home drawings bio forum contact drawing tutorials pricing links

index >drawing tutorials >pastel tutorial

Pastel Tutorial- How to Draw with Pastels
(Grand Haven Lighthouse)

I am using Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel pencils and Rembrandt stick pastels for this tutorial. The paper I am using is gray Canson Mi Tientes.

I buy all of my supplies from Blick Art Materials. Buying your stuff from that link helps me keep adding to this site.

Step 1 - The first step is to sketch an initial outline onto your paper. I do this with mechanical graphite pencils. I have also heard of alot of people using a light pastel color for the outline. Outlines may be gridded or done freehand. Next, I start laying down some color. Most skylines are darker towards the top of the picture and lighter towards the horizon lin. I take a "pthalo blue" Rembrandt stick pastel and begin coloring making sure to not color over the clouds. I then take a q-tip and smear the pastel pigment into the paper. Next, I start coloring in the clouds with a white Rembrandt stick pastel. This is also blended into the paper. I go back and add some "cold grey" and some "violet" to the clouds.
tutorial drawing

Step 2 - I continue working my way across the paper. I start coloring in the top of the lighthouse with an "indian Red" pencil. Paying close attention to my light source, I go back and add highlights with a white pencil and shadows with "walnut brown" and "dark sepia" pencils. I use "cold grey" for the windows.
pastel drawing

Step 3 - More work is done to the lighthouse and sky. Make sure that edges on the lighthouse are clean and straight as it is the main focal point of this drawing. Also, notice that I am making the clouds slightly darker as they get closer to the horizon. For the most part, objects further away are darker than those up close.
pastel drawing

Step 4 - Now I start on the water. I want a contrast to my sky so I make the water a greenish color. Several different colors are used on the water including "earth green", "chrome green opaque", "dark indigo", "cobalt green", "light ultramarine", and white for the waves. Next I start on the house at the end of the pier. This will be a darker color because it is futher away. I use "indian red" mixed with "dark sepia" for the house. Next, I work on the steel light support beams. I use "paynes grey" for these. It is very difficult to draw straight lines with pastel pencils, expecially on a textured paper. They will look zig-zagged. So I go back later and straighten the edged with a mechanical graphite pencil.
pastel drawing

Step 5 - I start coloring in the left edge of the pier and the concrete. I use a light "cold grey" for the concrete. I start working on the steel light support beams on the right side of the drawing also. The support beams further back can be rough and sketchy but these beams closest have to be very clean and straight. I am still using "paynes grey" for the beams with a touch of black in places.
pastel drawing

Step 6 - More work is done to the support beams and I color in the water on the other side of the pier using the same colors as before. I work more on the concrete adding some "light flesh" to it to warm it up a little. Also, "warm grey" is added to the sides to give the center walkway a worn, walked on feel. The lighthouse is basically finished now. I just need to finish the concrete foreground and the drawing will be done.
pastel drawing

Step 7 - I apply more "cold grey" to the concrete areas. "Light flesh", "light ultramarine", "earth green", and "warm grey" are added in places to give the concrete some character and contrast. Once the concrete is done, I make final adjustments and the drawing is done. It's just that easy. Just kidding, I know it's not easy. Just take it slow and pay attention to details.
pastel drawing

Step 8 - Finished. The reason that the finished looks slightly different than the progress pictures is that the finished is a scan and the progress shots were taken with a digital camera. The scanner does a much better job. :)
pastel drawing

I hope this tutorial has helped you in some way or another. I can explain how I do things all day but the basic idea of drawing is to just understand how tones flow and to train your eye to see what others don't see. Don't restrict yourself to just using the colors that I have mentioned. You can alter the mood or feel of the drawing by using different colors.


Pencil Drawings | Bio | Drawing Forum | Contact | Pricing | Faq | Drawing Tutorials | Colored Pencil Drawings | Oil Paintings | Pastel Paintings | Photography | Drawing Materials | Portrait Tutorial | Links