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How to Draw with Pastels

Drawing with pastels can be a rewarding art that also results in beautiful images.


  • Step 1: Sketch an outline Sketch an outline onto pastel paper using a graphite pencil.
  • Step 2: Decide between oil and dry Determine whether you want to use oil pastels or dry pastels. Oil pastels create layers and glide over previous lines; dry pastels are better suited for blending.
  • TIP: Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling pastel particles.
  • Step 3: Sketch fine lines Use the thin pastels to sketch in the finer lines in your drawing. Sharpen the tip for an even finer line.
  • Step 4: Color wider areas Color larger areas with the thick pastels. Use wide, sweeping strokes.
  • TIP: Don't apply too much pressure – pastels break easily.
  • Step 5: Use a cotton swab for special effects Use a cotton swab to smear colors into the paper, and blend them for special effects.
  • Step 6: Blend colors next to each other Blend colors that are next to each other by smudging them with the end of a rolled-up scrap of paper to create a natural-light effect.
  • FACT: Pastels have been used since the 16th century, but didn't gain popularity until the 18th century.

You Will Need

  • Drawing paper
  • A graphite pencil
  • One set of thin pastels
  • One set of thick pastels
  • A cotton swab
  • A rolled-up scrap of paper
  • A well-ventilated area (optional)

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