Cool grey 4
Cool grey 3
Cool grey 2
Middle Phthalo Blue
Velour paper used:
White 24 x 32 cm (9.4" x 12.6")
Hello everyone, this is my first 'ible, but, it is thorough, and I hope that you find it helpful. Pastels and velour are a beautiful (yet expensive) combination, and the effect is amazing! I am a self-taught artist, but, I have done plenty of research on the subject. This is not the best pastel painting out there and I have yet to get as good as I'd like to be, but, hopefully this can help out those of you newer to pastel painting. Any suggestions/comments/art that you have and would like to share, please do, and I would love to see the results you get from following this instructable. Before I get into the how-to part of this tutorial, I'm going to tell you a few things you need to know about pastels and velour paper, so sit tight and read on (if you are familiar with pastel and velour, feel free to skip to the last two paragraphs in this section).
Chalk Pastels are, perhaps the most lasting medium, as pastel paintings done centuries ago are still as vibrant as they were the day they were finished. There are five types of pastel: extra soft, soft, semi-hard, hard, and extra hard. These can come in pencil, stick, and half-stick form (pencils are generally hard or extra hard). The color quality, durability, and color range varies from brand to brand, with Unison being one of the leading brands (and they know it), and Master's Touch being a good quality entry level choice (and a pretty good deal). There are many other brands, with prices ranging from about $9 for a cheaply made pack of 72 half-sticks (none of which are deep brown), to around $300 for a medium pack of top-of-the-line Senneliers (the list price is $64.95 for a pack of twelve). My pastels of choice are Prismacolor Nupastels, hard pastels (about $35 for the pack of 48 sticks), Generals multi-pastel, pastel pencils (about $36 for the pack of 24), Master's Touch gray scale, soft pastels (about $6 for the twelve pack), and Faber Castell, soft pastels (about $24 for the pack of 72 half sticks). These are great mid-level brands that are good for budding artists and professionals alike. If you can't afford these, you can get some at your local craft store for a lot less (most higher quality brands must be ordered). When using pastels, especially soft and extra soft pastels, be sure to use a dust or surgeon's mask (I don't like it either), gloves are also recommended. Also, never eat while working with pastels, as they (yes, even the ones labeled 'non-toxic') are very unpleasant to ingest or inhale. Wash your hands after and even during the process of working with pastels.
Velour Paper is delicate and most art supply stores do not carry it in-store. I'd heard that this kind of paper cannot be erased on, and was crazy enough to try and found this to be only partially true. You can only erase some of what is on the very top layer, so, if you cannot make perfect sketches every time (I can't), I'd suggest transfering a sketch from a more forgiving sheet of paper. Velour is also, on top of everything else, expensive, so I wouldn't recommend experiments with it ($23 for ten 9x12s is a good deal, as it is normally, on a good day, around $8 a sheet). But with all of it's drawbacks, it is the only kind of paper I know of that gives such a smooth, flowing look to anything you paint into it. If at all possible, try to get the mounted velour, because when not mounted, it can curl or ripple with age. If you cannot obtain pre-mounted velour, then you can mount it yourself with 100% rag board. Other terms used for velour are velvet paper and suede matte board.
Both pastels and velour pads/single sheets can be bought for almost 1/2 the list price at www.dickblick.com (most of the prices named above are based on this site). This is where I ordered most of my pastels and all of my velour, and they arrived quickly and well packaged, but, due to their brittle nature, some of the Nupastels were broken in half or in thirds, but none were shattered beyond use.
The person who really inspired me to start pastel painting, is Leslie Harrison. I am not exaggerating in the least when I say her pastel paintings look like photos. In fact, the untrained eye could very easily mistake her art for a picture! Her official webpage is [http://www.harrison-keller.com], you should definitely check it out, as well as her books on pastel painting. Another person worth looking up is Roberta "Roby" Baer. Whose speed painting demonstrations are awe-inspiring and can be watched on her YouTube channel for free.
Edit: added watermark to final result
Edit: I've got four instructables that are currently being worked on: General art Tips, DIY ''The Last Amur'' Amur Leopard drawing tutorial, a house cat in pastels, and converting Photoshop Brushes to GIMP. Please comment on which one you would like to see next!
Step 1: Setting Up and Sketching
While some artists need reference photos purely for color and markings, I need the subject in the exact or in a similar position to what I want the subject in my drawing/painting to be in. Hopefully sooner or later I'll get past this, but for now, that is how I do things.
Remember to make sure you have sufficient lighting (preferably white, daylight light) before you begin your sketch on a different sheet of paper than the velour you will be using later on (I used sketch paper, but copy paper is just as good). After you complete the sketch, transfer the sketch using graphite paper, which is somewhat inexpensive and can be found in art supply stores like Hobby Lobby, or can be made using the back of your sketch or copy paper and a 6B or 8B pencil. I had to transfer my sketch to another piece of sketch paper before putting it on the velour, because the paper I'd done my original sketch on was smaller than the desired size.
The way that I do sketches is different from the way most other people do them. I do not use basic shapes in my sketches because it usually ends up distorted and out of proportion, so I just start with a simpler part of the body or an ear and go from there, using a ruler or my fingers as a guide. If you can't do this, then don't think that you cannot use the basic shapes method, everyone does things a little bit - or a lot - differently.
Step 2: Undercoat and Base Colors
Once we finish the undercoat, we can add some color to the caracal. I begin with going over all of the areas that are to be Brown with Warm Grey, and add some Brown Ochre and Light Flesh to the more saturated areas, some Black to the darker areas, and some White to the lighter areas, like before, with the edge of the soft pastels. Then use Green, Indigo Blue, Beige, White, and Black, pencil pastels in the order that they appear for the eyes, working around the pupil with short lines. Use the Indigo blue and White for the veins in the eyes.