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Pastel Drawing for Beginners: A Complete 101 Hobby Guide

Welcome to pastel drawing for beginners! We will explore the world of pastel drawing and provide valuable insights for those new to this excellent artistic method!

Using soft pastels to create stunning artworks can be an exciting and rewarding experience.

Whether you are a complete beginner or have some experience with other art forms, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and techniques to master pastel drawing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Soft pastels are a versatile medium that offer vibrant colors and a range of effects.
  • Understanding techniques such as blending, layering, and creating texture is crucial for successful pastel drawing.
  • The right supplies, including different types of pastels, papers, and additional tools, are essential for achieving desired results.
  • A well-organized and well-lit workspace can greatly enhance your drawing experience.
  • Exploring color theory and applying it to pastel drawing can help create depth and visual interest in your artworks.

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of pastel drawing!

Pastel Drawing: An Introduction

Pastel drawing is a versatile and expressive medium that allows artists to create stunning artworks using soft, chalk-like pastels. With their vibrant colors and rich textures, pastels offer a unique and captivating way to bring your artistic visions to life.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist looking to explore a new medium, pastel drawing provides endless possibilities for creativity.

One of the most appealing aspects of pastel drawing is its ease of use. Unlike other mediums that require extensive preparation or drying time, pastels can be used straight out of the box.

The soft, powdery consistency of the pastels allows for smooth blending and layering, making it easier to achieve rich and nuanced effects.

Pastels also produce vibrant, saturated colors that can be easily applied and manipulated on a variety of surfaces.

When working with pastels, artists have the freedom to experiment and explore various techniques. Whether you prefer a more representational approach or enjoy the loose and expressive nature of pastels, there are countless ways to create unique effects.

From bold strokes and textured marks to delicate blending and subtle shading, pastels offer a wide range of possibilities for artistic expression.

pastel drawing

There are several reasons why pastel drawing is a popular choice for artists of all skill levels. First and foremost, pastels are highly pigmented, resulting in vibrant and intense colors that can be layered and blended to create depth and dimension. Additionally, pastels allow for immediate and spontaneous mark-making, making it easier to capture the essence of a subject or scene in a short amount of time.

Furthermore, pastel drawings have a unique visual appeal, with their soft and velvety texture. They can be viewed as a combination of painting and drawing, as they allow for both precise details and broad, expressive strokes. Whether you are interested in creating realistic portraits, landscapes, or abstract compositions, pastel drawing offers a versatile and forgiving medium to explore.

To fully immerse yourself in the world of pastel drawing, it is important to equip yourself with the right supplies and set up a suitable workspace. In the next section, we will delve into the essential techniques for successful pastel drawing and guide you towards creating your first pastel masterpiece.

Getting Started with Pastel Drawing

To begin your journey in pastel drawing, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the fundamental techniques that will help you create breathtaking artworks. Pastel drawing offers a unique medium that allows you to explore vibrant colors and create rich textures.

Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some experience with other art forms, here are some essential techniques to get you started:


One of the key techniques in pastel drawing is blending. It involves seamlessly merging different colors together to create smooth transitions and gradients. You can use your fingers, blending tools, or even a soft brush to blend the pastel pigments on the paper.

Experiment with different pressures and strokes to achieve the desired effect.


Layering is another important technique in pastel drawing. It involves building up multiple layers of pastel to add depth and richness to your artwork. Start with a light touch and gradually add more layers, allowing the colors to interact and create unique effects.

Remember to use fixative between layers to prevent smudging.

Creating Texture

Pastels are excellent for creating texture in your drawings. You can use various techniques such as hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, or scumbling to add depth and dimension to your artwork.

Experiment with different strokes and pressures to achieve different textures, whether it’s the smoothness of a petal or the roughness of tree bark.

By mastering these fundamental techniques, you’ll be well on your way to creating stunning pastel artworks. Remember to practice regularly and have fun exploring the versatility of pastels. Now, let’s take a look at the essential supplies you’ll need to get started with pastel drawing.

pastel drawing techniques
PastelsInvest in a set of soft pastels that offer a wide range of colors. Look for professional-grade pastels that have a high pigment concentration for vibrant results.
PaperChoose a paper specifically designed for pastel drawing, such as pastel paper or sanded paper. These papers have a textured surface that holds the pastels well.
FixativeA fixative is a spray that helps secure the pastel pigments to the paper, preventing smudging and preserving your artwork. Use it between layers and once your drawing is complete.
Blending ToolsExplore various blending tools such as tortillons, blending stumps, or even cotton swabs to achieve smooth blends and gradients.
EaselAn easel provides a comfortable working position and allows you to adjust the angle of your drawing surface. Choose one that suits your style and preferences.

These are just some of the essential supplies you’ll need to get started with pastel drawing. As you progress, you can explore additional tools and materials to further enhance your artwork.

Essential Supplies for Pastel Drawing

Before diving into pastel drawing, it’s essential to gather the right materials that will enable you to unleash your creativity.

The following are the key supplies you’ll need to get started with pastel drawing:

  • Soft pastels: These are the main tools for pastel drawing. Soft pastels come in a wide range of colors and consistencies, allowing you to achieve various effects in your artwork.
  • Paper: Choose a heavyweight, textured paper specifically designed for pastel drawing. The texture will help the pastel adhere to the paper and allow for blending and layering.
  • Fixative spray: A fixative spray is used to protect your finished pastel artwork from smudging. It creates a protective layer over the drawing, ensuring its longevity.
  • Pastel pencils: Pastel pencils are handy for adding detailed lines and fine touches to your artwork. They offer more control compared to soft pastels and can be used for precise outlines or small areas of color.
  • Blending tools: Blending stumps, tortillons, or even your fingers can be used to blend and smooth out pastel colors. These tools help you achieve seamless transitions and create unique textures in your artwork.
Pastel drawing for beginners

It’s important to note that investing in quality supplies will greatly enhance your pastel drawing experience.

While there are various brands and options available, starting with a basic set of soft pastels and a few essential tools will allow you to begin exploring the versatile world of pastel drawing.

Recommended Supplies:

SupplyRecommended Brand
Soft PastelsRembrandt Soft Pastels
PaperCanson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper
Fixative SprayKrylon Workable Fixatif
Pastel PencilsCaran d’Ache Pastel Pencils
Blending ToolsBlending Stumps and Tortillons

Setting Up Your Pastel Drawing Workspace

Creating a dedicated and well-organized workspace is key to enjoying a smooth and productive pastel drawing experience.

Whether you have a dedicated art studio or a small corner in your home, here are some essential tips to help you set up your pastel drawing workspace:

Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin setting up your workspace, make sure you have all the necessary supplies within reach.

This includes a variety of soft pastels in different colors, pastel papers or boards, fixative spray, blending tools, and an easel or drawing table.

Consider Lighting

Good lighting is crucial for accurate color perception and detail work in pastel drawing. Natural daylight is ideal, so try to position your workspace near a window.

If natural light is limited, invest in a high-quality daylight lamp to ensure optimal lighting conditions.

Workspace EssentialsBenefits
Large, sturdy table or easelProvides a stable surface for working and prevents back strain.
Storage solutionsKeep your pastels, papers, and tools organized and easily accessible.
Comfortable chairSupports good posture and ensures long-lasting comfort during drawing sessions.

Organize Your Space

Having an organized workspace will save you time and make the process more enjoyable.

Consider investing in storage solutions such as drawers, boxes, or shelves to keep your pastels, papers, and tools neatly arranged. Labeling and categorizing your supplies will also help you locate them quickly when needed.

By following these tips, you can create a welcoming and efficient workspace that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the art of pastel drawing.

Remember to customize your setup according to your preferences and enjoy the journey of discovering the endless possibilities of this versatile medium.

pastel drawing workspace

Color is a vital aspect of pastel drawing, allowing artists to bring their artworks to life with vibrant hues and subtle variations. Understanding color theory and how to apply it effectively can greatly enhance your pastel drawings.

Here are some techniques and tips to help you explore the world of color in pastel drawing:

  1. Color Blending: Soft pastels are known for their ability to blend easily. Experiment with layering and overlapping different colors to create unique blends and transitions. Use your fingers or blending tools to gently blend the colors together, creating smooth gradients and soft transitions.
  2. Shading and Highlights: Play with the intensity and placement of colors to create depth and dimension. Use darker shades for shadows and lighter shades for highlights. Pay attention to the light source in your drawing and consider how it affects the colors and their placement.
  3. Creating Depth: Color can be used to create the illusion of depth in your pastel drawings. Experiment with warm and cool colors to push certain areas forward or recede into the background. Use lighter and more saturated colors for objects in the foreground and darker and less saturated colors for objects in the background.

To further enhance your understanding of color in pastel drawing, consider referencing color charts and studying the work of other pastel artists.

Observe how they use color to convey mood, atmosphere, and emotion in their artworks.

Remember, practice is key when it comes to mastering color in pastel drawing, so don’t be afraid to experiment and explore different color combinations.

pastel drawing techniques
RedA warm and intense color that can evoke strong emotions. It can be used to create vibrant accents or dramatic effects.
BlueA cool and calming color that can be used to create a sense of depth and distance. It can also be used to represent water or sky.
YellowA bright and cheerful color that can add a sense of warmth and light to your drawings. It can be used to represent sunlight or highlight certain areas.
GreenA color associated with nature and growth. It can be used to depict foliage, grass, or create a sense of tranquility.

By understanding the properties of different colors and how they interact with one another, you can create visually captivating and harmonious pastel drawings.

Creating Depth and Perspective in Pastel Drawings

Adding depth and perspective to your pastel drawings will enhance their realism and make them visually engaging. By understanding and applying the principles of depth and perspective, you can create artwork that appears three-dimensional and invites viewers to explore its intricacies.

One technique for achieving depth in pastel drawings is through the use of overlapping objects. By placing objects in front of one another, you can create a sense of distance and depth.

Experiment with different sizes and positions of objects to create a realistic illusion of space.

Another effective method to add depth and perspective is through the use of shading and highlighting. By applying lighter tones to objects in the foreground and gradually darkening them in the background, you can create the illusion of distance.

Pay attention to the interplay of light and shadow in your subject and strive to capture it accurately in your pastel drawings.

pastel drawing step by step

A helpful technique to create depth and perspective is the concept of vanishing points. Vanishing points are imaginary points on the horizon where parallel lines converge, giving the illusion of distance.

By incorporating vanishing points in your composition, you can create a realistic sense of depth and perspective.

Tips for Creating Depth and Perspective:

  • Experiment with overlapping objects to create a sense of distance.
  • Use shading and highlighting to give objects a three-dimensional appearance.
  • Pay attention to the play of light and shadow to capture the realism of your subject.
  • Incorporate vanishing points to create the illusion of depth and perspective.
Object PlacementShading and HighlightingLight and ShadowVanishing Points
Creates depth through overlapping objectsGives objects a three-dimensional appearanceRealistically captures the interplay of light and shadowIllusion of distance through converging parallel lines

Experimenting with Different Effects in Pastel Drawing

Pastel drawing offers a wide range of possibilities for creating unique and captivating effects, and experimentation is key to discovering your artistic style. By trying out different techniques and approaches, you can unlock the true potential of this versatile medium.

Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, exploring various effects in pastel drawing can push your creative art boundaries and lead to stunning results.

One effective technique to experiment with in pastel drawing is blending. Blending allows you to create smooth transitions between colors and tones, giving your artwork a soft and dreamy appearance. You can blend pastels using your fingers, a blending stump, or even a soft brush to achieve different effects.

Try blending contrasting colors or experimenting with gradients to add depth and dimension to your drawings.

Hatching and cross-hatching are other techniques that can produce interesting effects in pastel drawings. By drawing parallel lines or intersecting lines, you can create texture and shading. Varying the density and direction of your lines can result in different levels of depth and complexity.

It’s a great way to add a sense of movement or emphasis to your artwork.

BlendingSmoothly transition between colors and tones using fingers, blending stumps, or brushes.
HatchingCreate texture and shading by drawing parallel lines.
Cross-HatchingIntersect lines to add depth and complexity to your drawings.

Additionally, you can experiment with different pastel application techniques, such as sgraffito, which involves scratching away layers of pastel to reveal the underlying colors. This technique can create stunning contrasts and highlights in your artwork.

You can also try using various tools and accessories, such as pastel pencils or pastel powder, to achieve different effects and textures.

Remember, the key to experimenting with different effects in pastel drawing is to have fun and embrace the unexpected. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new techniques.

By pushing the boundaries of what is possible with pastels, you can develop your own unique style and create captivating artworks that truly showcase your creativity.

pastel drawing for beginners

Expanding your knowledge and learning from experienced artists is essential for continuous growth in the field of pastel drawing.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to develop your skills or an aspiring artist seeking inspiration, there are numerous resources available to guide you on your artistic journey.

1. “Pastels For The Absolute Beginner” by Rebecca de Mendonca

If you’re new to pastel drawing, “Pastels For The Absolute Beginner” is an excellent resource to start with.

Written by renowned artist Rebecca de Mendonca, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to using soft pastels.

It covers fundamental techniques, tips for color mixing, and step-by-step tutorials that will help you create stunning pastel artworks.

pastel drawing tutorial

2. Online Tutorials and Video Courses

The internet is a treasure trove of free tutorials and video courses that can enhance your understanding of pastel drawing techniques. Websites like YouTube, Skillshare, and Udemy offer a wide range of instructional videos by experienced artists, allowing you to learn at your own pace and convenience.

These tutorials cover various topics, from basic techniques to advanced skills, providing valuable insights and practical demonstrations.

3. Art Communities and Forums

Engaging with fellow artists in online art communities and forums can be a valuable way to learn, seek advice, and gain inspiration. Platforms like WetCanvas and Artists Network provide spaces where you can connect with artists of all levels, ask questions, and share your artwork for constructive feedback.

Being part of these communities allows you to learn from the experiences of others and grow alongside a supportive network of fellow artists.


As you embark on your journey of pastel drawing, remember that continuous learning is key to honing your skills and exploring your creativity. The recommended resources mentioned above, such as “Pastels For The Absolute Beginner” by Rebecca de Mendonca, online tutorials and video courses, and art communities and forums, will serve as valuable guides and sources of inspiration.

Embrace the opportunity to expand your knowledge and learn from experienced artists, and watch as your skills in pastel drawing flourish.

Showcasing Your Pastel Artworks

After putting your heart and soul into creating stunning pastel artworks, it’s time to showcase them to the world and share your artistic journey. Whether you want to exhibit your pieces, sell them online, or simply display them in your home, there are various ways to present your pastel artworks in their best light.

1. Framing: One of the most popular methods for displaying pastel drawings is framing. Choose a frame that complements your artwork and enhances its overall aesthetic.

Opt for a mat to create a border between the drawing and the frame, preventing the pastel from smudging against the glass. Consider using UV-resistant glass or acrylic to protect your artwork from fading due to exposure to sunlight.

2. Photographing: If you want to share your pastel artworks online or submit them for exhibitions, high-quality photographs are crucial. Use natural light or a soft, diffused light source to capture the true colors and details of your artwork.

Make sure the photograph is well-lit and focused and consider using a tripod to avoid any blurriness. Edit the image if necessary to enhance colors and contrast while ensuring the digital representation remains true to the original artwork.

Tips for photographing pastel artworks:

  • Use a neutral background that doesn’t distract from the artwork.
  • Take multiple shots from different angles to capture the artwork’s texture.
  • Crop the image to focus on the artwork and eliminate any unnecessary background.

3. Exhibiting: If you’re interested in showcasing your pastel artworks in public exhibitions or galleries, research local art shows and venues that accept pastel works.

Prepare your artwork for submission by following their guidelines, which might include framing requirements, size limitations, and submission deadlines.

Take advantage of these opportunities to introduce your work to a wider audience and connect with fellow artists and art enthusiasts.

Remember, showcasing your pastel artworks allows you to celebrate your creativity and inspire others. Whether you choose to frame your art, photograph it for online sharing, or exhibit it in galleries, the way you present your work can greatly impact how it is perceived by others.

So, take the time to showcase your pastel artworks in a way that reflects your unique artistic vision and captures the essence of your creations.

pastel drawing artwork

Congratulations on completing “Master the Art of Pastel Drawing: Beginner’s Guide.” We hope this comprehensive introduction has sparked your passion for pastel drawing and motivated you to continue honing your skills.

Throughout this guide, we have covered the essential aspects of pastel drawing for beginners, including the properties of soft pastels, fundamental techniques, and recommended supplies.

By understanding the unique qualities of pastels and mastering techniques such as blending, layering, and creating texture, you can unleash your creativity and express yourself through vibrant and expressive artworks. Remember to set up a comfortable and well-lit workspace, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different color schemes and effects to enhance your drawings.

To further enhance your journey in pastel drawing, we highly recommend the book “Pastels For The Absolute Beginner” by Rebecca de Mendonca. This valuable resource provides in-depth guidance, step-by-step tutorials, and practical exercises to help you develop your skills and explore the full potential of this versatile medium.

Now that you have a solid foundation in pastel drawing basics, it’s time to let your imagination soar and create stunning pastel artworks. It’s a great new hobby to get into!

Remember, practice is key, so keep experimenting, learning, and discovering new techniques. With dedication and persistence, your pastel drawings will continue to evolve and reflect your unique artistic voice. Happy drawing!


Q: What is “Master the Art of Pastel Drawing: Beginner’s Guide” about?

A: “Master the Art of Pastel Drawing: Beginner’s Guide” is a comprehensive introduction to using soft pastels for beginners.

Q: What topics does the article cover?

A: The article covers topics such as the properties of soft pastels, techniques for drawing with pastels, recommended supplies, setting up a workspace, and creating different effects with pastels.

Q: What book is recommended for beginners?

A: “Pastels For The Absolute Beginner” by Rebecca de Mendonca is recommended as a valuable resource for beginners.

A girl sitting at a desk with paints and brushes, creating a pastel drawing.