Pastel Drawing Guide

Pastel Drawing Guide: Types Of Pastels And How To Use Them

Art is fun! A painting is a way of expressing viewpoints and showing the world a subject from a different perspective. Like other art types, pastel art is a way of demonstrating the world around. What differentiates pastel art from other styles is the painting approach.

Pastel art prints are inspired from the real-world subjects. An expert pastelist draws what he sees around him. Wall art of birds, pastel prints of landscapes, pastel art of boats, and wall art of people are some of the most famous prints that art lovers like to have at their places.

However, there is always a debate over whether pastel art is a painting or a drawing. Some call it a painting style, while others believe it is a drawing medium. In experts’ eyes, pastel print art is a bridge between painting and drawing.

Whether you an experienced artist or a beginner pastelist, you require some mediums to draw your unique pastel prints. They include a subject, a paper, pastels, and the time.

What Are Pastels?

They are colors that give a beautiful appearance to a print. Depending on a composition, quality, and a color, there are different types of pastels. Usually, pastels are sticks consist of powdered pigment and binder. They are held and used the same way pencils and crayons are used.

There are four types of pastels widely popular across the world.

  1. Soft Pastels

  2. Hard Pastels

  3. Pastel Pencils

  4. Oil Pastels

  1. Soft Pastels: They are the most common and traditional pastels. Pigment concentration in soft pastels is very high, while the gum to hold them together is in the least amount. Due to this fragile nature, they break down easily. However, they allow an artist to add great colors to a print.

  1. Hard Pastels: Although these colorful pastels are made of same ingredients which are used to make soft pastels, they contain less concentration of pigments than their counterparts. In addition, they contain more binder. This nature makes the pastels hard and more stable than soft pastels.

  1. Pastel Pencils: They are the perfect painting tool for experienced pastelists. They look like conventional pencils, but their inner part includes the pastel. The pastel color between the wood stick has consistency between soft and hard pastels.

  1. Oil Pastels: They are the right replacement for oil colors made of smelly chemicals. These are cylindrical sticks where a combination of wax and oil is used, instead of gum, to bind the pigments. What differentiates oil pastels from pastel types is their stable nature. They do not crumble easily and allow an artist to give intense color to their drawing.

How To Use Pastels: Step-by-Step Process

Unlike several other painting styles where an artist uses the imagination as drawing source, you need to use a reference photo. It can be a wall art of boat, a landscape, or people around you. Instead of asking subjects to stay in front of your eyes for a long time, you can use their photo for reference.

After choosing a subject, you need to follow a pastel drawing procedure.

  • Choose Paper: It is necessary to choose a paper that works well with pastels you are using. Papers for pastel painting come in many types, and you can choose one considering your colors and other painting mediums.

  • Prismacolor Colored Pencil For Outlining: To sketch the outlines, use a prismacolor colored pencil.

  • Mulberry Colored Pastel For Depth: Instead of black pastels, use mulberry pastel. It is because black gives a dull depth.

  • Use Pastels: Now, you can use your pastel colors to give a colorful appearance to your drawing. You can blend the colors to provide a charming appearance to the print. You can also break the pastel to easily hold it.

  • Finishing Touch: While giving a final touch to the drawing, make sure you have blended the colors.


Now, you are aware of pastel types and the right way to use them. Choose a subject, get the pastels, and paint a beautiful pastel print.

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