Art: A pastel drawing technique
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Thread: A pastel drawing technique

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    A pastel drawing technique

    Iíve been invited to submit some posts here on Concept Art. I donít do any computer painting, although Iíve played around a little with the Painter program. Iím certainly not the whiz my good friend Don Seegmiller is. What I do is old-fashioned traditional drawing and painting in oils. I thought perhaps I should start by posting some information on my pastel drawing technique.

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    William Whitaker
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    I learned to draw with Nupastel from my teacher, Alvin Gittins, in 1960. Gittins was an absolute master of form and I deem myself extremely fortunate to have studied with him. He was a gifted portrait painter, probably the best one alive at the time. Here is an example of one of his pastel drawings. It is close to life-size. It is hard to work small with Nupastel.

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    William Whitaker
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    Over the years, Iíve worked out my own technical approach. Here are the tools I use. I sharpen my sticks on sandpaper. Since I mostly use the side of the pastel when I draw, the sticks generally stay sharp. I use a couple of old worn out pigs bristle oil brushes as blenders. I have laid in a supply of tulle that I bought at a fabric shop. Tulle is a good dry blender too. I take pigment out with a kneaded eraser.

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    William Whitaker
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    My drawing surface is Crescent Museum Mounting Board (off white). I bought a large supply of it in 1977 and I donít even know if itís being made anymore. The sheets measure 32x40Ē. Nupastel forces one to work pretty large. I stand at an easel while I work. Iím laying in tone with the side of my pastel stick.

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    William Whitaker
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    I can pull wonderfully fine and interesting lines using the side of my stick. Pastel pigment is pretty powerful and I have to be careful and accurate when I draw because itís almost impossible to completely erase a dark pastel line.

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    William Whitaker
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    I turn the stick for lines in various directions.

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    William Whitaker
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    I save the point for short curves and details.

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    William Whitaker
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    I blend with the side of my knuckle. I have to be careful not to get any sweat on the drawing. It makes mud that cannot be removed.

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    William Whitaker
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    I can do some wonderfully broad blending with a wad of tulle.

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    William Whitaker
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    And I get the most delicate blending with an old brush Ė a hogís bristle oil brush.

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    William Whitaker
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    The kneaded eraser is very effective in pulling off the lighter areas of the pastel drawing to create lights.

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    William Whitaker
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    And I can point the eraser and pull out highlights.

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    I mostly do large drawings as stand-alone works of art, but sometimes I do one as a study for a painting. I did this one from life as a model for an oil painting.

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    William Whitaker
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    My model was a senior in high school and therefore practically indestructible. (Sitting like that would have killed meÖ.) To get the correct period shape, she wore an authentic corset under the dress. The corset made breathing difficult sometimes, but it helped to hold her up straight.

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    I laid the major folds of the skirt in very quickly and mostly finished them from memory between sittings, since they are impossible to get back in the same position. I could have taken photos of the setup to work from, but I hate film and I didnít yet own a digital camera when I made this drawing.

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    I thought Iíd end this lengthy note with a shot of the oil that was done from the pastel drawing. My model came back to sit for this too of course. The subject is Virginia Reed, a survivor of the Donner party, circa 1849-1850.

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    Thanks for sharing! You do beautiful drawings

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    Thank you for posting these, they're gorgeous. I'm really interested in trying out pastel so it's great to see good drawings in the medium. Is Nupastel a brand name or is it a certain type of pastel?

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    Wow! that was fabulous!

    -http://iwasink.com/-
    DS Illustration
    "Get reference.
    There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
    No one complains about life drawing,
    so take a photo.
    its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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    I just came back from visiting your website, and I must say, It is an honor to have you post here at conceptart. Please keep posting!

    I would love to see a detailed tut (I know Im pushing it but if I never ask, I'll never know if you'll do it or not)

    Oskar

    -http://iwasink.com/-
    DS Illustration
    "Get reference.
    There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
    No one complains about life drawing,
    so take a photo.
    its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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    Amazing work! Definitely appreciate it when artists take the time to share their techniques. Please keep posting

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    Wow! Those are simply amazing. On the pastel verison of the girl from highschool, how long did it take you to draw it? Even if you don't remember, could tell us, on average, how long it takes to draw a whole figure?

    By the way, your site is amazing too. Your amazing at oils too. You've simply WOW-ed me.

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    Originally posted by William Whitaker
    My drawing surface is Crescent Museum Mounting Board (off white). I bought a large supply of it in 1977 and I donít even know if itís being made anymore.
    That must've been a very LARGE supply then Is there a number associated to that Crescent paper ? Those papers/boards are dope.
    What do you think of Rembrandt pastels ? (even tho they are soft)

    Aline, saving this page.

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    Nupastel is a brand name. See the Dick Blick link at winjerís post below. Nupastel is a hard pastel as opposed to soft pastels Ė used for pastel PAINTINGS Ė which I havenít done in years. Long before computers, and long before even magic markers, commercial artists used Nupastels to create all their layouts for advertising and publications. Iím surprised that they are still being made. They are much harder than soft pastels, but since they are pastels and pure dry pigments, they have none of the ďoilinessĒ of Conte Crayons.

    Back in my student days, I could do a large pastel drawing in two or three hours. As my technique and my eye developed, I found them taking much longer. I donít keep track of the time, but I guess a figure takes twelve to sixteen hours now, over a period of several days.

    I used to have a product number for the Crescent board, but I have no idea now where to look for it. I probably have enough on hand to last the rest of my life.

    Iím so impressed with the young talent I see here and everywhere else. When I was a student, it was AGAINST THE LAW to draw well. We all had to worship Cezanne and abstract expressionism, and we all True Believers. We were so silly and naÔve! Now my generation is running things and is fighting Ė and losing Ė a rear guard action a younger generation who believes I quality. I believe the greatest, the most exciting work, is going to be done by this younger generation who are going to do things that nobody has yet even dreamed of.

    William Whitaker
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    i am gonna run off to the store first thing tomorrow and get some pastels.. I am so impressed...

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    william excellent work here, glad to see more awesome painters/drawers in here.
    i like that these drawings aren't stiff. please continue posting!

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    Hi William, thanks for sharing your technique with us.....
    Really great.....and indeed you are a Master Painter
    -Diego

    Last edited by Diego; March 29th, 2004 at 01:22 PM.
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    edit--- pressed button twice, i'm an idiot...

    Last edited by jrr; March 29th, 2004 at 03:49 PM.
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    WOW.. I have seen some of your work before.. I think I saw it on ArtRenewal... Maybe there was an add for an Atelier.. or classes taught by you or something.. your work is awe inspiring! Give Don Seegmiller a big thanks.. Your website is great... I am sure its been bogged down to a lot of traffic from this site.. but, waiting to see some of your art was worth it..

    I really enjoy your process pictures.. It helps to get an idea on your mindset and how you work...

    many thanks,

    -mike

    -Deth Jester
    "Live each day like you will die tommorow, and dream like you will live forever..."
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