See a demo of oil pastel techniques that will show how to create a compelling portrait.
Various techniques are explained, that can be used to build up vibrant colors and three dimensional volume with oil pastels including layering, blending, creating a diverse range of textures and marks, and more. Demo led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.
- Yellow ochre is a good color to sketch out the basics of the drawing
- Beginning the portrait with a nose because it’s in the center.
- Emphasizing the cheek bones to show the structure of the skull.
- Be willing to make changes in your drawing.
- A kneaded eraser can be used to tone down a light sketch of oil pastel.
- Start drawing the eyes with the upper lid, and build the pupils in.
- Peel the oil pastel and draw with the side to block in large color areas.
- Notice the lighting situation.
- Experiment with using colors that are “too bright,” then pull back.
- Use a broad range of physical pressure, vary the density.
- Baby oil can be used to smudge the oil pastel without hurting your fingers.
- Use sculpture tools and palette knives to scrape and smear.
- Dark purple is a good alternative to black since it’s still fairly dark.
- When introducing a new color, make sure to distribute it evenly throughout the drawing.
- Squint when you observe the reference photo.
- Don’t just draw the pupil of the eye, observe the forms around it.
- Layer the oil pastel to adjust the color mixtures and get texture.
With faces, I find it helps to look for shapes of light and shadow rather than ‘features’.
I don’t try to draw ‘eyes’ or ‘lips’ or a ‘nose’. Those words cue visual symbols. If we try to draw an ‘eye’, we tend to draw a symbol of an eye .. rather than what we see.
As a free educational source, Art Prof uses Amazon affiliate links (found in this page) to help pay the bills. This means, Art Prof earns from qualifying purchases.