Drawing a Male Torso & Portrait in Soft Pastel

See step by step how to draw a male portrait in soft pastel and quick torso drawings with Clip Studio Paint.

1 hour 22 min. video

Techniques covered include how to block on the beginning of the drawing, how to emphasize lighting, and how to address color.

Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Jordan McCracken-Foster.

Video Walkthrough

  • Soft pastel drawings often are at high risk for getting very muddy, especially in a sustained drawing.
  • A pre-emptive measure to keep soft pastel drawings from getting muddy is to start with colors that are too saturated, knowing that they will eventually get more muted as you work on the drawing.
  • Ken, the subject of these drawings is a long time model at RISD who Prof Lieu worked with for many years.
  • Wrinkles in a portrait are especially challenging when they cross over each other.
  • Trying to draw every single wrinkle in a portrait is usually very tedious and doesn’t even necessarily get great results.
  • Working with an artist model is a relationship that is formed throughout the years that is lovely to have.
Drawing a Male Portrait in Soft Pastel, Clara Lieu, banner
Art Supplies: Oil Pastel Drawing, banner

Prof Lieu’s Tips

Clara cartoon

I tell students to make a “sacrifice” drawing; decide in advance that you’re doing to kill the piece on purpose, push it waaaaaay further than they think is reasonable.

Clara Marker drawing banner Bread Fairy

Most people haven’t had the experience of going too far. The thing is, once you have gone too far, it’s easy to pull back and find that sweet spot.

Otherwise, inching closer incrementally towards the finish becomes really slow. Better to take a gigantic leap and then you’ll know what’s too much!

Open Studios Club gif

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