Although I trust him implicitly, I am always extremely nervous when handing my Soft Pastels & Charcoal Drawings to my printer to be scanned because of the potential to smudge them.
Without wishing to sound like a big blousy drama queen, the smallest of smudges could ‘kill’ the facial expression on one of my portraits or animals, or ruin the lines of one of my dancers. It is possible to seal Soft Pastel artwork but, from my experience, I am positive that sealing them spoils them and dulls them slightly, the same goes for my work with Charcoal.
I think their vulnerability is what helps to give them life and ‘the edge’ too in a crazy kind of artist way!
My poor printer, he must be terrified of ‘committing murder’ to one of my pieces!
Only once have I experimented with sealing a pastel drawing and I most definitely preferred the ‘before’ version. I had ordered some black ‘velour’ paper from an online art supplier as I was itching to try something new…..I had innocently assumed the pastel paper was simply called ‘velour’ and would have a soft, velvety texture…..imagine my surprise when it turned up and the stuff was ACTUAL velour with a paper backing!!!! I didn’t know whether to draw on it or make a pair of trousers!
Anyhow, not to be beaten by the unexpected, plus the fact that it had been a costly purchase, I got stuck in and surprisingly I actually thoroughly enjoyed the feel and texture of hair I could create on the velour with my soft pastels…..Murphy the cheeky chimp was slowly but surely born and as I created his glassy little eyes I was so glad I hadn’t turned him into that pair of trews and I suspect he was probably also pretty grateful!
Murphy, bless his little pastel cotton socks, drove my printer completely round the bend as he was an absolute nightmare to scan apparently! The pastel dust was escaping all over the glass of the scanner and my printer was not enamoured with my cheeky chappy Murphy……..I suspect he had other names for him over the next couple of days, but thankfully he persevered and did a cracking job!
When I then took poor innocent unsuspecting Murphy to my framers, another fun episode began….allegedly! The framers also found a variety of names for him, none of them amicable, and they told me the only solution was to take him home, seal the pesky little blighter and then they would try to frame him again for me.
I brought the troublesome little fella home and sprayed him cautiously from a distance…..it certainly helped to stop his pastel dusty dandruff from escaping so dramatically but I just never felt his colours were as fresh and vibrant after that …….so apologies to my printer and framers, but I shan’t be making life TOO easy for them in the future!
Pastel dust is like fairy dust and it really does ‘get about a bit’ when working with it. A lot of artists wear masks as that dust can get right up your nose if you’re in close proximity to it too often……a bit like some people I suppose?!
The first time I used soft pastels a couple of years ago was for a portrait of my Grandson. I owned a small second hand set I had recently bought on eBay for a few pounds and was dying to try them out, so when my daughter asked me to create a portrait for her, I didn’t hesitate to make a start.
It was an instant love affair! That little blue eyed Fireman will always be so precious, the portrait AND the real, lively little version!
I have since purchased more and more pastels and admit to being slightly addicted to the beautiful array of rainbows in my hands.
I have worked on quite a variety of pastel papers, but time and again I come back to using Pastelmat®️, it ‘grabs’ the pastels without making too much dust and I can really layer the colours on. It is pretty unforgiving as far as removing the initial outlines goes, but once a piece is underway that’s no longer a concern and I can ‘play’ and build up the work at my pleasure.
Talking of playing, I had a huge amount of fun creating my latest Soft Pastel Drawing of this frightfully inquisitive (aka downright nosey) Moo Cow and for once had absolutely NO trouble thinking of a title………
‘ I heard that!’
The original Moo Cow sold in one of my local galleries and has happily ‘moooooooved’ into a new home but if you’re a fan of a nosey moo, art prints and prints on canvas in a wide range of sizes are available to purchase here . . .
Interestingly, I was chatting to a fellow artist last week and she told me she had tried pastels once but had absolutely hated them instantly. She couldn’t bear the feeling of them in her hands and said that all she could make was a big, powdery mess! She is a watercolour artist who works very neatly so I was fascinated to hear her opinion……personally I can’t get enough of them and my collection has grown alarmingly over the years.
My name is Migglet and I am a Soft Pastel Addict but I promise not to snort them…….is it ok to do a few lines with them though?! 🤣
I would love to hear if you LOVE or LOATHE pastels? Do YOU seal your Soft Pastel and / or Charcoal artwork? If so, what product do you use and does it dull your finished work?
Please DO share your experiences here with me? Artists of any level and experience are forever learning and sharing their experiences and any tips can be so helpful!