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How To Draw A Pastel Portrait

How To Draw A Pastel Portrait

Pastels are great tools for drawing portraits. It develops your skill of blending and getting the right features with your fingertips. Practice with your pastels along with this art lesson.

There is quite a selection of different coloured pastels that are of different makes. You'll find the cheaper makes are squared off, there's a lot of bind that holds the pigment together, they're quite scratchy and they don't blend very well. Other makes usually are a round one and usually with a label from the manufacturer.

Not only will it tell you the name of the colour but it'll also be quite soft, quite creamy and it comes straight off onto your finger. So depending on the effect you want, you may need a selection of colours and a selection of makes, different manufacturers. So, have your model ready.

First of all, sketch out very lightly in a neutral tone. The cadmium red tint is a very pale hue to make a vague outline of the face that you can revisit it at any time. You could use a putty rubber or just blend with your fingers but try to avoid too many areas for now.

Have the very basic structure of the face in. Now, start to add more colours to blend. Now, everybody looks at tone in a different way.

If your model's skin colour is basically quite yellowish in tint or whatever your view on skin tone is, there's always a base coat of something along these lines. Burnt sienna is a good colour of choice for any flesh colour, whether old or young, whatever part of the world, burnt sienna seems to work as a good base. Use an effect in the hair that is going round and round and laying down some thick areas of colour.

Keep the face a little bit cleaner and sharper, so blend with a clean finger. Starting the side of the nose, push the colour into the surface of the paper and blend. Leave out areas of light just for now.

Indicate where the parts of the face are and start with a bit of detailing. The trick with eyes is don't have a complete circle for the iris. It's not even a semicircle, it's somewhere in between the two.

So, the top of the circle disappears into the upper eyelid so you've got that sort of basic shape and then we can put the colour in and not go right up to the very top. When we put the pupil, the black part, also don't go up to the very top to complete the shape. You can either leave that bit of white paper showing or a spot of white chalk to emphasize the light hitting and it can look very effective.

With the chalks, you can't possibly have every tiny detail because of the softness of the medium. You have to work more or less into the shapes and blend them away without worrying too much about the detail. There's a temptation to draw a solid line down the side of the nose but there isn't a solid line, it is purely a shadow and shadows emphasize the fact that the nose is protruding and coming out towards us.

Go down into the dent of the lips. So, where you originally indicated the parts of the face, shift things over slightly to emphasize the depth. Put a lighter tone on the lower lip and a little bit of cheating, darken up under that top lip to create a big strong shadow and put some white in the middle of the lower lip to create the effect of light hitting and it looks quite realistic.

Try very hard to observe and draw what you see and not make anything up. Some parts will be a little bit yellow, so this is why you do need quite a range of colours. If it's not sharp enough, if it's gone a bit too smooth and round, turn the chalk over or you can sharpen it up on some sandpaper, just rub it backwards and forwards and it will sharpen up.

Emphasize the shape and blend for the hair. Use a putty rubber to erase areas that are a little bit too dark and to lighten up slightly. Using the black, emphasize some small areas that just need stronger shadows, like under the chin, around the iris, those eyelids, the eyelashes on the side, and deepen up the shadows.

There is a nice little portrait in chalk pastels.