Live Lessons: "Portrait" - Soft Pastels

Pastel portrait on toned paper
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This lesson series features:
5 Hours of Instruction
5 Videos

About This Lesson Series...

A five-part lesson series on drawing a portrait with pastels. Each step of the process from start to finish is covered. Learn how to transfer the contours quickly and easily. Layer and mix skin tones and build up depth with color. Details are handled with pastel pencils before adding a strong sense of light to complete the image.

Resources for this Lesson...


Photo Reference

Finished Result

Here's what you'll need...

  • Soft Pastels
  • Toned Pastel Paper
  • Pastel Pencils
  • Masking Tape
  • Sharp Pencil or Pen

Lesson Discussion

    • Hi Lisa,

      This series is over. You can watch all of the videos in the series by clicking on the tabs out to the left of the video. There are five one-hour long lessons.

  1. Hey Mat, I just watched the first lesson and I loved it and Leart a lot about image transfer.
    I have a question regarding that, what kind of paper did you use for it? Also can I use regular A4 printing paper for this?

    • Hi Karen,

      Some folks like to use fixative to protect the art. I usually don’t use any fixative since it can change the tone of the colors. Yes, always look for acid free mat board – most of it is already – when framing your art.

  2. Hi Matt, am really loving the course and especially these live lessons. I’m learning so much! This is a beautiful picture of a beautiful little girl. I thought it was your daughter as she looks so much like you, then at the end someone said she was your niece. I’ve started a pastel drawing of my baby nephew since finding this live lesson. I’m really enjoying myself and following all your tips. My main issue is with getting the colours right for skin tones. I used dark umber for the darker tones and, as you say, it looks much better than black. Thanks again for giving me an outlet in my rehab from a chronic illness I’ve suffered many years and motivating me to keep going with my drawing!

  3. Hi Matt, I was wondering if I could do this on a canvas? How would I go about this? Should I cover the canvas so that it is toned? Will the end result differ much from the paper? I would really love to put all nine of my kids on one canvas! ( Don’t worry, I have a very large canvas and wall) 😉😁

    • Hi Deys,

      You may want to choose a lower quality to stream if you are experiencing buffering. To do so, scroll over the video and click on the small gear icon. Choose a lesser quality and you should notice less buffering.

  4. I like you because blend with your finger and so do I. One of my art teachers said you should not use your finger because your skin has oil which might affect the picture.

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