Pastel Pencil Tips by Tyra Smith
Pastel pencils are quite easy to use, but there are a few tips to using them.
It is best to use a matte cardstock. I prefer to use Beckett Expressions 80# cardstock because it has a silky smooth finish and makes blending the pastels very easy.
You need to use a good semipermanent ink pad to stamp with so that the stamped lines do not smear under the pressure of the pastel pencils, stumps or blender pens. My preference is Ranger Archival ink pads, though Memories ink pads and any type of watercolor ink pad should also work just fine.
When coloring on your cardstock with the pastel pencils, you are simply laying down color that sits on top of the cardstock and will need to be massaged into the cardstock. It is not necessary to get a full and even coverage of the pastels, since when you blend them into the cardstock, it will cover the entire area. Try to use the side of the pastel pencil, rather than the tip, with light pressure.
Two basic ways to blend pastel pencils are as follows:
1. Dry Blending: Using a dry stump (which is a paper stick, also known as stomps or tortillions) with moderate pressure, rub over the area where you have applied your pastel pencils. This rubs the color into the cardstock and will blend it nicely if you have used several colors in one place. You can continue to work over the top of any area where you have dry blended, adding color or taking it away as you feel the need.
2. Web Blending: Using a blender pen (such as a Dove or Tombow Blender pen), gently wipe over an area where you have applied the pastel pencils. The color will "wick up" into the tip of the blender pen, so be sure to periodically wipe it on a paper towel to remove the excess color in the blender pen tip. Once you use a blender pen to blend the pastel pencils, it is not a good idea to use the pastel pencils on top of that area again. You can scribbling the pastel pencils on scrap paper, then pick up the color with blender pen and apply it to your cardstock if need be. You can also use a paintbrush and water to wet blend your pastel pencil work.
You can achieve different shades of the same color by altering the pressure you use when applying the pencil to the cardstock. Heavy pressure will yield a darker color, even when blended. To get a very light pastel shade, first scribble on scrap paper with the pastel pencil, rub the stump (or blender pen) over that area and then rub the stump on your cardstock.
You can remove color, as well as add color, to your pastel pencil pieces. It is a natural inclination to add darker colors to areas you wish to shade. However, the same effect can be achieved by removing color from an area. When you lighten an area like that, it makes everything else appear darker by contrast. To remove color, simply use a white eraser and rub over your pastel pencil work. As long as you have dry blended the area, you can remove color with a white eraser.
Cleaning the stumps is very easy. Simply rub the tips and sides of the stumps on an emory board, or fine grit sandpaper, to remove color and put the tip back on the stump. When using the stump, try to use the side of it, rather than the tip. The tip should be used only when trying to blend/work in tight spaces. Never try to sharpen them with a pencil sharpener.
Once you finish working your pastel pencil piece, you will need to spray it with a spray fixative, or spray sealant. While working with the pencils, the dust from the pastel pencils will slightly dull the stamped lines. When you spray the fixative on top, it brings out the crisp definitive black stamped lines again for you. You can work the entire piece until you are finished and then spray with the fixative. You can also spray your piece periodically with the fixative, let it dry, then work more on top again. When spraying the fixative, it is recommended you spray it in a very open and well ventilated area. Do not spray it in your house. Step outside or in the garage to spray the fixative.
Sharpening pastel pencils is another area of concern. You should have a good metal manual hand sharpener dedicated just for your pencils. Electric sharpeners create a good deal of vibrations when you use them to sharpen pencils, which will more often than not break the lead of the pencil inside the wood casing. Same thing goes for a cheap plastic manual hand sharpener. Make sure you have a good metal manual hand sharpener and use it exclusively for your pencils (pastel pencils, colored pencils, watercolor pencils).
PASTEL PENCIL INSTRUCTIONS® by Tyra Smith.
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