Additional Accessories for Pastel Drawing
When it comes to pastels, you can pretty much use them on anything to draw on, including, drawing / cartwright / sugar and watercolour paper, actual pastel paper of various colours, weights and texture, pastel boards, sanded pastel paper, gesso primed boards / canvas and hessian and calico fabric. Popular brands of paper / board include Sennelier, Ingres, Ampersand Pastel board, Pastelmate, Fabriano and Daler Rowney Murano.
Blending stomps are tightly woven paper to form a pencil like shape that can be used for blending pastels. If the stomp has only one pointed end it’s called a Tortillon, which can be used for more detailed work as the paper used is harder than in a stomp which tends to be more velvetier in touch.
They come in various sizes / widths, normally #1 – #6. You can sharpen the ends with sandpaper which is usually sold in the art store and clean the tips with a putty rubber or just use a new one as they are quite inexpensive.
I find putty rubbers to be the best, they can sometimes be hard to find. The Faber Castell brand come in a little plastic case to prevent them drying out and you can tear off little pieces as you need them. You can also use the corner of a piece of kitchen paper but test it before using on your drawing as different grades can have different results. If you would like to further explore the various uses and types of erasers on the market, Jacksons Art Supply store in the UK has a very good article on Comparing Erasers.
If you need to sharpen your pastels, care needs to be taken, especially if the pastel is very soft, but you can use sandpaper or craft knife/scalpel. Also, for your pastel pencils which can also be quite fragile Derwent pastel pencil sharpeners come highly recommended.
The jury is out on the question to use or not use fixatives. They usually come in a spray can and are applied to the final finished painting/drawing to help keep it in place, as pastels can have a high dust transference. They can also be applied to the various layers as the painting is being built up. Some say they can dull or change the intensity of the colours. If you are using them, make sure you have a mask and are spraying them in a well-ventilated room. Typical brands included Sennelier, Spectra fix, Finalfix, Lascaux, Schmincke and Jacksons.
As your collection builds up it’s very handy to have storage boxes for your pastels to protect and keep them clean.
We will look at storing and framing your pastel drawings in another blog, however, a lot of pastel artists keep their drawings in between sheets of Glassine or acid-free tissue and then sheets of strong cardboard to keep them flat. You can use pocket folders which are okay, however, the drawings can smudge as you insert and/or remove them.
I hope that this blog, has inspired you to take up pastel drawing this year. To get started you don’t need a whole ton of supplies just a small pack of pastels, a few sheets of sugar paper and perhaps a putty rubber or a piece of kitchen paper. A few books that might help inspire you, and ones I like to flick through include: –
If you would like to join us here at the studio for a pastel workshop, we run half-day workshops throughout the year.
Until next month, when we will resume our journey into the world of oil painting, we wish you nothing but the very best of wishes for 2024!!!