June 24, 2011

Nupastels are all kinds of messy fun

Today has been quite hot here in Madrid, so instead of going to the painting table to work on watercolours I decided to relax a bit at the balcony and doodle a bit, somehow it looked like the perfect chance to try the Nupastels at last so instead of the sketchbook and pencil I've grabbed a box with some of them, a paper and an old cotton rag, and started doodling just for fun.

Can you tell I have mummies in my mind lately? ignore the weird look and unfinished look, this quick sketch has served 2 purposes: one has been overcoming the dead end I was trapped at with my concept doodles getting me closer to the body structure I was looking for (some times going back to basics is the best to take a turn and get into the right way), and second letting me learn some things about nupastels:

-They are surprisingly soft for a pastel that is called "hard" but it's indeed harder than the usual pastels, added to their thin and squared shape they allow a great control, I like that :)

-It is true that there's only an amount of pastel the paper will take but I find it easier to control the amount of pigment you use, they are very versatile, you can go from superwide strokes to thin lines made with a corner without effort, from soft touch to intense color, in just one stroke, this makes really easy to not overwork it and even let the grain of the paper show through for as long as you want to.

- They don't feel like chalk at all!

-They blend so easily and yet it's easy too to cleanly cover a previous color with a new one as if the other wasn't there, I guess that could not be so if the area were quite overworked already but I didn't get to that extent, in my mummy I found no trouble putting a clean soft pink over a couple of layers of deep gray and dark blue.

-Dust, this is the thing that you won't get rid of no matter how hard the pastel is, but that's the great thing about using them out of the house, you can just blow it away and let the wind do the rest :)

Now that I've made one test I want to try some more things with them, one is try them on a paper without grain (nupastels have beaten the panpastels without mercy this time but no grain maybe provide a more balanced battleground) but the most important one is trying different ways of lifting it so you won't get to overwork the paper unless you go too far, not knowing too much about working with pastels I want to try to lift them with some kind of brush, smudging with a cloth will get rid of some of the pigment but will mostly blend and smudge it into the paper texture (already tried that today), but maybe the bristles of a brush get more pastel off the paper, also I want to try using masking tape, the pigment should stick to it and be completely lifted right? so my bet right now is:

cloth: more blending than lifting
brush: more lifting than blending
tape: no blending at all and some lifting

I can't wait to try this theory :). So...what else can I try? sugestions? have you done any experimenting with these?

Oh, and now that the mummy is done I'm looking at the pastel fixative spray bottle in disbelief, there's no way any fixative can really seal this, is there? nah!


RH Carpenter said...

Me gusta, Teresa! Como se dice "mummy" en Espanol? ha ha

Sadami said...

Hi, Teresa,
The work is very interesting. I've never tried any pastel for drawing. Thank you for the precious info on nupastels. Enjoy them fully.
Cheers, Sadami

Teresa Palomar Lois said...

aaaaaah your first full comment in spanish here Rhonda!!! superexciting!!!!!! Shall I answer in spanish too? YES - se dice "momia" o a veces en mi caso "mooooomiaaaaa" pero solo si estoy haciendo el tonto jajajaja!!!

Sadami pastels are nice for a quick sketch from time to time, I've never used them for elaborated pieces because I like watercolour better and if I'm feeling like using a dry medium colored pencils aren't messy at all and let me go anal at detail, but I must admit pastels loosen you up and are gorgeous and fun to use, if you have the chance to get your hands on some try them, being as fast at painting as you are you'll sure enjoy them, but beware of the dust! ^__^

Ann Buckner said...

I think you need to illustrate children's books. The mummy is adorable (if mummies can be lol).

Teresa Palomar Lois said...

working on it Ann, well, working on something ;) right now the mummy loves you so much because you called him adorable

Crystal Cook said...

I love this mummy!! He (or she) is adorable. :) What a fun children's book that would be.

I have been dying to try some nupastels but just haven't made the time, but now I think I will.

Teresa Palomar Lois said...

Try them asap Crystal! I think they'll suit your way of painting perfectly

Sharon Whitley said...

I dabble a bit sometimes in pastels but have not tried nupastels though I have heard good things about them - can't get them in the uk apparently though!

Teresa Palomar Lois said...

Yeah, I added some to one of my orders to the states but haven't found them in Europe at all, there are other brands here that also manufacture hard pastel sticks but I don't know if they will be similar or not.