Artist's Drawing and Inspiration


• Don’t be too ‘precious’ about your pastels. Remove the wrappers, they get in the way. Don’t be afraid to break them into smaller pieces if that makes them easier• Fresh white bread squished into a ball works really well as an eraser, and doesn’t affect the paper surface – especially good for papers such as Canson; whereas the sanded surfaces such as Colourfix can take more punishment and a putty eraser will work fine.• Make a chart when buying new pastels, by putting a sample of the colours onto a sheet of pastel paper; and write the brand, colour name and reference number beside each colour. This is invaluable when you want to obtain replacements.• Work from dark to light. Have a damp cloth handy for wiping your hands, as pastels are quite messy to work with.• Have a piece of carpet underneath your easel so that if you drop a pastel it won’t smash to smithereens!• I never use black or white pastels, as I find the effect too harsh. I prefer to make my ‘darks’ from warm earthy colours, such as burgundy or dark red mixed with dark blue. There is also an endless range of light pastels to use, without needing to use white. For the same reasons I don’t use black or white pastel paper – preferring to use Burgundy or Terracotta Colourfix.• Harder pastels work well for ‘underpainting’. Keep the softer ones for finishing touches and highlights.• Keep fixative spray to a minimum, as I have found it can change the colours slightly. I use it very sparingly a couple of times during a painting, with a very light spray at the end.

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