Why You Should Include PASTEL DRAWINGS in your Art Portfolio + tips & Student Examples

There are two types of pastels you can use to make work for your portfolio: oil pastels, and soft pastels and hard pastels which are both chalk-like.

Pastel drawings can be done quickly and all you need is paper, pastels and your fingers! 

Despite their simplicity, pastels are versatile and allow you to utilize a variety of techniques and create many different effects. 

With soft pastels you can blend and layer colors easily and create a wide range of different colors and soft gradients. You can also use soft pastels for blending and layering and hard pastels on the same surface to add fine lines, more details and finishing touches Chalk-like pastels, whether soft hard or pencil can be mixed together on the paper. 

Pastel pencils are most versatile, they can be blended just like soft pastels and you can sharpen them for precise details and you can also use them for preliminary sketches,

Oil pastels, on the other hand, which have a unique texture similar to oil paints, can’t be mixed with the other pastel types but you can thin them with a little mineral spirits, turpentine or stand oil to create glazes or washes.

Oil pastels produce bright, intense colors and you can apply the pigment to the paper with your bare hands and are better suited to larger works. Oil pastels have a texture that is well suited to painterly effects. With oil Pastels, you can achieve a really nice texture & the deep, rich colors are easy to blend & have a great luminous quality. 

To start practice with oil pastels and chalk-like pastels on paper, to get you more familiar with the medium’s qualities, and then eventually you can work on a range of surfaces. 

Oil pastels work well on colored paper, card stock, cardboard, canvas, wood, glass or  plastic. For soft and hard pastels textured paper like Bristol works best- you can also use watercolor paper, canvas, cardboard or wood surfaces. 

Oil pastels’ particular composition and versatility allows for amazing effects, beautiful textures, subtle gradients, and luminous saturated color. They can be built up, and scraped and scratched off.

Blending oil pastels allows you to create depth and shading. You can blend by using the oil pastels themselves, or blend by using your hands, using your fingers to push the colors around on the paper, mixing colors together. You can use other tools to blend as well including erasers or a paintbrush with a little solvent.  You can also take a sharp object like a paper clip or the tip of a knife and scrape your design into layers of pastels you’ve drawn on the paper. 

The best way to learn about Pastels is to experiment using them. Try not to get discouraged; like all mediums it takes time to develop your skills.

Ashcan Art has Pastel courses too if you find that you need help or if you want to develop your skills even more     

Follow us on Instagram to see More Portfolio Examples! @ashcan.art

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