Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Perfecting Pastels: Tips for Pastel Arts

Choosing Pastels
Pastels come in several types, so let's look at what is available and their pros and cons.

Soft and Hard Pastels: The most common pastels come in these two types: soft and hard. The colors range from extremely bright and saturated, to very pale. The biggest con of pastels is that they cannot be remedied like paints can. Instead, you have to employ various blending techniques. Regular pastels have a chaulky like consistency. Hard pastels are used for their fine lines and details. Soft pastels are easy to blend and easy to apply, but their edges are less defined

Oil Pastels: oil pastels are very similar to regular pastels, but they have a smoother, creamier consistency and feel because they are bound with non-drying oils and waxes. Oil pastels tend to be less likely to smudge, and thus, they are less prone to accidents.

Tools for Pastels
Working with pastels necessitates more than just the pastels themselves. Here's a brief look at the secondary tools and materials used for pastels.

Brushes: Brushes are used to clear a pastel work of flakes and debris, or for blending large areas. Soft bristle brushes are ideal for clearing dust and other things from your work, and stiffer bristle brushes can be used to blend.

Blending Tools: Blending tools are ideal for working with pastels, but they do more than their name. Blending tools and tortillons blend pastels very nicely, but they also lift color. Pointed blending tools work well for more detailed work, which is a nice fit for working with pastels.

Pastel works, if you want them to last more than five minutes after being finished, must be coated with a binder or fixative. A light coat of fixative will create a boundary of protection, as well as keeping pastel dust from sticking to the glass of a frame. Fixative also helps keep the colors of the work true, as sunlight and time can fade them. Basically, you should always finish a pastel work with two light coats of fixative.

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