Coloring Backgrounds with Soft Pastels
Coloring Backgrounds with Soft Pastels


in the world of pastels we have basically there are soft pastels which is basically a chalky pastel which is pigment carried by a chalk basically i mean i’m not going to get into the technical mumbo jumbo about it all but it’s a chalky substance with a pigment in it these are way cheapo cheapo that I picked up at michaels it’s artist loft I think this set was less than five bucks for this and it came with this amazing leaflet with drawing techniques and everything inside so if you want to just get a really cheap set to play around with which is what i wanted to do and that’s what I did and then I was going through my craft supplies and I discovered I had this other set that we’re going to play around with because i think this is a little more expensive set and I i assume like all art supplies the more money you spend the higher the pigment and the better the quality so I thought we could if we have time we can play around with this and see if that it’s true now I’m these do get dirty and from what i read you can clean them by taking the stick and putting them in a container of like rice and then just shaking it and the rice sort of knocks off all the loose yucky other color chalk and it comes out clean and beautiful and I read that in like three different places by actual pastel artist so that wasn’t like some pinterest why is wife’s tell kind of thing this was like actual artist saying that so I think that’s true now there is also hard pastels which is the same sort of thing only not quite so soft so you can get more crisp lines and it’s not so soft and fluffy so they’re soft pastels hard pastels and then there are oil pastels which this is my son set Rylan that he’s been our co-host sometimes he got this set is by pentel from school and it’s a different creature all together so we’re not even going to play with this this is an oil-based product let me show you the difference here ok so the oil pastels they are you know really creamy there they feel sort of like crayon only way more creamy ok so if you want to do these techniques we’re going to play with don’t buy the oil pastels by the soft chalk pastels and I don’t even know if I’ve ever seen hard pastels I wonder if you’d have to go to like it art store versus a craft store to find the hard pastel or maybe I don’t even know what I’m looking for and I probably seen them and anyway so that soft pastels i’m going to put them totally out of the way so we don’t see them and this is versus you know this is the chalk and you can use the edges and get lines or you can see this is, i’m wondering if because it’s a lower end product that’s why we’re not getting such a great there we go you can use the sides and colorful areas and they make gorgeous paintings out of it now this of course was just plain copy paper with no tooth on it so that’s probably why it wasn’t catching it either and then they blend you do amazing things and like I said they’re really messy which is really fun and because it’s chalk it comes off really easy as opposed to the oil pastels which get everywhere and are really more difficult to clean off so I keep handy some wet wipes or so like a wet washcloth or something handy to clean your hands off with so you don’t get everything you touch covered in red or whatever color you’re working in as you go so that’s just a quick hint okay so then you need stuff to apply and mix and do cool things with it so I usually grab cheapo brushes that I don’t care about i’ll grab makeup applicators and and you know cotton swabs of different varieties then use your hands and just go for it so that’s really all I have there are actual tools for using pastels there are pan pastels that look like make up there in little discs there’s pastels in pencils so that you can hold them like a colored pencil and draw with them and sharpen them the whole thing so but this is what we’re going to play with and I need a knife this is a knife you guys have seen me use this before fancy little knife and i’ll need an eraser and we’re going to use some post-it notes and the next thing I wanted to show you is how important it is to have a paper that has a little bit of tooth so i have two pieces of white paper here this is just some standard card stock that I picked up at walmart just is just a normal store and then this is that my favorite card paper that i use that we talked about a lot here and we’ll just go ahead and have my husband share link to that we still haven’t done my video on it and it’s the springhill vellum bristol cover 80-pound letter paper that we pick up by the ream this is what I’ve been buying and of course like always i say make sure you check your printer to see if it can handle such a heavy pounded paper so my husband’s going to share the link to that and that’s at kelly paper .com that we’re buying that by the ream right now and it has just a nice little bit of tooth on it so it can grab your color pencil or in this case your pastel better so let’s see if thats true so here is the cardstock I’m gonna go on edge better there on the edge it works better and then here is our nicer paper definitely grabs onto it better that’s that too that’s why we like our tooth and grabs onto the product better ok so we proved my point there and once again covered in pastel so when we do our backgrounds and i usually for me I spent a lot of time on my coloring of the actual coloring page and then when it comes to the background I usually like to just have something soft and pretty to sort of highlights and bring the eye to the actual colored page when i use a colored pencil and especially if it’s prismacolor because it’s a wax-based product it’s going to repel the pastels because pastels are chalky and it just repels off the chalk you can just sort of dust it right off and so you can actually put the pastels right up next to it on top of it and it will just sort of fluff right off of it and it won’t affect the color so that’s pretty neat so i usually do the background last Plus once you’ve got all your coloring done you can kind of pick what that ground you want based on the color palette you’ve produced here and the feel you want to give on the background what I usually do is I use the little cosmetic rounds I think everybody’s pretty familiar with you could use other things if you want tissue cotton balls whatever you want to i think we’ll try some yellow well these fingernails ok and then i have this knife you can use any kind of knife I’ve seen the exacto knives used as well so whatever knife you you’ve got handy this one is one that my son said here mom use this cool knife and because this is such a low pigmented inexpensive pastel it takes quite a bit of chalk or soft pastel to get some background going so you want to experiment with whatever pastels you have or whatever you buy to see how much you need plus I would think the lighter the color probably the more pastel you’re going to have to put down to get a color that you want and of course you can always add more pastels are really great for layering up oh you’re hearing rose she’s digging over here on her pillow and then I usually take my cosmetic ground and I like either folded up or in half or whatever that way i can use one side for one color and one side for another color and then I’m you just sort of start going and I do sort of a twisting motion you can play around and try all kinds of different motions here and if you want to try streaks and create a wind feel or really you can try anything you want I mean this is art right you get to play and it kind of loads up into the cotton we hold it still so you can see it really fills all up into that cotton and you can just play around now and lay that pastel down and i love that you get sort of a model look it’s not it’s really soft and pretty and covers the area really fast way faster than if you were to sit down and try to do it with colored pencil which would come up with all kinds of streaks because you would never be able to cover this consistently especially marker anything it would have streaks and but this way you get such a pretty soft nice coverage now see how I’ve got yellow over here don’t worry about that because it actually will erase off let me show you that ok so when you put this down now be careful where you put it because we reach that it’s going to go find the yellow so I have a little dish here this is where I sharpen my pencils so I’m going to set it there and then i have this eraser that I’m going to use for erasing here and what I’m actually going to do is cut off the edge here to create a sharp I shouldn’t be doing this over my coloring page down here really careful and then that will create a nice sharp edge and then you can just erase away exactly where you didn’t want that yellow which is really cool i’ll bring it up closer so you can see what i’m talking about with the way it looks and Steve since i don’t have my preview over here tell me if it’s going into focus if I got it close enough and you can see how pretty the effect is how sort of some parts are lighter some parts are darker it’s really pretty see it ok he’s looking this delay is a little bit low so i’m just going to hold it here i just love the soft look of it ok so then that’s just like layer 1 and then you can add in you know if you wanted to a great way to do it, let me grab my color wheel okay brace yourself for a little color theory now remember we could go straight across and grab our complimentary color that we have learned about or a great way to do the backgrounds is to stay right next to where you are on the color wheels so anything directly next to and I should have learned what that’s called what if it says it on the back using colors that are adjacent to each other on the color way it’s called analogous analogous analogous analogous tell me if I’m saying that wrong everybody analogous so here we have yellow and anything straight adjacent to it is an analogous color combination so this is complimentary this would be analogous and so if we add a little yellow orange and yellow green now to this yellow we are using an analogous color combination so that’s what I’m going to do add a little yellow orange and maybe even a yellow green and see what that does to this so my color palette is a little limited but we’re going to go into the orange-ish yellow here and add that and see what that does and you can actually and i’m just going to do a little bits and I don’t want to overwhelm my yellow you that’s where you got that need colorful that color wheel came from Michael’s i think was only like two or three bucks and i use my coupon on it so forty percent off of two or three bucks so deal of the day and then yellow green color and then I also have a color a blank color wheel you can download it’s a free download on my website maybe Steve can go find that blog and put the link and you can actually build your own color wheel I’m just download that and print it and use your own color pencils and build your own color wheel and have it at home to refer to any time you want so we’re going to do these two added at the same time maybe a little green up here ok so I’m going to flip my pad over save my pad and this time instead of sort of you know spreading across the whole thing I kind of want to just go straight down and keep the colors where I laid them now this may or may not work and I’m gonna tell you why one reason is because the low pigment on this product the second reason is this is a toothy paper but not a super toothy paper if you go and check out in your art store the kind of paper they use for pastels it’s way more toothy than this paper tooth being the texture so i only have a certain amount of tooth to push this pigment down into so I’m not pushing hard or anything I’m just medium pressure and of course if you get areas where you’re like eww I really don’t like how that looks you can grab your eraser and erase it we’re just sort of experimenting together i just wanted to share with you guys my knowledge on this okay so of course when you start mixing colors you’re going to get the more colors you mix just like if you’re mixing watercolors the more muddy or brown your your colors are going to get so just be aware of that ok but i think that turned out really pretty we’ve got fluff which is one reason why I brought this big brush so I could brush away the fluff without smearing my hand across getting pastel across my whole hand ok so that’s kind of what i have been doing in the past a quick easy way to cover your entire background really fast and easy now if you have areas that you haven’t colored yet you can use your post-it notes is just enough of that really low-tack glue that you can lay these post-it notes down and cover areas that you don’t want your pastel to get onto and this trick is you can use this trick for a lot of things post-it notes are great for covering areas of masking out areas that you don’t want color to get onto if you’re ever using product that’s like the soft pastel is going to get everywhere so I have several pads of post-its that I just keep handy for masking out things if I’m ever getting into a messy product so that’s another handy trick have around our post it notes once you’re done with your background you need to seal in the pastel because it is going to forever be messy like this and it will forever liftoff so it’s pretty cool actually because you could leave it and walk away and say I don’t know if I like this and come back a week later and change it if you hate it because it is such a soft products not like marker it’s not going to soak down into your paper so you could actually come back and fix it later if you want to but if you’re done and you want to give it away or hang it up you have to fix that on or it will forever be delicate and will get wiped off and make a mess of whatever falls down on your couch and your couch is going to turn yellow so you have to fix it on so i have two from krylon here you can pick these up at walmart now of course Michaels hobby lobby your art stores every country has their own fixatives to those are krylon you want to buy well typically by Matt this is only eight dollars and then use your coupon so it’s cheaper than that and i think they’re even less expensive at walmart so it’s really inexpensive you can use them for color pencil pencils pastels chalks they these are great they also have the kind that art spray kind so if you have feelings about the aerosol cans you can get non-aerosol as well my favorite is the workable fixative hairspray is a pretty yeah I read that too and I’ve read that there are issues that may be like 20 years from now it will turn yellow the hairspray might turn yellow I’m gonna take a little time to prove that one out yeah so I don’t know I when I read that I went straight and bought the real stuff that’s all I know because the only time i use the workable fixative is on something that i’m going to be giving away or that I really care about and so I guess if you’re just playing around with it use your hairspray but if it’s something you care about or selling or something I think it’s worth putting your money in on a real artist quality product has been tested that’s my theory so and plus this isn’t that much money and it lasts forever you only you know you shake it up you go outside because it’s got all kinds of bad stuff for you and it’s flammable keep away from your friends family and neighbors and your pets go outside and you just spray a light coat and actually will because it’s a workable fixative it will actually leave a bit of a tooth on your paper and you can come back and do another layer so if you lay down some pastel and all of a sudden you’re feeling like none of the pastels gripping anymore pause go outside and hit with a layer of workable fixative wait for it to dry and away you go again because it’s going to lay down a fresh layer of tooth and you’re good to go so that’s what I would do and sometimes I even cheat and just do it inside because I sit in a very well ventilated room I would just really quick i think it says one or two coats i can’t remember dries in 10 to 15 minutes no not even that I mean it’s going to dry in like five minutes or less so this is a really cool little product lots of applications you can use it for thumbs up from me on the Krylon workable fixative that is my basic knowledge on pastels now we’re going to play ok another way to these oh wow this is a huge difference okay yeah i may need to invest in better pastels way softer maybe i would call these a hard pastel compared to this this is a very different experience much softer much messier look at that I don’t mind being messy though you guys know that I just don’t want to get blue everywhere just where I want it ok one of the ideas they said was to lay down a bold line like this we have done this before with the gel pens and then pull it away like this to create sort of a cool effect coming away from your art I like that and then they layered on another color on top of that the smaller cotton swabs the applicators would be great for getting the colors down into the smaller areas you could actually just take your cotton swabs rub into the pan pastel and then you would apply it like this into those smaller areas bring that up so you can see really fun that would be really neat if you wanted to create like a wind effect or something is I have a whole bunch of really neat stencils are and you can use stencils for this is this one and for use with pastels well there’s my coloring page that’s the most beautiful heart ever and we want to do a background around the heart I’m so we could mask off some of the heart if we wanted to show you how that works but you can also use your eraser but i’ll show you how the masking with the with our post-its can help i’ll just put part of it masked off and then this really fun i’m going to kind of look and say you know where do I want this pattern to show i want it to kind of peek partially off on the edge maybe line up a bit up here kinda like that about going to partially tape it to the table and to my coloring paper here and then we’re just going to sort of follow the same plan now you could take your pad and rub it on the stick or your pan pastel and then dab it on or use a stencil brush and do that same technique but i’m just going to do just like this and kind of control the flakes and keep them where I want them I love this part I think that’s why I decided to do it this way and something about this is very satisfied maybe it’s using the knife, i don’t know. i like the sound can you hear it under thinking here and they’re pretty too I’ve seen people use the laydown something sort of sticky too and then flake it down into the stickiness and this leave the flakes you’ve seen that too on your Pinterest stuff there’s a whole world of really neat stuff in the pastel artist world ok and then we’re just going to do it kind of being careful not to get it underneath the stencil and this will create a texture for our background you could apply this to gift cards you’re doing ok I could work and add more and make it more consistent if I wanted to but I’m actually liking sort of inconsistency because we’re going to add another layer here with another stencil save this tape for the next stencil remember if we get some on our coloring area we can always remove that with our eraser the capital and these stencils of course clean up really easy and you can even just take them to the sink and clean them up now we’ll grab another stencil to do a secondary texture on top how about some ivy ok let’s go ahead and use green you know we could use another sticky note right hi hi Carla that’ll help a little and maybe another one right here perfect ok block that leaf area out and let’s go again shall we ok i’m glad i added the dark green because that’s really pretty are we ready for the reveal around my really fancy heart i drew so when I saw this idea they would layer up several stencils they did like three or four different stencils and so you get this really neat deep layering effect and I saw them do it with like a forest background and they used leaf stencils which I have one in here right here so they use these and they would like lay the Leafs out and do a layer like light yellow leaves and in the pastel and then they did a layer of the darker leaf and darker and it got this really neat background of leafs in the background of a coloring page and then in the foreground it was like a woodland coloring page in the background was this a really cool effect with all these leaves so you can do some really neat things with stencils as well so break out your kids stencils and see what they’ve got ok we’re going to lift this off and see okay so can’t ignore this part take this off see how good that paper did to protect that and then if we erased off all of our bleed over that’s cool when I did that it kind of did a cool smear there gently blow to get the dust away there you can see how pretty and if we kept building it up you can keep building up more layers and we could smear it now if we wanted to we didn’t like how solid is we could have done a solid background like a yellow or something first and then did the red on top and the green ivy and you could oh man and you could also take your gel pens and come in and add details on to the leaves now it’s becoming its own coloring page in the background so you can do all kinds of stuff with the pastels so remember fixative at the end so that it doesn’t get everywhere or in between layers you can use your fixative because that will add a little tooth too so that when you do your next layer you have a fresh layer of tooth for your pastel to grip onto so remember this workable fixative is kind of an important part of this whole process and like I said this is available in a lot of places now so it shouldn’t be hard to find some sort of workable fixative wherever you live thanks for joining me for this fun pastel experimenting and i hope that this will help your art and give you something new to inspire you and and give you some new art play with so i like it i think pastels are really fun really messy but really fun we don’t mind the mess as long as it stays contained right so it was really fun thanks you guys you’re awesome bye-bye

38 thoughts on “Coloring Backgrounds with Soft Pastels”

  1. Dawn Reaume says:

    Very nice! Thank you for showing us how to do that! I didn't even think to use stencils it turned out beautiful!

  2. Ghislaine Portelance says:

    I also purchased that set at Michaels. For the use I make of it, which is like you, backgrounds only, and the price I paid for, I am very satisfied with them and I would recommand them to everyone. Thanks for sharing

  3. Dotty J says:

    Thank you so much, I am learning and loving everyone of them. Have a great day. 🙂

  4. Carmelle Lapointe says:

    I tried post it notes and they left spots on my color pages. Maybe left on for a few minutes may be ok;) Nice video. TY.

  5. Charlotte says:

    love the video. I now have to go buy some more art supplies lol.

  6. Patricia Folks says:

    Wow very nice, I really love the pastel background. Going have to give it try. LOL..every time I watch one of your videos I want to run out to the stores. I did get the paper with the tooth's and can really see the difference it makes when using the Prismacolor pencils. Glad I got that. Thanks

  7. Susan J says:

    Good video. Thanks. Is there a reason the video is a thin video with hazed edges? Is there any way to make it the full screen?

  8. Moon Child says:

    Where can I, get some of those beautiful stencils?

  9. Chara Choppel says:

    Now, what happens if you take the cottonpads, dotted in colors, and humidify it with water and paint around with it on a piece of paper?

  10. Chara Choppel says:

    Moist it with water, I mean.

  11. Di Monty says:

    Love the stencils with the pastels . Will have to play. Thanks for your time.

  12. Sally Thibodeaux says:

    Love this tutorial! I've been wanting to try pastels.😊

  13. Dani Neuenschwander says:

    Fantastic tutorial….thank you!!! Keep em comin'

  14. Patty Devoux says:

    I love the soft pastels. I have picked up sets for as little as two dollars and change. The are so much fun (Even with the mess). Thank you for showing using them with stencils. Your heart was beautiful.

  15. Erica Sendel says:

    Instead of using the knife you can actually take the applicator and rub it on the pastel/chalk and then color with it!

  16. Judy Ortiz says:

    I think you should let your viewers know that it's not a good idea to blow the pastels like this for health reasons.

  17. Angelsbear3 says:

    that's way to far away, It's way to hard to see what you're doing

  18. Cindy Knapper says:

    Another great video, Jennifer. Can hardly wait to incorporate pastels into my coloring and use them for my backgrounds. Thanks for the great tips! I always learn so much from you.

  19. sandy vaughan says:

    Where can I find your knife?

  20. sandy vaughan says:

    I just finished a coloring book where the back of the page has the story. Ive wanted for a long time to try to make a sun rise/set. I have the Derwent pastel pencils. On one of the fairy pages playing with firefly, I started at the top with a blue, the next was a pink and last a yellow. I just scribbled around her with the side of the pencils. I then took a Kleenex and rubbed all three colors sort of side to side into the paper so that the pink went into the blue and yellow, and the other two into the pink giving me a lovely sunset. Because there was great tooth on the paper, what wasn't in the paper, was on the the Kleenex, I did not spray it with a fixative. I rubbed my fingers across the paper before I made my decision…nothing came off.

  21. jillfarkas says:

    plz make the camera closer

  22. lisamr40 says:

    I know there are hard pastels called "nupastels," which are from Prismacolor I believe. I have them and they are more for drawing than filling in. I did purchase them from A.C. Moore and only grabbed them because they were on clearance for dirt cheap! Lol TFS! Great video!

  23. peg pearce says:

    Great video…..I've been needing ideas for backgrounds and I love this with the pastels! I have the same set that's been sitting collecting dust…lol. Time to dust it off:)

  24. jayteadesigns says:

    What is the brand of the other more expensive pastels that you use that are softer?

  25. RBdreamsART says:

    Will the fixatives help protect the lightfastness of colored pencils or keep the colors from fading over time?

  26. Angelsbear3 says:

    hated this it looked like you were miles away and It was really hard to see anything.

  27. Jenn Jenn says:

    Thank you so much! I was looking for a tutorial with pastels 🤗

  28. Bobby John Savage says:

    Hi Colouring Bliss Community, As a hairdresser I would not recommend hairspray as a fixative for your art work. Yes hairspray will work as a final layer especially hairspray from hairdresser not the supermarket. Most hairsprays are P.h.on the acid side due to hair being around 5.5-6.5 acidic P.h. I know that the paper should be acid free so I don’t know what effect of the hairspray might have over time and possible pigment changes. On another note using eyeshadows and blush in your colouring pages you are again using an acidic product due to skin being P.h. 4.5-5.5 so an even more acidic items. I can foresee archival issues. Of course it’s art so if you prefer or want to use hair and skin products in your work then go for it.

  29. Dennis Cook says:

    Google Hard pastels , they do have them.

  30. Meme Cottrill says:

    Thank you for the tips. I am new to pastels and this video will be a great help.

  31. Deborah Powell says:

    Have you tried the Panpastel products?

  32. Boo Peep says:

    Take A wet paint brush to the cheap hard pastels and you can use them almost like watercolor or pencil tip to tip technique. The color pay off is more intense than the soft rubbing and buffing. Its not a great quality product like a good set of watercolor or watercolor pencils but another way to get more Bang for your buck out of your supplies and a way to try new techniques with fewer supplies before you invest too much money on something you might not like.
    Just be sure to let your pastels dry out before you put the lid back on and store them away. I sure hope you try it I think you’ll be surprised.

  33. CHERYL PARR says:

    I know you did not claim to know much about pastels, but omg!!!
    You really do NOT know anything!!! LOL
    Soft Pastels Artist grade, have NO Chalk in them. They all use, different things some use clay…etc for a binder with the pigment.
    Most artist pastels cost $5-$8 Per stick. My first starter set of Snnelier's 30 Plein Air set cost me $180. There is NO chalk in them.
    Just thought I'd let you know! 🙂
    P.S
    FYI Pastelist, hate hearing the word chalky! 😉
    Nice video.!

  34. Alfiya Khan says:

    Thank you so much for making this video !!!! It was very helpful !!! I was wondering how to colour the backgrounds using soft pastel if we want to colour the image first with the wax based coloured pencils since wax based coloured pencils get tinted with the soft pastels.
    Thank you for the post it note tip as well. This is amazing !!!
    I think shooting the video in horizontal would be better for some viewers.
    Also is there anything else that can be used apart from cotton pads or cotton balls? Can a reusable piece of fabric be used?
    Could you please tell us how to make a glow effect?

  35. Jessi Hendricks says:

    What are your thoughts on prisma premier pastels?

  36. is_dfaith says:

    Hi, love your videos. Where did you get your stencils that you used in the video?

  37. BEADSAREME says:

    I agree , don’t like this narrow view. Thanks for the demo, this is why we watch because you always go into details, next time please so back to your regular screen. Luv all your video’s so informative.

  38. Kementiri says:

    Too far way and couldn't see anything clearly.

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