Meet Arlo, isn’t he an absolutely beautiful boy? And he was my first proper toe dip into the world of pastel pencils – and now of course, I use pastel pencils and soft pastels all of the time.
I was slightly apprehensive when I first started drawing him as this was all new to me.
But once I got used to the pencils, I really enjoyed working on him.
The one piece in this drawing/painting that I was dreading, was the collar! I left it right until the end and didn’t really have a clue how I was going to tackle it. But, it ended up being the piece of the drawing that I thoroughly enjoyed the most.
Trying to recreate all the old looking leather and the metal was actually easier than it perhaps looks. Once I had broken it all down into small, manageable areas and looked at it all as a series of shapes, rather than shiny metal or cracked leather, it all fell into place.
I use three different types of pastel pencils for my portraits and often with a base layer of pan pastels. An all round great pastel pencil, and also a very good price, are the Stabilo CarbOthellos which have a great range of colours in their set of 60, which is the biggest size tin that you can buy. If you are just starting out with pastel pencils, then I’d highly recommend these as a great all-rounder.
My two favourite brands of pastel pencils are the Faber Castel Pitt Pastels and the Caran D’Ache Pastel Pencils, which are just beautiful to use. The Faber Castell are my go-to pastels, I tend to use them as my main pencil with the Caran D’Ache bringing up the rear. Both have a beautiful range of colours, although I’d say that CD has the slightly better range.
All of these sets lay down beautifully and it’s trial and error to find exactly what works for you best. In the Daschund portrait, I used mainly Faber Castell pastel pencils with the CarbOthellos as I had yet to purchase my Caran D’ache. Whereas in the portrait of Jorvis below, I used the FC’s with many of the CD’s – along with the Unsion Soft Pastels for the grass and some foliage.
I’ll start popping up some videos of how I use the pastel pencils soon too as I always find it’s much easier to understand if I can see exactly how a product is used.
Have you used pastel pencils in your work yet? If so, I’d love to know what you think and any brands that you recommend.
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