Expert Advice On How To Blend Soft Pastels

about 6 years ago
product By Monika Shrivastav

Pastel coloring techniques can be tough to grasp for beginners and newbies. People often wonder "how to blend soft pastels?" While pastel colors are the smoothest and the most spreadable colors to work with, they can also get all smudgy and oily around the edges and corners of your artwork and give you a troublesome time.

If you intend to learn the art of pastel coloring and grow your prowess and skills in the domain, you might want to take a course in pastel techniques for beginners or learn the basics of pastel drawing for beginners yourself. You can do this through online tutorials and of course, the age-old miracle of practice.

There are many soft pastel techniques that take years to master. You could gauge the hard work that goes into learning them by going through the works of professional artists exhibited across any pastel drawing gallery online. There are many e-stores and sites online like ShowFlipper that host and let you sell pastel drawing online.

If you are a serious aspirant for pursuing the art form, you can browse through any one of these sites and have a look for yourself into what it takes to create a masterpiece of a pastel color art, and how much effort goes into it.

If you skim through some of these pieces at sites like ShowFlipper, it might be very clear to you that apart from drawing and coloring, blending is a vital part of the art of pastel coloring. While smudging at unwanted places can be a cause of distress and trouble for an artist, the same property of the oil pastels can be very effectively leveraged to make the color spread in all the right places and in the right directions.

A nice, smooth blending can enhance the whole look and appeal of your artwork manifold.

Tips on How To Blend Soft Pastels Easily

Use Your Fingers

You must have tried your hands in coloring and drawing even as a kid. What did you use back then to merge and blend colors? Your fingers, right? Yes, that is an impulsive instinct. And really there is no harm in continuing this blending technique into your adulthood.

Using your fingers lets you feel the color yourself and you can rely more on your sense of touch to get an idea of how much more of the work is remaining.

The work is simple, just apply a dash of color in the area of the artwork that you want to color. Try to even out your strokes by dashing your color chalk in the same direction with each stroke. This, however, will depend on the kind of look you want to give your shape. If it’s meant to be rugged looking, you might go for random haphazard strokes.

Now that you have almost filled the shape you are coloring, just use your fingers to gently rub the color off. Since the pastels contain traces of oil, they smudge very smoothly to occupy all the space that you might want them to take. You can keep blending the colors until you get the perfect texture and look. You can also blend two or more colors together to create a new color or to just add a gradient effect.

One advantage of using your fingers is that you always know which direction to stroke the colors in. It comes as an instinct to the artist.

Use Your Imagination When Blending

The blending of oil pastel colors on paper takes a lot of thought and a practiced finesse in skills.

You should be aware of all the permitted and restricted colour combinations, should be able to imagine and think with an aesthetic approach to come up with the perfect gradient, combination, and composition of colours, as well as, the physical blending techniques that are actually required to bring your imagination out in reality, on to a piece of parchment or paper.

  • So how do you go about learning all of this stuff?
  • How do you develop and aesthetically inspired bent of mind?

There is no sure shot way to do it except that you will have to pan out your imagination. Try new things, see if they work, improvise them if they do, and discard things that don’t. This is how you will actually know how to blend soft pastels.

With time, patience, and practice, all of the artist’s instinct will be drilled into you sooner than later. But there are definitely some things you can learn quickly yourself and the blending techniques are one of those basic things. It is a simple act of just rubbing the colors on to the surface to get an even, smooth look and finish.

There are myriad professional tools available in the market, too that you could check out.

Look for Professional Tools

Using your fingers too much might lead to rubbing them raw. And you don’t want to do that. Also, if you have a color already on your fingers, it might get mixed with the newer colors that you might use.

One way to avoid that is to use finger cots. Not only do they keep your fingers safe, but also help in keeping them clean. You just need to use different cots with different colors and you will be fine. There are other blending tools like pastel shapers and brushes available in the market, in case you want to be working in smaller, finer regions that your fingers are too large for. These shapers have a fine rubber blender at their tip that lets you blend colors in. You can also be using a cloth, a chamois, or kneaded rubber to blend pastels.


So, that really is pretty much it. How about you do some blending yourself and see how it works out? Grab some papers and pastel chalks and get going. All the best!

Go on, give it a try...

For help on how to blend soft pastels, you will find numerous beautiful videos on the internet where creators just like you have uploaded their videos on how to blend pastels.

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