Chalk Pastel Techniques

We think these techniques are creative fun at its best!


Blending and Fisting

What FISTIN’ is…is balling up your fist, turning your fist down so that your thumb is up in the air and lightly smudging your pastels with the back side of your balled up fist to:

1. Even out the pastel color on your subject that you are painting; that is, for example, an apple that you don’t want to be a solid red, but slightly smudged.

2. Fistin’ lets you make clouds “wispy” or give a landscape a foggy, misty look.
3. Fistin’ is just plain fun for students of all ages…they get to put part of their fist on the pastel painting and rub it round and round until they get the look that they want! More on blending and fistin’

Creating Clouds – Less is more technique. Once you get the idea, you can use it again and again with other scenes! We are not going to DRAW clouds, but use our pastels AROUND the clouds to make cloud shapes. More on how to make sky and clouds.

Painterly Effect – If you look at the history of pastel painters, you will see that most works are almost impressionistic.  That means the finished painting could just be a “suggestion” of an apple, a flower, a tree in the wind, or even a cat asleep by a fire.  You are ALLOWED to “smudge” and “fist” your painting to achieve what you want the viewer to see!  This is what we call the Painterly Effect!

If you look closely at most of our finished paintings, you will see that the limbs of the trees are squiggly and rough.  The mug of chocolate is not exactly straight and the hole for your fingers on the cup may be a bit lop-sided!  That is ok! More on Painterly Effect.

Skumbling – “Skumble” is a funny word. It is a made-up word for the way an artist can add texture to a picture. In our video we share how we turned our brown pastel on its side and very lightly and carefully brushed it across the sand color to show the grainy texture of the sandy beach. More on skumbling.