Drawing a Child in Soft Pastel

See from beginning to end, how to draw a soft pastel portrait of a child. Children are challenging to draw, their proportions are odd, they have very little visible bone structure!

92 min. video

See how to block in the initial patches of color and articulate details in the later part of the process. 

Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Video Walkthrough

  • Children are very challenging to draw!
  • Children have a totally different set of proportions from adults.
  • In general they tend to have much bigger foreheads, and their facial features tend to be lower.
  • Children usually don’t have visible bony landmarks in their faces, the way that adults have pronounced cheekbones.
  • Pattern is tricky to do, but can be incredibly expressive and contribute greatly to the color scheme.
  • Avoid only greys for the shadow, shadows actually have a lot of color shifts if you look carefully.
  • Try different types of pacing for your artworks.
  • In some cases, the media can dictate you pacing, but other times you can switch it up on purpose to try something different.
  • Soft pastels are most effective when you build from light to dark, leave the darkest dark to the very last bit of the drawing.
  • Smudging tends to just spread the pastel pigment across the drawing and makes everything look mushy.
  • Layering up the soft pastel, so you are putting colors on top of each other creates depth and more sophisticated colors.
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Prof Lieu’s Tips

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When it comes to drawing in color, a challenge is how to balance the various values throughout the composition.

Color can really take over a drawing and we have to remind ourselves to think about other things like value.

Drawing Crabs in Soft Pastel, banner

I take a photo of my drawing and make it black-and-white in my phone. I find often times I “forget” about light and dark’s, because I am so focused on the colors.

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