Pan pastels background

looking at the 2 birds Matt is drawing now one has the pan pastel background. They are expensive and im not sure i want to make that investment. Anyone have thoughts about leaving background without color and maybe talk a little about the properties. of pan pastel. They seem to waxy ,almost like shoe polish. Not sure about shaving soft pastel and trying to blend that. thanks tom

Hi Tom! I am no expert, but I think you could experiment with shaving soft pastel and blending them. I am fairly sure that you would get a nice result, albeit a little different from the pan pastels Matt is using. I think I would not leave the background without color if you want a rich effect. If you have Pastelmat paper you could use a darker grey OR, use a Canson Mi-Teintes (rough side) in a contrasting color. I think that would give you a good result too.

Hi Tom,
Yes, the PanPastels are expensive - very expensive. I only have a few colors for this reason and I only use them every once in a while. You can get a similar effect using just traditional pastels on this surface. The background won’t look as “atmospheric”. It will be a little bolder, but you can still blend transitions and get a softer look.

Hi Tom. I use pan pastels and love the no-dust property. It is not always easy to blend them too because it depends on the surface texture of the paper. What I do, especially when I don’t have the right colour, is to take a bit of the pan pastel powder and mix it with a stick pastel on a flat surface then use the sponge to apply that to the drawing. Doing it this way gives you a better indication of the final colour and blending the powder beforehand also allows you to apply it with a softer touch until you are happy with the colour and the intensity of colour you want to achieve. I would think it will also work with using only chalk dust too.

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Blending the two mediums. That is interesting. I have been trying stick pastel on a practice page and blending has worked well with as you mention a soft touch. Thanks. Tom

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