London Art College Pastels Diploma

I think I mentioned a while ago that I had signed up for the London Art College‘s Pastel Diploma. I really want to draw and mess around with pastels but need to learn how to use them properly so I thought this would be a good way to do that. After a tumultuous couple of weeks I finally sat down to do my first exercise.

The instructions were simple: A3 paper – mid-tone Mi-Tientes, black, white and grey pastels, a tonal drawing from life of garlic bulbs.


I started out by blocking in mid-tones and darker tones with my Pan Pastels – the first time I have really used them and boy, are they fun. They also immediately forced me to work loosely – something I am not used to at all.  Then armed with my pastels I got to work.


I found it very difficult. Mixing the pastels and laying them down is a lot of fun and quite easy but getting detail, deciding if you want detail, keeping lines sharp and just rendering what you see is very difficult. I wasn’t using pastel pencils, which I may find easier, but big soft Senneliers on the top layer and Daler-Rowney round pastels in the middle. Some details were done with Conte a Paris small soft pastels. The Senneliers are gorgeous to use: soft, creamy and dense.

I’ll be re-visiting this tomorrow hopefully and will post the finished piece.

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