will be.

Overlapping Colors

Rub with a piece of cloth or fingers to blur the colors. This technique will not only allow us to illustrate gradation and light colors but also overlap multiple colors naturally.

Extending with Water

Gondola Pastel uses an aqueous binder when hardening pastels. Therefore, a water paint like touch can be illustrated by tracing the pastel paintings with a wet brush.

Pastel x Material

There are no rules when using pastel. Many expressions are possible by changing the techniques and materials you use. Just change the material you are drawing on (wood, Japanese paper, cardboard) and you will easily be able to feel the wide range of expressions possible by pastel.