First Soft Pastel attempt

This was harder than anticipated and did not turn out as I had hoped, but it will not keep me from trying pastels more. It is only 7 x7 on Strathmore Pastel paper with pastel sticks and Stabilo pastel pencils. I tried the method Matt covered with his Labrador, by chalking the back of my photo reference. That did not work for me as it did not transfer. I made the mistake of pressing harder and actually indented my paper. Oh well, I got the basic image. It is too small to have the detail that I want. I’ll have to go bigger on my next project. This is our Beagle, Shiloh, on her favorite perch (the back of the sofa). :slightly_smiling_face: All comments and critiques welcomed! Love this community!


Hi Ken,

I think this is nice. You’ve definitely caught the expression. If it were me, I would go back and work more pastel onto the paper. Build slowly as to not over do. It’s a wonderful first pastel!

Hello Ken. I just recently started working with pastels and it is turning into an addiction. We all have our preferences when it comes to paper. I have used Canson Mi-Teintes (similar to the Strathmore you used) and I did not like the textured look. I then tried a sanded paper (UART) and absolutely loved working with it. You may want to try some. I agree with Lori, you could try to build more layers (gently). You could blend some areas although you don’t want to overdo it because it could become flat very quickly. Still, for a first try, I think it looks pretty good. Shiloh looks like a lovely dog. If you can’t find UART paper locally, you may want to try order a sample pack from Jackson’s Art Supplies. The sample pack of sanded papers is a great value (approx. $10 - USD) and shipping is very reasonable for that set even if they are in the UK. I don’t know what kind of duty and taxes you would pay, but it should be minimal.

@Ken_H , she’s SO CUTE!!! Can’t wait to see more pastel art from you! Thank you for sharing! :smile:

Hello Ken, for your first attempt you’ve done a good job. I would say try using Clairefontaine pastelmat. You can buy in pads of different colours/sizes to suit what you like. It’s a smoothish sanded type paper and will take multiple layers. I started off with paper similar to what you’ve used and didn’t like it, (personal choice). I use pastel pencils only to get the detail I want, just couldn’t get enough detail woth soft pastels for me. Keep up with drawing/painting it’s a great hobby to have. Deb

Great piece! I don’t work with pastels. But if I were drawing this, you need to remove the halo around your dog. I would get those colors right up there (not blended). Especially in the area of the front paws all along the length of the body. Again great piece and only an observation do make more art!

Thank you Lori! I will definitely go back and build on it. I hit a point where I was telling myself to stop because I’d probably ruin what I did have. I’ll go back and add little by little.

Hi Patricia. I’ll look into getting a different paper to try. I think I’ll try the other side of a sheet too, maybe it will perform better for me. I have more photos of Shiloh to do for my wife. That is her baby. Thanks for the comment and advice!

Our neighbor has been raising beagles for years and says Shiloh is a perfect specimen. :slightly_smiling_face: She is such a kind and loving dog. My wife was not a dog person until we got her.

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Hi Deb. Thanks for the advice. I’ll look into other paper and also work with a larger project so I can get more detail in.

Hi Thomas. Pastels are harder than I thought they’d be but I think over time, I will come to enjoy them. I think the accidental indent caused the halo effect. That’s be something to work harder at avoiding in the future. Thanks for the advice!

You captured the personality of your beagle! My only comment is to agree with previous PastelMat (or sanded paper) is a game changer when it comes to pastels. Well worth the money! You can achieve so many layers and avoid the texture of the paper showing thru.

This is great for our first time. So cute.

Thank you Denise. I will keep working with pastels now, too.