Category Archives: Pastel

Plunging into Pastels

Color has entered into my life, and I’m kind of obsessed already. I bought a set of soft pastels well over 1 year ago and never used them, but thought I would one day. Then I found two boxes of Nupastels on clearance one day. I think they were originally around $20-25 a box, but I got them for about $7 each. I couldn’t resist. So now I had 3 boxes of pastels. I think it was time to actually try them out.

Photo Jul 20, 1 57 37 PM

Photo Jul 11, 6 38 25 PM

To gain inspiration and with an invitation to go with my sister, I took a trip to the Phoenix Art Museum. I stopped at one of my favorite pieces in the place which has always blown me away because it’s a pastel piece.

Photo Jul 06, 7 40 19 PM

The White Rose (Portrait of Miss Jessup) by William Merritt Chase

From 10 feet away it  looks like a painting and I love it so much.

Photo Jul 06, 7 40 08 PM


I  watched some YouTube videos on pastel portrait drawing and how to use pastels and sat at the book store and skimmed a book on pastel portrait painting which was really useful.

I like to have a bit of knowledge about what I’m working with before playing.

I finally tried it out. I drew this ball and was pretty thrilled with it.

Photo Jul 12, 11 04 49 AM

Vivid red hair.

Photo Jul 12, 7 21 21 PM

Then a flower.

Photo Jul 12, 7 17 46 PM

And another Ball.

Photo Jul 20, 2 03 08 PM

Photo Jul 20, 2 03 21 PM

Finally it was time to do a full portrait. I choose a picture of my son that I love.

Photo Jul 17, 5 19 40 PM

I began with a vine charcoal outline

Photo Jul 17, 5 52 48 PM

I sprayed it with a workable fixative before adding color.

Photo Jul 17, 6 07 07 PM

Quickly added some basic “flesh tones”, pinks and sienna. With dark reddish browns for the shadows and the darker hair tones.

Photo Jul 17, 6 26 00 PM

Added in some darker reds for the mid tones and blonde/yellow in the hair. And just used my finger to begin blending it in.

Photo Jul 17, 6 50 38 PM

Added in eye color and trying to get the lip color right. At this point I also was getting frustrated since it looks nothing like my son. The mouth is off the eyes are off, and I’m pretty used to getting an accurate depiction in my drawings at this point, that I was unhappy. At the same time, I had to remind my self that I’m doing this drawing for practice with pastels, not likeness perfection, but I’ll try harder with that next time.

Photo Jul 17, 6 53 31 PM

I also need to work on my backgrounds and clothing.

Photo Jul 20, 12 49 12 PM

Here is the finished product, all blended in and smoothed out.

It’s done on 18x24in charcoal paper. It took approximately 3 hours to do. Which is amazing.

So overall, I’m proud of myself for completing my first full color portrait. It’s so exciting to think of the possibilities of what I can do with this.

Keep Drawing!

Pastels used in this portrait: