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Dry pastels, alternative ways of using them in mixed media

Dry pastels alternative ways of using them in mixed media paintings
Drawing / Inspiration / Mixed media / Painting / Painting technique / Tips

Dry pastels, alternative ways of using them in mixed media

Pastels come in 2 types: oil pastels and dry pastels. They are very different medium as dry pastels is more like chalk and oil pastels have a very creamy texture.

You might also like: How to use oil pastels, what you can do with this under-estimated medium.

Dry pastels are a wonderful media if used as is, but they can also be used in many interesting ways into your mixed media compositions.

selection of dry pastels in rice for storage

I like to store my pastels in rice to keep them cleanish, they are also sorted by color. When I work on a painting, I select a few colors and keep them in a bowl with rice.

figure drawing with dry pastels on paper

Ezra, marker and pastels on paper.

Trying on an idea with pastels

Dry pastels are a great tool to try on a color or an idea on an acrylic based painting. If you don’t like the result, just wash them off with a wet cloth and try a different color.

Adding outlines on a watercolor painting

Dry pastels are great to add to watercolors, for outlines. If you think your painting is lacking a bit of impact, adding pastels will sure help with that.

watercolor and dry pastels

You can also experiment with pastels outlines around figures.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Prismacolor NuPastel Color Sticks

NuPastels have a rich, creamy texture that blends and shades easily. Frequently used in advertising layouts, NuPastels are stronger than ordinary soft pastels, which means less breakage and easier cleanup. Use them to create broad strokes and fine lines.

outlining figure drawings with dry pastels

And portraits.

watercolor and dry pastels portrait

A bird’s eye view of Charlotte.

Lightening an area

If you have been working with watercolors or acrylics and want to lighten an area, adding a bit of white or light pastel will work great.

white pastel on top of watercolor

You can add white pastel over acrylic.

white pastel on top of fluid acrylic

You can also add white pastels over watercolor for mixed media techniques.

Adding water to dry pastels

This is a fun technique and you end up with something that looks a bit like gouache or watercolor paint.

mixing pastels and water

 

Painting with gel medium over pastels

You can also try this, it will fix the pastel to the paper but it will considerably darken the color of the original pastel, but you will get interesting textures.

pastels and gel medium

Painting with gel medium over dry pastels will considerably darken the original color.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

 

 

Liquitex Acrylic Mediums

Gel mediums are ideal for extending a heavy body paint, to create impasto, relief, or sculptural effects. – Gel Medium, Gloss

 

What are your favourite dry pastels techniques?

Comments (6)

  1. Jeanette

    I love your tutorials and blog so much! Thank you for your generous sharing. My question is, must all work with dry pastel be shown or stored framed under glass? I prefer to work on aquabord so I don’t have to frame, but would it work with pastel if it was sprayed with fixative? Again, just love your work and your website!

    1. Thanks Jeanette 🙂 You could keep the work unframed and fix it with fixative. The downside is that fixative will darken your colors quite a bit, so you might have to make a lighter painting to compensate. I saw pastels unframed in a gallery a few times, they were on board and I am thinking that maybe they were sprayed with varnish. I would make small tests to see how you like the effect of fixative and spray varnish.

  2. Kim

    Thanks for your great tutorials, I look forward to reading them!
    I paint mostly with acrylics using very thick layers of paint. I sometimes use soft pastels to create highlights across the top of the painting after I have otherwise finished it. I rub the side of the stick across the top, and the color catches only on the highest layers…when finished I fix the painting with a spray varnish or other fixative.

    1. Thanks Kim for sharing , that is a great tip 🙂

  3. Nicole

    I love to read your email and this one with pastel is very interesting. I will try that ! Merci beaucoup Sandrine !

    1. Thanks Nicole!

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