How to Draw Figures in Pastel
The ability to add figures to a painting 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 about. In this painting you are going to add simple but proportioned figures as a start.
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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Sky and distant mountain
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Add some blue sky reflections on the trunk and branches.
Sketching the figures
Using the “half” formula as explained earlier on sketch out the proportions of the two figures.
Painting the figures
Use any colour of your choice to paint the figure with. Start the body thin and then fill out to suit.
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.
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