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Tips & Techniques

If you have any useful tips and techniques about pastels please email us at

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Perspective is the “trick” of illusion of depth.
To make the illusion of a road fading into the horizon try this. The front (nearest to you) is wider and the end at the horizon disappears into a dot if you go far enough. This is called one point perspective. You need to place your stroke going horizontally. This lays the road down flat. Vary the browns used. Maybe even add a bit of grass blades going down the center. Front is brighter colors and focused while background is softer or less focused. Remeber, an object can not be the same color if its next to you and fifty feet away. It will be greyer/bluer, and a lighter value the further away it gets. For more details and techniques on perspective, you could try the book Perspective Without Pain as # G70108-1001 at $19.99. Click here or visit

Upside down painting technique.
Below is a series of images by Frank Federico. Frank often uses this technique of painting upside down, he finds it helps to stop thinking about objects as objects and helps you to quote Cluade Monet to think “here is a square of blue, here is an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it as it looks to you, the exact color and shape..

Frank’s Beach Scene Demo

Original reference and sketch
In this demonstration Frank starts the painting upsidedown (left column) to help simplify shapes. The last painting shows the image right side up.

  • Starting by turning the reference upside down he starts out with a sketch.
  • Frank uses a combination of red, black and blue gouache to identify the large areas of medium to dark values.
  • Starts to add pastel
  • Frank continues the pastel and works into areas with a wet brush to further establish values
  • Further refines forms and deepens values