The Benefits of Oil Pastels: A “Happy Medium”

"Benefits of Oil Pastels: A 'Happy Medium'" (blog post) | |

Oil pastels don’t seem to be used nearly as much as other art mediums—they’re not even used as much as chalk/soft pastels. Yet they can deliver amazing results.

Even on the Internet, if you’re looking for information on oil pastels, there’s little about them. Surely, everyone needs to find his or her “happy medium.” For this particular drawing/painting of a carousel horse, based on an original photo, oil pastel was perfect.

"The Benefits of Oil Pastels: A 'Happy Medium'" (blog post) | |
Underpainting done in Faber-Castell Gelatos for Carousel Horse Oil Pastel

First, the underpainting was done with Faber-Castell Gelatos. It probably would have been best to skip the background underpainting so that the softness of the oil pastels would simply create a more blurred look when blended. Still, the whole underpainting worked.

Drawing (or Painting) the Carousel Horse

Depending on what you prefer, oil pastels are either considered drawing or painting. We’ll just use both interchangeably here.

All of the oil pastel portions (almost the entire painting) were blended, either with a blending stump for smaller areas or a make-up wedge for larger areas (as a sidenote, try to use make-up wedges where the holes of the sponge are not as obvious, as these will last longer and are less likely to disintegrate as you go).

The decorations on the saddle, the “bar” areas of the saddle and a few other areas needing more precision were done with conté crayon, and for really small areas, a wax-based colored pencil.

One Major Con of Oil Pastels

The one major disadvantage of oil pastel is that it’s difficult to deal with mistakes. It seems that you either have to somehow work the mistake into the piece (e.g., creating a shadow) or hope that you can blend it out (doesn’t always work). You cannot paint over it; you cannot erase it.

"Benefits of Oil Pastels: A 'Happy Medium'" (blog post) | |
“Carousel Horse.” Oil pastel on mixed-media paper.

Oil Pastels: A Beautiful Art Form

If you’re open, oil pastels are a lovely medium to try. Don’t let the fact that they’re not as commonly used thwart your efforts: They’re totally worth it!


Materials used:

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Your Favorite Characters: If You Had to Give Them Nicknames….

"Your Favorite Characters: If You Gave Them Nicknames...."" (blog post) | |

Nicknames are fun — I was once told I could be given the nickname of “Running Ulcer” because of walking quickly (in high school) and worrying a lot.

Most likely, some characters are given nicknames by the author. If you’re a reader, what nicknames might you give to some of your favorite characters? And if you’re a writer, what nicknames might you give to your own characters? (This is an especially useful tool for writers to really get into the world of their characters.)

Really quirky or eccentric characters would likely get the most interesting nicknames. Ebeneezer Scrooge, for example, could be “Cheapskate,” “Coldheart” or “Bah-Humbug Breath.” King Arthur could be “Master of Excalibur.”

Ebeneezer Scrooge could be “Cheapskate,” “Coldheart” or “Bah-Humbug Breath.”

Not all people automatically have nicknames (nor should they), so the fact that we may be inclined to nickname certain characters may show the power of the characters themselves.

Nicknaming Characters Really Makes You Think

If you’re inclined to nickname a favorite character, that’s one thing. For authors, however, the exercise of nicknaming characters is not always easy. For example, in trying to name some of my own short story characters, the only obvious one was “Tomb-Singer” for Mark in “Revvel’s Tomb” (though other nicknames for him are certainly possible, some of them being rather macabre).

Some people who may bother to nickname characters might be given the nickname of “Bookworm” — but then again, that’s not really a bad thing. 🙂


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Why Not Try Faber-Castell Gelatos for Big Art Pieces? (Experiment)

"Working with Art Gelatos for Larger Art Pieces" (blog post) | |

Faber-Castell Gelatos are a medium that are often used for art journaling, card-making and other paper crafts. They actually work well as an underpainting layer for oil pastels on mixed-media paper, too.

But what about using them as the main medium for a larger project? That seemed like at least a fun idea to test. And while doing a full-on scene could work, it seemed best—and quickest in terms of this experiment—to do fairly simple images.

But first, what are Faber-Castell Gelatos?

Gelatos are a pigment often compared to lipstick, at least in texture. They are very creamy but are different from oil pastels in that they are softer. As mentioned, they’re often used in paper-crafting.

To test how they would come across in a larger art piece, we decided to do an 80’s tribute and tried two different images of vintage My Little Ponies.

Drawing with, and Blending, the Gelatos

Gelatos are especially fun to work with because they’re so soft. They go on easily and blend with very little effort (if you choose to blend them). The drawing of Bowtie (below) shows best how the medium blends, as the blue on the body was blended (or rather, smashed into the paper). Blending Gelatos is often done with a baby wipe.

"Working with Art Gelatos for Larger Art Pieces" (blog post) | |

The areas with the mane/hair were blended underneath, then a layer of the strands was stroked on above. Those areas were not blended and can be seen best on the drawing of the sea pony, Wavedancer.

"Working with Art Gelatos for Larger Art Pieces" (blog post) | | authorbrennapierson.wordpress.comIt may actually be more effective, if doing a really large or complex piece, to do the Gelatos for larger areas and the detailed parts with something like chalk, soft pastel or conte crayon.

For more on art Gelatos, also check out “Oil Pastel Experiment: Trying Gelatos for Underpainting.

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