Pastel Drawing Part 1

So I’ve decided to do some pastel drawing. I’m kind of thinking of finishing this to submit for a contest, but I’m not sure yet. I also have a space in our staircase that could use something to spruce it up, so I”ll probably end up putting it there.


I’m going to use this photo that I took in the fall in Central Park a few years… I think it was October. I remember the day was overcast, a bit on the cool side, but not terrible. The trees all looked amazing. If you go over to you can see a few other images I took that same day.

I want to make this seem much more desolate. Though it’s beautiful as is, I want there to be a very quiet, lonely feel. I’ll be eliminating a few things to open things up; the wire fence around the gate, the second lamppost by the tree on the left (I prefer the lone lamp and may even make it look like the light is on), I will also remove the people and probably the water fountain in the break between the benches. I also want to expand the color palette in the leaves and add some reds.


I’ve now placed lines on the image to show where the eye looks naturally. The light blue lines break up the image into thirds both vertically & horizontally. This is “The Golden Rule” or “The Rule of Thirds”. Our eye is naturally drawn to the areas where the lines cross (white circles). If you have an iPhone you can actually turn this feature on and use it to make your photos more interesting. If you research famous paintings and photos you’ll notice that the artist has used this method to draw your eye to important things in the image. I’ve also put a blue cross in the image to show if any diagonals are causing anything to stand out… which is not a bad thing. There is a nice diagonal leading from the lamp in the front to the square I’ve drawn so adding something there would be a good idea. Maybe a person sitting, huddled? Maybe a briefcase?

A few words on materials. I don’t believe that materials make the artist, BUT I believe that if you use bad materials, your piece will suffer. I love to draw on Canso MiTientes paper. The surface and colors are very nice. I have something that fits in with the color palette I’ll be using. I use a combination of Grumbacher pastels and various pastel pencils (Faber Castell, Derwent). I prefer Derwent drawing pencils and have the entire range of soft and hard as well as an Ebony pencil and graphite sticks for sketching and pencil drawing.

So let’s get started… I’ve given myself and inch leeway all the way around so I can bleed the drawing. A blank page can be daunting to some, I find it inviting.


I’ve quickly laid out the the main objects using a 7H pencil… this takes about 10 mins.


Then I use an H pencil to block out the darker areas… a little over 15 mins.


In part 2 I’ll show how I block out the areas in color.


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