Frequently Asked Questions
Are pastels good for those of us who are beginners with painting?
Pastels are a beautiful medium to use, whether you are just beginning or a seasoned artist. One of the best parts is that you can use them more like a pencil or chalk rather than a paintbrush which can be awkward.
Should you start with the background first?
There is no hard and fast rule for this. However, it will depend on what you are painting. If there are, for example, wisps of hair, then I tend to do the background first, but if there are clean lines, I will add the background as I progress with the painting.
Should you worry about inhaling pastel dust?
It will depend a lot on where you’re working. If you have good ventilation, then you should be fine, although, with heavy usage, I will generally wear a dust mask.
The other option is to wear latex or vinyl gloves. I tend to wear these often as it also makes it easy when I have to leave the painting to go and do something else, e.g. answer the phone! They are so easy to take off.
Should you layer?
Yes!! Layering the pastels makes for a much richer painting.
Does a pastel painting fade?
If you use quality sticks and paper you shouldn’t have an issue with fading. Like anything, if you leave it where the sun can get on it then you may have a fading problem.
Should I use a fixative.
That’s a no for me. However, it can be done but it can leave the painting darker and some of the rich colours may be dulled.
You can use a fixative between layers to assist layers not mixing or moving.
Is using pastels considered to be a drawing or a painting?
That depends. When you layer to create a rich depth of colour and you cover the whole paper, then it becomes a beautiful painting.
note: cover the whole paper means bringing in a background – you don’t have to go right to the edges.