Tuesday 11 April 2023

How to Use Oil Pastels?

     To use any kind of art medium it is very important to understand the medium. Oil Pastels are easy to use but at the same time it is important to understand the behavior of the pastel stick you are using. There are different manufacturers in the markets producing Oil Pastels. Each manufacturer has their own set of binding agents and pigments to make the pastel sticks. The behavior of  each oil pastel varies depends on the manufacturer and life time of the pastel. The names of the pastel stick for same hue differs from each manufacturer. 

So it is advisable to use basic set of pastels(like 25 shades) from any manufacturer rather than buying bigger sets. Before using the pastel in your work, use the pastel on the any rough paper and check the behavior of the pastel. It is very important to understand how the particular pastel stick is blending with the other hue pastels. Some pastels may be harder than others . 

Oil Pastels basics:

    There are so many techniques artists follow to use and blend Oil Pastels. Here are the techniques I follow from my own Experience. 

Plain Patch :

    Learning to create a plain patch is must in any medium. Plain Patch means coloring or shading with same tone all over a respective area. Creating a plain patch is easy but needs practice.  

Fig:1 Plain Patch

How to create Plain Patch with Oil Pastels?

    While creating any kind of art work with oil pastels, the basic thing we need to do is to make a plain patch. It is the first layer of color you apply on the paper. The layers can be added and blended according to the artwork. 

    Hold your oil pastel stick firmly without any pressure. Slowly color the area in one direction. As I am a right handy, I follow left to right. Do not overdo any area. If there are any dark patches you cannot overwrite it., the only way to correct is to make the area next to it as dark as the patch. Your final patch may look darker than you expected. So you need to be careful and apply even pressure all over the area.

    You can see the texture of the paper while shading . The surface texture of the paper is commonly referred as "Tooth". Due to the "Tooth" of the paper you can see white space in between. This kind of shading leads to a Plain Patch as shown in fig.1

Gradient effect with oil pastel:

    Gradient effect is an interesting and most used element in most of the oil pastel works. A gradient patch is created using either light to dark or dark to light tones. A gradient patch can be of same color or different colors. Lets see the methods to create the gradient patch.

Layering with same hue:

    In this technique, we use only one hue to create gradient. Layering with same hue make the tone look more dense and dark. We use this property to make gradient patch. 


Fig 2: Gradient with same hue

     After doing first layer of plain patch, make the second layer of plain patch over the first layer till 3/4rth area of the first layer. Now make the third layer on top of the second layer leaving some gap on the 2nd layer from the bottom . Repeat this process for the required number of layers. After making all the layers, blend the layers with a cotton bud from bottom to top. You can see Gradient effect of dark to light tones from top to bottom as shown in the figure above.

    Here I used only one pastel (Light blue) for the overall effect. As there are many layers of light blue applied on the top, the top of the gradient look more dense and dark compared to the bottom. The darkness of the gradient is limited while using same hue( here light blue). To achieve more darkness, we need to use different tones of same color . Let us see how we can achieve more darkness in the gradient patch using different tones of same color .

Layering with different tones of same color:

        Making a gradient by layering with different tones is the best way of making gradient. Here we use tones from very dark to very light. Let us see how we can achieve this effect.

    The first layer of the gradient is always the light tone (which is light blue here). Second layer is mid tone( cerulean blue) , third layer is dark tone (Antwerp Blue) and the fourth layer is Very dark tone (Prussian Blue) . 

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