Introduction: Alternative Oil Pastel Techniques
This is actually a combination of a tutorial for technique, and a demo of a semi realistic eyeball. Oil pastels are a pretty cheap material that can have awesome results. What most people don't realize is that they are not just one dimensional. Add in some prismacolors, and a bit of thinner, and you have a whole new playground. I'm gonna show you the stuff I wish I had known twenty years ago.
Step 1: Materials
Black and white Prismacolor pencils.
Odorless thinner (Terpinoid, or odorless spirits)
A cheap wash brush
Stumps and/or tortillon
** Any prismacolors will work this way. If you can't afford a full set, I do recommend getting a black and a white. You can get them at Michael's in open stock for under $2 each. They are a great investment, and can take your art to a new level.
Step 2: Layout
I've laid this out in pencil on watercolor paper for its thickness. Thinner papers may not hold up as well once you start blending. Bristol board, or even card stock will work just as well.
Step 3: Hard Lining
I've gone back over my initial pencil lines with the black prismacolor. I've left the highlights in graphite, but you really don't have to.
Step 4: Adding the Pastel
Lay down a layer of color in pastel. You don't have to go super thick, and it's ok if it doesn't look smooth. Once you start blending it will become smooth.
Step 5: Blending With a Brush
Take a small amount of thinner and pour it into a container to work from. I found that little cup at Michael's. It was $1, and seals tight. A baby food jar would also work. Dip your brush in the thinner, and let the excess drain by dragging the brush up the side of the cup. Start blending the color. To make it is even, I tend to work in small circles.
You can work the colors in layers until it looks the way you want it. I use the white prismacolor pencil to lay in the highlight. The prismacolors can be blended the same way as the pastels.
Step 6: Mixing a Wash
I keep my pastels in a tin. The lid ends up being my pallet when I wanna mix a wash, or need to mix a precise color.
I just mark the pastel on the lid, and the mix thinner with it to make my wash. You can use more than one color the same way. I find this useful for skin tones.
I always test the color before I use it on my actual drawing. If it's too dark I just thin it down more, or if it's too light I add more pastel.if you've done watercolor at all then you should be familiar with this.
Step 7: Stumps and Tortillons
Stumps and tortillons offer a lot more control, but cover less quickly. However, the color is less transparent. To use stumps and tortillons, dip them in thinner and use them to blend. One of the cool things about stumps is that they hold the thinner better than brushes. You have to dip them lbess frequently. I used a stump on the bottom lashes. They are much more defined than the upper lashes.
When starting out with thinners, always use a scrap sheet to test how much thinner you are picking up. You don't want to have too much and your colors wash out all over your drawing.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them. Until next time, happy drawing. :)
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