Creating a Still Life in Pastels


• Soft Pastels

• Pastel Paper

• Drawing or computer paper

• Pencil and eraser

• Objects for the still life

1. Gather objects from around your home or classroom to create your own still life arrangement. Possible objects include pitchers, vases, candles and candlesticks, pencils, paintbrushes, flowers, books, shoes, soda cans, teapots, fruit, cups, bowls, etc. You can choose just one object, or put two or three together.

Arrange the objects on a table or other surface.

2. Next, you're going to create a sketch of your still life. This won't be your final drawing, but a sketch you will use to create your final drawing. If you draw directly on your pastel paper, you may create grooves in the paper that will show up when you go over it with pastel. So instead, using a sheet of drawing/computer paper, draw the still life arrangement you see. Don't worry -- we're going to transfer this drawing later.

*NOTE: If more than one person is drawing from the same arrangement, the perspectives displayed in their artwork will be different.

3. Now that your drawing is completed, your ready to transfer your sketch to the pastel paper. To do this, flip over the sketch so the reverse side is up. Rub a soft pastel in a light color on the paper.

Next, flip the drawing right-side up. Holding the drawing securely with one hand, LIGHTLY trace the drawing with the other. If you press too hard, you’ll form grooves in your paper that are difficult to cover. Remove the drawing paper to find your image underneath in pastel.

4. With the soft pastels, begin filling in your drawing. Remember, pastels don’t mix like paints do. Instead of trying to mix a color, find one in the shade you need. You can layer the pastels, however. For this reason, begin with the colors you see in the background, as you did when painting with acrylics, and work forward. For example, in the soccer ball below, WHITE was applied first, then GREY, RED, and BLACK.

5. You can color in the space behind your objects, or leave it empty if you wish.

*Remember, although pastels don’t mix well, they are great for blending.

*Messy? Pastels can be very messy! You can wash your hands when they get too chalky, but be sure to dry them very well. Water will cause the pastels to smear, even in your hand.


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