Get started with oil pastels


During the monsoon season, it is as if the sky opens and fills the environment with the vibrant colours of life and you get a readymade beautiful landscape to draw and paint! The thrill of replicating a thunderstorm or freshly bloomed flowers on canvas can be addictive. Water colours are not the only way you can portray this scene! Oil pastels make for just as good a medium as any.

What you will need:
Canvas board or canvas roll
Oil Pastels (Soft pastels)

Here are 5 simple steps to learn to get started on using pastels for your painting sessions:

Step 1: Creating a rough sketch of your subject

You can keep a photograph you took as your reference, as shown in the picture above.

Begin by selecting and using the colours you will be majorly using in your painting and colour a rough outline as shown in the image below. In the case of this painting, it was the purple circles (flowers) with a green background.

Step 2: Filling the shapes with a basic colour palette

You can begin creating layers in your colours once you are done adding the basic compositional shapes. While you are at it, you can probably add layers on top of the existing pigments, so you don’t have to worry about being exact. You only require a general idea of where your colour fields lie.

Step 3: Start layering colours

This step is where the work really begins. Start by refining your painting, layer by layer. Add details to your shapes in this step. The more you work on the details, the more you will be able to show the complex hues in the real scene that you are trying to recreate.

Pro tip: Don’t worry about getting your hands dirty!

The good thing about using soft pastels is that you can spread the colours with your fingers. Use your pinkie finger to cover the smaller areas and the index finger to cover the larger ones. Be sure to wash your hands frequently to avoid smudging your work.

Step 4: Add the finer details

Using the sharp crayons, create the precise and finer details that will give your painting a visual clarity and a better finish. Pick the areas you want to focus on. In the painting given below, the artist focused on building layers and details for the flower petals and the leaves in the background.

Step 5: Removing the dust

Things will get a bit messy at this step. It is now time to remove the powdered pigments. Be sure to remove them without ruining your painting. Don’t remove them by brushing the pigments off your paper. Instead, pick the paper up and tap it gently on a hard surface. This way, the extra powder will fall off without smudging your painting. After this step, your painting will be ready to hang.

Did this article help you understand how to use oil pastels better? Do share with us in the comments section!

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