Giving Oil Pastels Another Go

You may recall the workshop I attended in February run by David White where I tried using oil pastels for the first time and despaired at the result.

I don’t like being beaten by arts supplies, so for Mothers’ Day, I asked for a set of 24 Sennelier Oil Pastels  –  I decided to give David’s method another go.

First, I tried a sketch without any underdrawing to see how it would look. 

Oil sketch with no underdrawing

Oil sketch with no underdrawing

I was quite pleased with it  although I thought it lacked depth. I also found it difficult to get proper coverage with the black so the white paper showed through in bits.

Following David’s method, I created a charcoal underdrawing although on a much smaller scale than in his workshop. This is A3 size. I liked this drawing, so I approached the next stage with a teensy bit of  trepidation…

Charcoal underdrawing

Charcoal underdrawing

I covered the drawing with a wash of ultramarine ink  – a little difficult to see here but trust me, there is ink there.

Charcoal drawing with wash

Charcoal drawing with wash


Lastly I applied the oil pastels, breaking several sticks with my heavy-handed technique. I like it when there is so much pastel on the paper that it behaves almost like paint.

Oil Pastel with underdrawing

Oil Pastel with underdrawing

The result looks far better in life than in this photo (slightly less technicolour, perhaps) but I am pleased with the result. I feel that it has more depth and is more powerful than the first oil pastel drawing without the underpainting.

The conclusion? I’m not sure I have mastered the oil pastels yet, but at least now I can see the attraction. And I can definitely see the benefit of doing an underdrawing.


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Related posts:

  1. Portrait Commission “The Happy Couple”: The Home Stretch
  2. “The Happy Couple” Portrait Commission – Work In Progress
  3. Child Portrait Painting: “Ruby” or “Why can’t I beat my record number of Likes??”
  4. Portrait Artists Know How to Party!
  5. Portrait Drawing: Workshop with David White 4 February 2012


Filed under Pastel Paintings and Drawings, Portrait Paintings, Portraits

2 Responses to Giving Oil Pastels Another Go

  1. Pingback: Another Oil Pastel Portrait

  2. Faraz

    Lovely artwork Julia. Can I ask a dumb question? Before you apply an ink wash to your charcoals, do you use a regular charcoal fixative or something else?

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