How To Draw A Sunset In Chalk Pastels

In this art tutorial you will learn how to draw a sunset with a silhouetted landscape in colored chalk pastels in a step by step manner.

Onto the rough textured chalk paper the artist applies the cadmium yellow chalk using the side of the stick to the top of the paper  working his way down the page for about 3-4 inches. A slightly lighter colored lemon yellow chalk is then used directly beneath and the process is repeated right down to the bottom of the paper. Even though this is a very loose initial stage in the chalk drawing you can already see the two yellows merging together well to form the basis of your sunset.

Using the cadmium yellow again spend around 5 seconds sporadically placing the color on top of the lemon yellow chalk. This creates a more organic and natural looking sunset rather than a complete grade down in tones which quite simply put wouldn’t happen in real life.

Then using his finger he smudges the chalks together to create a smooth transition between the colors. Using a salmon pink chalk he carefully selects areas using a horizontal linear application covering around two thirds of the paper. these areas are then smudged in to bind with the yellow chalks. If you don’t fancy using your finger to blend the colors together then as an alternative you can use a smooth sponge or some tissue paper to achieve the same effect.

You can add as many layers and different shades of color on your sunset so cater for your own artistic requirements and really explore the possibilities and range of colors which can be used.

The last step in this pastel tutorial is the introduction of the foreground which is drawn in a silhouette style as it would be in real life. It is a landscape which has an African feel to it so trees and loose shrubbery are introduced. A charcoal pencil is used for this stage to get the branch detailing. Because the charcoal pencil can be sharpened as many times as you like it makes this stage much easier than if you were to use a block pastel like the ones used in the sunset background. It is the techniques which you are trying to imitate here so be bold and adventurous and you can take on any composition you like.

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    1. Thank you bud!! It will keep your request for fur/ lion in mind. Let’s see when can I get to that. Aslo further to answer your question – yes, to start or to do rough practice you can always use regular scatch book paper for pastel also. But there will be always some difference in outcome. A patel paper is generally tonned paper having tooths, that helps pastel to make good impression on the paper. Anyway to start with, regular paper is not an issue. — happy drawing 🙂

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    2. Well, to keep yellow part, make sure that you do not put much red on it. Also while blending them together, make sure that red colors from other areas are not coming onto the yellow area. Also another reason could the paper. If the paper does not have much tooth, it will have lots of loose colors on the surface causing such issues. Give it another try carefully considering these facts and I am sure you will get it.

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    3. I think i will have another try, the main problem i think was both that i added a bit too much red and that the paper didn’t have enough tooth so it just made for a really red sunset. Thanks for the advice i’ll have to try out some different types of papers for using pastels.

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    4. Yes, it is possible. Method 1: Once one layer is completely dried, you can apply the next layer of color. Method 2: Apply one layer of color and then immediately apply another color on top while the earlier layer is still wet. Both will work but will give you different results. You have to experiment and see which one is needed for your subject.

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    5. I am using prismacolor nupastel (a set of 24) with strathmore pastel paper. I do not see any issue with Mungyo pastel. I am not sure which paper you are using as the paper plays a big role in painting. I would suggest to get some kind of pastel paper, they usually will have textured surface and that is what you need.

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    6. Thank you so much for responding to my message. I am using cartridge paper. Pastel sheets that I get here are thicker than cartridge sheets. uumm.. i guess they are as thick as the paper of a greeting card… I hope that’s the paper you’re talking about…

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    7. Yes, those will be thicker than usual printing paper. Also if you feel the surface of the paper using your hand, it will be textured, which means it will not be smooth like printing paper. It the paper has texture, it will be able to hold pastel color in place and you will get the effect you are looking for.

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