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Materials Needed for Pastel Painting

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Pastels are a great medium for an artist who loves to mainly use stroke work to create a masterpiece. If you are a beginner in this style of painting, you must have a good idea of what you will need for pastel painting.

Since you need a larger collection of colours for pastel painting, the first thing you need to buy is a set of pastels. Various shades of greys are necessary for an artist who does a lot of painting outdoors. An artist using water or oil paints mixes these greys himself. But in pastel, these essential shades come ready prepared.

Pastels are available in sets of diverse sizes, beginning from a box of 12 sticks to a large assortment of shades running into four hundred or more. So, to start with, get a hold of a boxed set of between 12 and 24 pastels which will give you a good choice of colours for the various colour schemes.

Next on the list of what you need is a drawing board. Place a cardboard sheet or some newspaper under the paper you will draw on so that a soft and supple surface is created for easy painting.
Now that the drawing board is ready, the next item on your list should be pastel paper. These are available in different colours if you choose. Pastel paper has a textured and grained surface over which a pastel can easily adhere. You may also use charcoal paper for this purpose. Be sure to keep the sheets of paper flat and never rolled.

Chamois and rags come next on that shopping list. While doing a painting, you may have to rub down or wipe off pastel areas. A soft rag will come in handy. If the pastel is too heavily spread on an area, you can use a chamois to partially remove it. The cloth can also be used to smooth and blend colours.

Charcoal is another item to be included in your list. Primarily, sticks of charcoal are used to make preliminary sketches, particularly when painting a landscape. Renderings of accents and details can also be made using charcoal.

Let a portfolio also be a part of your shopping list. A portfolio can easily carry pastel paper. You can also use it as a sketching support while doing a painting outdoors. You also need soft tracing paper to cover your completed sketches. Keep them carefully in your portfolio, tying them firmly so they won’t get smudged when moving about.

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You could also have a Fixative on that list. Although Fixative is a debatable issue – some artists use it, and others don’t. But it is helpful to fix the pastel between layers in the early stage of your painting. But be careful not to spray it too heavily. Do it lightly a few times and allow a drying interval after each fixing.

The final item on the list are stumps. They are useful in blending colours smoothly. But use them only moderately. If they are used too often, the outcome will be an unpleasant slick effect.
You can add to this list, but these are generally the main ones.


Here is the list:

Set of pastels - 12-24.
Various shades of grey.
Charcoal stick.
Drawing board.
Pastel paper.
Chamois and rags.
Fixative (optional).

Now, go and have some fun painting with your pastels.

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