The Secrets to Drawing: Soft Pastels

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Lesson Discussion

  1. Love this tutorial I’m doing. It would be great to have access to the photo as a reference and to have a photo of the color pastels used for it before beginning it. Thanks for all those great lessons!

  2. Soft and Oil pastels are so different, but I really like how you can just blend the colors with your fingers. Nothing feels better than blending out a blue sky or red and yellow sunset with your fingers! I never thought pastels would have been something I enjoyed as I started my art journey, and surprisingly they are something I enjoy the most. These videos are so helpful!

  3. Hi Really love the soft pastels video. However, I really struggle to get the crisp white highlights such as tose on the breaking waves. My whites simply blend. Is it the quality of my soft pastels or am I missing something.

    • I have the exact same problem Andrew and i find no answer to this anywhere. i have purchased white pastel from several brands, still no progress. have no idea what’s the problem.

      • Hi Guys,

        Sometimes it’s not the pastel but the surface. There is a limit to how many layers you can apply. If your paper is smooth and doesn’t have enough tooth (texture), then your applications may not be as strong.

  4. This has been a fantastic lesson like all of them, I started off doing your secrets to drawing course as I love black and white drawings and I still do but it’s good to use different mediums as you grow as an artist 🙂
    I enjoyed the coloured pencil lesson as well as the oil and soft pastel lessons in this course which has now made me want to.progress and do the coloured pencil course and the pastel landscapes course plus the newer one portraiture 🙂
    Thanks Matt for all these wonderful courses and lessons tc

  5. Your welcome Matt seriously you are a fantastic teacher and your videos are brilliant,your passion for art always comes through and it is infectious,I’ve not done these practicals yet as I need to do them at my table and my back is not very good at the moment but I always watch the videos 1St write some notes, I know you do ebooks to go with lessons which are fab by the way but sometimes you say extra things in the videos and me doing notes helps it sink in a bit better because the meds I take each day and my condition it affects my short term memory.
    But you make it so it’s easy to understand and I’m actually better than art more than other things say for example maths etc my mind goes blank and with the way my head is bit art just seems to be my thing now and if it wasn’t for my chronic back and sciatica and Fibromyalgia I would not have found art so it’s a positive thing to come out of a bad thing.
    Plus it helps me take my mind of my constant pain.
    Once again Thank you Matt for all the hard work you do to help us.

  6. Hi – do you need to use a fixative over soft pastels? internet reference yields a variety of answers, ranging from yes (but the colors will alter) to no (but the colors will fade).

    also, do you wear a dust mask when working with soft pastels to prevent inhalation of potential harmful dust particles?

    Thanks again for all your great tutorials.

  7. Hi matt,
    I wonder if you can provide the photo references that you used in the videos for members to download. I really want to try to draw the same picture by following your steps in videos.

  8. Hi Matt, I was wondering if you could help me out with an issue I am having using soft pastels. I am trying to do clouds as you do in the drawing, but am having issues with my whites. I am using Canson Mi-Teintes paper, the rough side, and am having issues when I am trying to draw the outlines of the clouds over an application of light blue. I very gently will rub the blues into the paper as to not damage the tooth, but when I apply the white it is extremely faint if not muddied by the blue so the clouds don’t “Pop”. Should I try a harder pastel or White Conte crayon? Would that make a difference? Any tips for applying white over blue? Perhaps a darker tinted paper? Thanks for any advice!

    • Hi Steven,

      The brand of pastels may be affecting the result. Brands with strong pigmentation should cover easily. If you try and cover with a harder pastel, you may find it more difficult. Harder pastels have a lower concentration of pigment.

  9. what are the differences between the oil pastel and soft pastel? as i have watched those videos they are pretty much the same, you put them layer by layer? can you please more specific when or where is suitable to use this individual.

  10. Try not to blow the excess pastel as this makes more dust which can be inhaled. Tapping the paper on its end will loosen any excess pastel and it will then drop straight down.

  11. First off, I love your teachings. I am 64 years old and have never drawn in my life. Through your teachings I have found that I can do it. Now for my issue with this lesson. I seem to be having problems getting my whites to pop. I don’t seem to get the coverage that you do. They just seem to blend It may be my paper or my pastels. I am using Strathmore toned medium surface paper and my soft pastels are Master’s Tough oil free soft pastel sticks. Can you tell me, is it my products or me?

    • Hi Mariann,

      It could be a little of both your pastels and the surface. If the surface of the paper does not have a strong enough tooth to accept many layers of pastels, then your “white” layer may not be accepted by the paper. Master’s Loft pastels are not the most pigmented out there which could be the second half of the problem. You may try another brand that is a little higher quality.

  12. Dear Matt,
    I love your work, but most of all the way which you are able to pass your knowledge to us. Very pleased with your course and your material. thank you

  13. Questions: Should one do soft pastels vertical (like on an easel) or horizontal (on desk). I used to do primarily soft pastels all through high school nearly 40 years ago now and don’t really remember which to do. Also, how to use brush without smearing has me in a quandry. As I’m unpacking I’m finding set after set of soft pastels so I probably ought to actually start using them again. Can’t really afford Mi Tientes paper at the moment, any alternative suggestions?

    • Hi Bearstarfire,

      You can work with pastels on an easel or on a flat surface. Either approach is fine. Choose which feels most comfortable to you. I use a drafting brush which consists of soft fibers and minimizes smearing. The Mi-Teintes paper is not cheap, but also not expensive compared to other papers. I often receive questions regarding replacements or alternatives. I wish there were easy answers for this. However, each paper has its own characteristics that are not easily replicated by other papers. You could use Strathmore’s gray sketch paper, but this paper is limited in tooth, meaning less layers can be added. You could also consider using cold press watercolor paper. But this paper is typically too strong with tooth, and mostly comes in white or black. So, if you choose a different paper, some concessions must be made.

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