Self Portrait - I turn chalk pastels to a muddy mess before your very eyes
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Thread: Self Portrait - I turn chalk pastels to a muddy mess before your very eyes

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    Self Portrait - I turn chalk pastels to a muddy mess before your very eyes

    I just finished a basic layout for a self portrait. I did this in about ten minutes waiting for my drawing class to start. I don't see any huge problem with the anatomy, but I'd like an anatomy critique before I put down the color and realized something is horribly misplaced. So any help you can give me on anatomy would be greatly appreciate. Oh and I know the hand needs serious work. You can just ignore it. I was just in a hurry and suggested the hand but it came out with sausage fingers and too wide and just plain wrong. I"ll fix that before I touch it with color.

    Also, what is the best way to lay down color with chalk pastels so that everything doesn't turn to a brown muddy mess. I don't smear my pastels but never the less it always turns out all smeary and brown and dirty looking right after I go beyond the stage where I currently am.

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    Last edited by MyOrangeHat; December 13th, 2006 at 09:40 PM.
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    Best way to avoid a muddy mess is to work light to dark and avoid blending. Put keep putting on the pigment.

    Paul Rhye
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    Pvrhye, thanks for the tip. I took your advice as I worked on this and I think working light to dark has helped me a lot. This is the least muddy work I've ever done.

    Here's the progress. It's due this afternoon as the final project of the semester. Any critiques, that don't involve completely starting over since I don't have time, are greatly appreciated.

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    You sure those are regular pastels? That really smacks of oil pastel. Oil pastels you should use a stippling-like technique. Put it on thick and fresh. In any case, try to fill up more of the image area. We probally shouldn't be seeing any of the original paper.

    Paul Rhye
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    i would suggest trying to imply more volume in the piece... add some more shading that's defined by the volume of the face. look at your face with the light source and see the shape of the shadows and add that in. the way you added all your lines in coloring etc are very quick and rushed looking--- try a crosshatching technique, perhaps. Basically, don't just fill in colors--- define the form.

    Cheers- good luck.


    ~chasing whims is not always a waste of time~

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    Quote Originally Posted by pvrhye
    You sure those are regular pastels? That really smacks of oil pastel. Oil pastels you should use a stippling-like technique. Put it on thick and fresh. In any case, try to fill up more of the image area. We probally shouldn't be seeing any of the original paper.
    Yup I double checked what my box said and they are indeed chalk pastels, and really cheap ones at that if that makes any difference.

    When you say fill up more of the image area do you mean the background or do you mean the space that you can see the paper between my strokes?

    Quote Originally Posted by fae
    look at your face with the light source and see the shape of the shadows and add that in. the way you added all your lines in coloring etc are very quick and rushed looking--- try a crosshatching technique, perhaps.
    I seem to have problems keeping my shadow and light shapes defined and not blurry looking. I don't have this problem with charcoal drawings but when I throw color into the mix it all goes wrong and I'm unsure as to why. Any tips?
    I wasn't really rushed however I am completely unsure of how to apply pastels without it looking smeary and without blending so that's why I used the strokes. Mostly its when I need a color that isn't straight out of the box and I need to combine colors to make the new one, I just would repeatedly stroke one on top of the other. When I smeared it just started to look all icky and muddy. What am I doing wrong?

    This is only my third time trying to use pastels so I can use all the help I can get. I promise I'll put your advice to good use.

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    This is the final version that I handed in this afternoon. I still would like to add in shoulders and something interesting in the background before I have to present this piece for the finals review next week.

    Edited to add: Yes my hair really IS that red. I just re-dyed it using some Manic Panic.

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    I'm not very good with pastels, but it seems like you application is haphazard, which is working against really defining the forms. What I mean is that the strokes on the right cheek are the same direction as those on the left; neither really helps give a sense that these have volume (especially your right, which is being forced up by the hand). Unless you're going to apply enough pigment to make the strokes disappear (I don't know if you can with pastels), it's much better to make them work for you.

    The pose has a lot of charm.

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