How to Draw Figures in Pastel

Skill Level : 1 Beginner

Medium : Pastel Painting

Subject : Landscapes

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 1 hour 48 minutes

Avg Rating : No Ratings Yet

Silver Level or Higher Class

Class Description

The ability to add figures to their artworks has been a headache for many artists. They shy away from them because they do not have the knowledge of proportions and how figures move. In this drawing you are going to learn how to add simple but proportioned figures to your drawings.

In this class we will learn:

1.  How to add these figures into your pastel drawings
2.  How to use a very easy technique to ensure your figures are always drawn in proportion.
3.  How to simplify trees and grass

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Class Tutorial

Sky and distant mountain

distant mountain and sky

Apply a light blue over the sky area and smooth it out with the finger. The mountain is a purple colour. Leave the profile soft and hazy. The distant trees at the edge of the lake are also only vaguely blocked in – no details.

Paint the water

drawing the water

Layer some soft white in the water area and gently add a blue/green colour. It also must be soft and hazy. Using a brush dipped in water just darken up the base of the trees on the opposite shore.

Paint the foreground tree

drawing foreground tree

Block in the shadow areas with a mauve/brown stick  and then overlay some dark green. We are not painting the tree as shown in the photograph.

creating leaf clusters

Use a round  bristle brush dipped in water and then when touched to the pastel will darken it up. Use a dabbing action to give the impression of leaf clusters.

Start the foreground

start drawing the foreground

The shrub on the left is the mauve/brown and the shoots have been pulled out of the centre with a wet brush. Begin adding the sunlit grass with a pale yellow such as Naples yellow.

Paint the trunk and branches

drawing tree trunk and branches

Sketch in the trunk and branches with the brown and touches of orange. The light is from the right hand side. Remember that the branches thin out towards the tips. Touch in some Naples yellow and light green where the sun hits the branches.

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Back to the foreground


Layer a bit of red and then some blue over the initial brown underpainting. This should result in a warm grey colour.

tall grass

The nearby tall grass can now be stroked in with an upward motion so that the grass ends with pointed tips.

Sky reflection on branches

sky reflections on branches

Add some blue sky reflections on the trunk and branches.

Sketching the figures

sketch in the figures

Using the “half” formula as explained earlier on sketch out the proportions of the two figures.

Painting the figures

drawing figure 1

Use any colour of your choice to paint the figure with. Start the body thin and then fill out to suit.

drawing figure 2

Begin the second figure. Don't try to add features to the front figure. You can't see them in the photograph! Add the shadows to the figures.

Final painting

final drawing figures in pastel

About Dennis Clark

Read more about Dennis Clark

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