How to paint portrait with pastel

Jin Wook Nam
(Singer, Producer and korean Composer)
 Visit his website: Noble Soundz Music Company

To learn how to paint with pastels need not necessarily be a professional in design, because you can use the technique of tracing (is a copy of an image at a certain paper (parchment paper) in order to play it back later at another location) and sketching the design. But for those who already know how to draw, drawing mainly face can go straight on paper and sketch any design gently and then start painting pastels.

Usually most of the artist choose to paint portraits or animals in pastel, but you can use it to paint anything, such as: landscapes, still life and so on.

But before you start the demo técninca is important to mention that some items needed for this activity

1 - Choose the appropriate materials and paper suitable for pastel painting. Here is a basic list of materials for this type of painting.

There are many good brands of pastel, but this kind of artistic material is a bit expensive, so everything will depend on how much you can afford to take your case. Here are a few pictures for those who never saw that chalk to paint and they are the ones I usually use.

Some colors, you need because if you do not have the kit, you can buy in bulk.

For more precise contours ideally using the pencil crayon.

  • A good fixative for pastel, here are some examples:

  • A sheet of paper with a weight of 200 or more.

If you want a soft pastel painting, then a 200gr paper is enough. But remember, the surface should be able to retain the color pigments, goes like your painting will have more durability. There are colored papers (Mi-teintes) that gives wonderful effects when applying the pastel. Watercolor papers are also welcome, have a texture that facilitates adherence of pastels. Anyway, you can use a good fixative to give the final touch to work and avoid the loss of pigment over time.

These are some papers I use for my paintings in pastel, graphite, colored pencils and even oil paint.

Well now that you already have all your material suitable for pastel painting. You need to organize your workspace. It need not be a huge space, but that has good lighting and nice to you, where you can really concentrate and focus on his painting.

Choose the picture and make a smooth outline with a pencil so you do not check the paper and do not stand under the pastel. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, for those who can not draw but would like to paint, the easiest way would the decal, you enlarge the picture and put the parchment paper on top and copy only the contours of the face, eyes and so on. Then on the back of the parchment paper using a soft graphite or charcoal and make again contouring, this is done, place on top of paper that will be applied to own pastel and pencil, but using the other end, go through the draft, do not use the pencil leave the paper because it marked the pastel and when to apply these mark will be in evidence and the work will be bad.

  • Model - choose a good image, that you can clearly see the face caracteríticas accurately. And if an order, suggest to your customer send you pictures that way, if it is not, I suggest that you shoot the ... sometimes have to do it. :-)
This is Jin Wook Nam. He is a  singer, composer and korean producer.

P.S.1: Each skin pigmentation as whites, Indians, blacks, mulattos, Asians and so on, requires different shades to get closer to their skin tone. In addition, for example, skin tone of a child is different skin tone of an adult who is different from the skin tone of an elder, always be aware of the breed and its characteristics.

P.S,2: The human skin, especially on the face, this consists of various shades, sometimes up to six different shades to achieve the realism that you want to play in his painting. Recalling also that the colors of the environment as wall, window and everything next to the model influences on skin color, because they reflect the same.

Starting to Paint

  •      Step 1

For the basis of skin, you can scrape the pastel Light Tan leaving him for dust. Do not overdo it by scraping in large quantities. Scrape little by little.

Then use a paper towel to cover the entire facial skin of the neck, ears and so on.

  • Step 2
White with pastel you have marked the points of light on the face to start the processes for volume and sombremaneto face.

 Then fades trying hamornizar the two colors, you can continue with the paper or start using your finger. For the paper and cut a piece of cake and not with your finger.

With the light pastel orange, paint the darker areas seen in the model and then starve with just your fingers.

Do this on all the face, mixing pastel colors with Flash and Light Tan again. And always starving with your fingers.

For darker shades you can mistruras Earth colors like brown and Light Tan. The light ocher base color is always present in the process of balancing the painting stronger tones.

That done, we changed the chalk pastel pencils, which helps in accurate and fine features of the eyes, the nasal cavity, mouth, eyebrows and so on.

If you prefer you can still continue using your finger to blur each time adding more pastel, always keeping the paint smooth. but to corners of the eyes, beyond the finger, you can use the contonete, but only in the first complications of pastel

Return to enhance the white light reflected on the face. Paint and diluting the finger every time they needed to reach a natural skin tone but according to the skin tone of the model.

From now on, you only need to add color, blur when using chalk, making retouching with pastel pencils.

IMPORTANT TIP: Avoid blowing your painting  not to blur it. Lift up your paper and gently shake it or hit the paper so that the dust falls. Never run your hand in the dust that remained on paper because it can blur your painting.

The pastel painting is very delicate and time consuming, you must have patience to do it.

During the process of improving the tone, to facilitate the application of pastel, you can scrape it on a flat base and clean as a plate or the table itself, the colors that you need and just touch your finger the color you choose and get the right painting for only blur.

After the face to perfect as well, making tweaks and more tweaks, softened a few lines before that are striking, as the line of the nose, eyes on inside, and always the points of light that exit in the face like the cheeks, lips and so on.

The male face usually has a bluish or grayish skin on the chin, mandibola and fluff, the color you should use these regions to clear skin, I suggest using pastel Bluish Grey.

  • Step 3
Now let's dedicate ourselves to the hair.

In this case, the level of difficulty I would say, easy as it is a smooth hair, with strands of bright light and the concentration at the top of the head, where there are more wires clarod than in the rest of the hair.

Contour and some wires with pastel pencil, then use the chalk to paint only the dark, interspersed with colors similar to the actual colors of the model's hair in this painting were used Earth brown, Light Tan and Yellow Cadmiun. After diluting the fingers.

You will need to touch up a few times the same colors, so do it slowly, and fades away soon after.

Done this before you complete all the hair will paint the background and some clothing, but if you want to keep the background without color, just complete the following for the hair and shirt.

When painting the background is where your creativity comes in, you can do it the way you think best, that will harmonize with the picture ... this can be only one color, as can be with other colors.

When you complete the smoky background and shirt, returns to the hair and give the final finish.

Make a series of risks, with two or three colors, the same as you used to paint the base of the hair.

In finishing, it is not necessary to blur, perhaps a wire or other need to be gently smoky, but most of the hair, it will not.

Finally finish the outfit. After completing the details of clothing, ideally you rest your eyes, that is, take some rest, to have a new look to your paint and watch it do not really need to do some more improvement, how to retouch the background, eyes, hair, skin tone and so on.

That done, you can consider your table is ready and just sign.

Good Luck!!!! :-)


  1. Wow nice instruction I'm so excited to do it, thanks for this guidelines regarding onpastel portrait drawing. Thank you so much!

    1. thank you so much and thanks for share this other website. :)

  2. Do we really need the hard pastels?

  3. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!