Mini-Tutorial: PanPastel Critters by Carla Sonheim
I am really looking forward to returning to Art Camp for Women in just a few short months! We will draw and paint using a variety of media — including PanPastels! I fell in love with them over a year ago and have come up with several new ways to use them since then (that I will present for the first time next October).
The following mini-tutorial shows the process of how I created the creatures on the cover of my book, “Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop with Carla Sonheim.”
3-5 colors of PanPastels (or regular soft pastel will work, too)
paper towel or white cotton rag
kneaded rubber eraser
hard eraser (like the end of a pencil)
Using the paper towel or white cotton rag over your index finger, lay down several splotches of one color.
Repeat Step 1 with a second color. Do not try to “make” anything at this point, but just lay down colors fairly randomly (though close together).
Repeat with a third color.
Using your kneaded rubber eraser, apply medium pressure over the whole shape and blend the edges into each other. This will also lighten the colors a bit. (Some of the pastels will adhere to your eraser; simply “knead” it out and it will go away.)
Now, look at the shape you have started. Do you see anything? I kind of saw a bird at this stage, so…
… I took the eraser and “drew” the bird shape in by erasing areas to define the beak, chest, etc. So Step 5, then, is take your eraser and define your animal (or face, house, plant, flower, or whatever else you “see”).
Add other colors with your rag and finger to define it more; add darker areas if desired for shading.
Use your kneaded eraser to back off any areas that are too heavy-handed compared to the rest of the piece, or the pencil eraser to pull out finer details (like the hair on this bird).
Outline your drawing with ballpoint pen. Use shorter strokes rather than one continuous line (click to enlarge to see detail).
Using more short strokes, add shading. I imagined that a sun was peeking from the upper right corner, and so shaded the areas underneath the bird’s beak, face and chest (which would be in shadow if there was a real light source there).
Finish your drawing by adding details such as wings, eye pupils, etc. You might also need to touch up areas around the drawing with your eraser if the pastels have smudged. Done?
Even though your drawing is finished, there are ways you can improve it digitally if you would like to share it online. In this case I lightened the background and made sure the color was even. I used the “clone” tool in Photoshop to touch up some of the pastel remnants (under the bird’s face, for example). I even took liberties with the cropping so the bird was now flying rather than almost sitting.
NOW it’s done!