Drawing colorful birds with soft pastels for beginners | Ekaterina B | Skillshare

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Drawing colorful birds with soft pastels for beginners

teacher avatar Ekaterina B

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The sketch

    • 3. Adding the darks

    • 4. Working on the background

    • 5. Adding color

    • 6. Bringing back the lines

    • 7. Adding details

    • 8. Finishing touches

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About This Class


In this class we will be drawing a pair of parrots using soft pastels. 

I designed this class for beginners and I will be taking  you on an exciting journey of working with this amazing medium. I fell in love with soft pastels first time I tried them and I hope you will feel the same after drawing with me.

I am a self-taught artist and I know the struggles of any beginner. I only teach what I find helpful/useful  to me. My methods are very easy to understand and replicate. 

Be happy and draw with me:)



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Ekaterina B


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1. Introduction: Hello darlings. So for today's class, I invite you to join me in drawing these colorful birds. So I just feel like blames them bright colors. I don't plan to make the drawing very detailed. I just wanted to be vibrant and bright. So I have prepared a few reference photos and will give us a starting point for a sketch. So they are attached to the class. So you can even choose to draw a one bird, maybe like this or this. So if you decide to draw one bird, you can position your paper this way and choose to draw the apparent in this direction, or you can just follow me. I'd prefer to sketch already. You can download it. It's a touch to the close as well. So you can just copy it on your paper or create your own however you want to do it. They just saves you time and you just can skip to the lesson. Adding darks, The second lesson of the sketch. For this Gloss, I'm using this paper. It's called midtown touch. It has rough surface. This is the color for this drawing. If you don't have this paper you can use for exemple this. Don't dam Strathmore sketch paper or use it for sketching. It's very, very good paper. I love it. And I recommend this color because it will allow the birds to a brighter would have great paper too. But I think it's a little too cool and it will turn down the brightness. And I don't wanna do for this project. So hopefully have some pastels already. I have rebrand pastels, I have charged pastels, the ones that have a square shape. And you will see me using this particular pastels. The lesson, I think they give me more control, especially when you are a beginner, you want to have more control. But this pastels will look best if you're drawing either on this kind of paper that has a rough surface or it seemed that paper like this. This paper was made by new art. I recommend using art paper and don't just Home Depot type of sandpaper. It's very good for practicing, but it might not hold the colors on it as well for a long periods of time. So you will need still a few costal pencils. Charcoal Council's eraser. And let's begin with our sketch. Okay. 2. The sketch: Hello everybody. So today we're going to draw beautiful, colorful parents. So I'm beginning to draw with a vine charcoal in. I'm just outlining the space which I'm going to use for my drawing. It helps me to see the angles and the sizes. Kinda limits the space and makes it easier for me to assess how correct I am in my measurements. So I know I'm just looking at my reference photo which is kind of blurry. It's not a very good quality, but I didn't want a good quality photo because I'm not planning to draw anything realistic. I want to create a beautiful impression of what I see is, So it's just splash of colours with some lines. It's going to be easy and fun. So just outlining a shape of the outside of the birds of their bodies. And I'm just creating nose shape. And then within this shape, I'm sketching simple shapes that I see within those bodies. So I see rectangle, a little more complex shape as a head because there's a beak, they're placing the wings. And again, I am not trying to be very precise. I'm doing the best that I can, but I'm not too worried about the precision right now. Because we are going to pretty much cover all those lines. We just need some guidelines to start our background. But otherwise, I just need kind of an idea of where they're going to grow in the end. That's why they look like this kind of weird, like too little robots. So just follow along, do the best you can. And we're just going to have some fun here with scholars. Again, those details are not really important, but I place them to kind of get in touch with the feeling of the drawing. And I'm done with this sketch. 3. Adding the darks: If you've done some joins with me before, then you know that the next step for me off to sketching is placing my darks covering the darkest areas in my drawing. So I'm just squinting my eyes, looking at the reference photo and trying to figure out where the darkest areas are. And I'm using my vine charcoal to cover those areas. I see some darkness also in the background, or I'd behind the stick that their signal in its pretty simple drawing. So not a lot of spots on it when go in for something that is not really very dark, but well, we'll see. And I'm smudge it a little bit with my fingers. 4. Working on the background: Now we go into prepare the background. I'm using very bright green behind the bards in. I'm not going to be following exactly what I seen the reference photo. I might give them change the colors and I'm placing on the background right now, I'm using the sight of my stick Bastille. And I'm just rubbing it pretty hard on this paper because this Council on touch paper, it's kinda like sandpaper. It takes a little pressure to put this pastel on paper. The way I want it to be. I don't want to completely cover the paper. I still want to cease paper shining through the pastels, but I still want to see the brightness of the colors that I'm choosing. Because I really want to make this drawing very, very colorful and very, very bright. You can see I'm wearing a glove and it's just kinda experiment. And to tell you the truth, I didn't not like how it felt. It was hard to clean it when I had to smuggle my pastels together. So I took it off. But here I'm still using it to place the initial colors on the background. And it's always an experiment for me. I do not know how it will turn out. I don't know what know what colors I'm going to use. I like it to be real, authentic and do organic process. So pastels are perfect for that because I can cover them easily. I can erase them. You know, it's a lot of fun because my paper is laying flat. Pastels leave a lot of dust behind, so I have to blow it off. Now I'm smudging. I'm starting with a darker areas in the gloves are not helping me just watch it very well. But I'm still sticking with them. It would be helpful to find something to help keep the fingers from drying too fast on I use pastels, but it's not a big price to pay. So I love the feel of the paper and then how physical this processes. So Linphone, initially the gloves, they work pretty well on other surfaces like Bastille map. I enjoyed using gloves there. This paper is a little rougher. And I'm not worried about contaminating the colors, making them brown because it's just the first layer of the background. Smudging everything evenly as much as our kin. And adding a little more ink on top because I wanted to be bright, as bright as a cam. Although I don't want the background to overwhelm them drawing, I want the birds to be the brightest spot. So I do remember that. Now like contrasts in my drawings. So I'm putting the lighter color right next to the beaks of the birds, which are going to be pretty much black. 5. Adding color: So usually this stage would be bringing my sketch Bach using my charcoal carbon, carbon sketch pencil. But I decided to take a different route and experiment and first, cover my whole drawing with soft pastels before I bring the sketch backs. So I decided to cover pretty much all my black lines where the colors I'm going to use for the birds. So it's something I haven't done before. And I wanted to see if it would work. And it was fun. This way. I don't have to be careful of when I'm smudging everything together. Because if I place my lines first and then covered him with the color, when I blend everything together, I will again erase the lines and decided to just skip that and bring the lines back off term dawn with the under painting. So at this point, using one of my round soft pastels, which are softer than Bastille sticks that I was using earlier. Those are harder soft pastels because I needed a brighter color and I didn't have anything bright in my stick pastels. So the square stick pastels. So grab DO very bright orange or red color. From my other sets. I do like this Richardson brand logged. They work for me great. The assault to the blend well, and they are very rich pigments. Moving on to the blue, which is my favorite color on this drawing. I wanted to find the brightest below, or if you're using different color paper, different type of paper, just feel free to play with different colors as well. They all will look different on different surfaces. With me, it's always an experiment. I never know where I'm going to go with it. Even though it's not going to be over a very realistic drawing, I still want to show depth in wings. That's why I'm using a darker blue. I'm using a reference photo as guidelines for placing the colors, but it's something that's done pretty flexible as I took my glove because I needed to work on smaller areas and glove was not allowing me to do that. And also it was dirty By now. You can see when I'm blending below are next to yellow and orange turns green. And I didn't mind it one little bit because it just adds more interest, more colors, more colorful colors on the birds. And they all go together. So it was fine. I do not want any white spots between the parts of the body, between the background and the bards. So I'm smudging numbers thing blending everything together. A want the piece to be united. I want you to look kinda harmonious note broken into pieces. I'm using light pink for the stickiness, sitting on. Adding highlights to the wings with a very light bright blue color and smudging together. This is a very pleasant paper to work with. The first layers are not that easy to move, but the second and the layers off to that are just pleasure to work with. 6. Bringing back the lines: Now I'm going to bring out the lines back or place them on top of my under painting. So I'm going to use my carbons sketch pencil. I'm going to look very closely on my reference photo and bring the outlines of the main parts of the bodies. I am using the lines creatively. I do not just draw even lines everywhere like a maybe a car Tunis stored. In some areas I press harder and so many areas of parenths lighter. If it's an area where there's shadow, I will press harder, make the lines thicker. If it's the highlighted area. Will just either press very lightly or avoid drawing a line at all. So I'm going to speed this up because it's not really important that you can do it yourself. Just outline the bird. Very easy. For 1% return in each group. We can use the information. 7. Adding details: I'm smudging some lines in some areas because again, drawing look united with the background. I don't want the board stake out too much. I wanted them to belong on the background. Erasing the area that I prepared myself in the beginning. Just checking my background looks organic and nice to smudging the areas that don't look too unified between the colors. And at this point, we're just fine tuning everything. We making it as detailed as we want to. I want to give birds more depth. So I am bringing the highlights back because it got much a little forgot to color the beaks. So I'm using black pastel stick and then blue on top of it because I don't want it to look black because the beaks are shiny and there will reflect whatever's around, don't. So I chose blue. That's my round pastel. Bright orange. It looks absolutely gorgeous next to blue. And this point I see that I would look a little more red in the drawing. So I met in red to the background. First did an experiment and I kinda like it. So I balance it with another red spots on the right even though my reference photo doesn't have read there. But again, it's my decision, my call brown to create some depth and the bottom part of the bird, because they have a shadow area there. Using side of my stick to create lines on the day sitting on smudging and a little bit, not everywhere because the wood will have some sharp edges and some soft edges. So I want the combination of both. So a little bit of pink. Pink goes really well with this colors I have there, using pink on their eyes. And I noticed that this serial on the wing of a bird should be brighter or lighter. Smudging everywhere a little bit. And I don't mind. The smudges will go over. The background. Just gives interest in wire drawing. Putting dots for the eyes with a black pastel pencil. Which didn't do very well until both the layer of soft pastel. So I'm using carbon sketch for that. Love my carbon sketch. I'm fixing the bake using negative space underneath it. It in bright green on top of the head. The Burge already look great. I notice that I haven't done anything with their feet get no. So remember we can use darker pencil on top of brighter pastels too. Add darkness. So that's what I did. Because the background has to look more realistic. I noticed that I had purple on top of the steak, but not under this tick and that doesn't make any sense. Why would it stop us? So I added some purple underneath a stick. This way. Brought the stick closer to us and looks better this way. The wing on the right didn't look finished story a little more blue there. Fixing any mistakes I made in drawing the birds using negative space around them. Just point, I wanted to see if I wanted some lighter areas on the bug grown. Bouquets. Effect when everything's blurry. Something to try. Now I switch to pastel pencil made by a current does. That's a gorgeous blue color. In those pencils are amazing. You can use them on top of soft pastels. It's just mind-blowing. That's how reached the pigment in them is. Because I'm working on smaller areas now are named using pastel pencils. And again, it's all just for fun. So I'm trying different colors. You can try your own colors. Going kinda where the gut feeling for doesn't work. I can always fix it later. 8. Finishing touches: So we're pretty much done at this point. I just wanted to blend the ground little more and see if there any thing that I want to fix. You might be already done with your drawing so you don't have to follow me. You can watch what I'm doing, but it's chronic bands on what pastels you're using, what paper you use, and what color paper you're half. So and what do you trying to achieve here? Just wanted to create a very bright colorful painting that is not very realistic. It's kinda stylized drawing of two birds. But maybe you had a different goals. So I don't know what state you're on. You might be already done. I just wanted to add likeness to the area in round their faces right next to the beaks to bring the beaks forward. Also, I wanted to add some green areas in the background as if thermoelectric trees there. So I'm being very careful there because I do not want to create any muddy areas that are brown and ugly. But that didn't happen. Thankfully. Because green next to read could create ugly brown. But it didn't. And I like lines. So I'm using a pastel pencil to see if I can add some lines there, will just black lines. This is a little lighter color, lighter purple. So place lines on the purple already have, creates interesting effect. But at least I think so. But you might disagree, you know, you can try and if you don't like it, you can smudge it. A little bit of it. Otherwise, I leave those lines there. This is white chalk pencil in it didn't really help me with a white reflection on the beaks. I'm using it but it's not giving me very bright white. I wanted to make their eyes blue. Outline on with my black pencil. This is a grey pastel because I felt I won't just go to straight to white. I'll start with a little gray and see how bright it will be for me. Everybody always say don't knock US blight. Well, I like white. I do use it. But it doesn't hurt to try other ways. Before again, I'll go straight to white ones. Once again, current does pastel pencils are amazing, local, bright. That dread is. At this point everything you do is personal preference. And just stating definition to the bodies. I don't need to. But I want to see how far I can go with that. The more lines are, have, the more interest. I add to my drawing. That's how I look at it. There is a bright spot on the chest of this bird, and I'm using pastel pencil, biker and Dutch. And look how vibrant it looks. I mean, even though it's on top of other pastels. So you would think they would get mixed? Nope. Stays yellow for me. Just amazing Oil. Absolutely loved current does postal pencils and papers just great for this type of drawing. It's not very good for very realistic dorms, but this time it's amazing. It's so easy to work with highlights with my yellow pencil. And now it's my white going over the lines that I tried to place before with other whites, but it didn't look very wide. I'm using its sparsely Justin some strategic areas. This is kinda dusty rose color to it, some interest to my purpose. And I think I'm ready to sign it. Finishing touches. Just don't own instinct. I wanted to use light pink next to purple and I loved it. When I was lying. I wasn't ready to sign it yet. I'm still working on the eyes. I want them to look more realistic. Eyes are kind of important. And now I'm signing it. Blue was in dark enough, so I'm using black ball up.