Easy Oil Pastel Flower Portrait | Rebecca Humphreys | Skillshare

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Easy Oil Pastel Flower Portrait

teacher avatar Rebecca Humphreys, Scribbler of Doodlebits

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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 (33m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Gathering Your Supplies

    • 3. Choosing Your Photo

    • 4. The Sketch

    • 5. And Now We Draw

    • 6. Blending

    • 7. Your Turn!

    • 8. Personalizing

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About This Class

Join artist Rebecca Humphreys as she reveals a piece of the world of oil pastels. Even if you’ve never used oil pastels before, you’ll feel confident in trying them after completing this class. She keeps things uncomplicated and stress-free, and before you know it, you’ll be holding your own oil pastel artwork.

You’ll learn how easy it is to use oil pastels, how they are definitely not just for kids, but why you should have no fear in giving them a whirl. She will guide you through the fun process of creating a “flower portrait” from one of your own photos and show you some useful techniques along the way. What are you waiting for? Let’s begin!

Meet Your Teacher

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Rebecca Humphreys

Scribbler of Doodlebits



A few ink and watercolour tidbits snatched from my sketchbook....


I enjoy the process of using traditional art supplies and seem to encounter less barriers to creativity when I’m using watercolours, ink or oil pastels in the real world. I do some digital work, too, and I imagine that the more familiar I get with using those tools, I may enjoy using them just as much ... or almost :) Traditional tools seem to evoke more of a feeling of ‘play’, which I find highly addictive! Maybe that's why I enjoy making my own watercolours as much as I enjoy actually painting with them. :)


And some Oil Pastel pieces...

Hey there!

You thought there would be something interesting here, didn't you? Ah w... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi. I'm Rebecca. I believe that making art should be a fun process. The techniques that I'm gonna be showing you and your class project will help you to bring fun and play back into your art. You won't need expensive materials or even a lot of drawing experience. What will you need? Join me in the next lesson to find out. 2. Gathering Your Supplies: thanks for joining me. So the first thing that you're going to need you've probably sorted out for yourself. You're gonna need oil pastels now. They come in a wide variety wide range. Um, so we're gonna run through a few tips that might help you to choose one's that you'll enjoy using. Um So firstly, there are a few groups of oil pastels. There are those that are craft supplies, and then there are those that are art supplies. So while the craft supply ones might be super inexpensive, Um, I urge you to choose a little higher up on the chain because those ones won't give you a very satisfactory experience. People who try those and then just stop there. Well, I can see why they don't enjoy using oil pastels. Those kind break often easily, and they don't blend very well at all. So let's try to stay away from those ones. But that doesn't mean that you have to go all the way to the high end. Um, professional grade oil pastels such as those made by Cinelli A. They're beautiful, creamy. They are wonderful. Ah, but to learn with their in my opinion, too soft So what I encourage you to try is a more mid range oil passed out. Now some that I've found that are marketed, um, as a mid range oil pastel. In other words, not professional, but they're not a craft supply there, often labeled as artists grade. You take that as you will, but they are very nice to work with. So you're looking for ones that are smooth, especially often. They'll say things like soft or very soft. Just look for ones. That's a soft that can help. Um, here are a couple that I really enjoy using. So the next thing you're going to need for your project is paper, so you can use pastel paper. It's actually made for soft pastels or chalk pastels, but it works fine for oil pastels, and I recommend trying it, um, especially if you have access to it. Um, there are lots of different brands out there. Um, they come in a broad range of colors. You can get packages that have several colors in them, and ah, they are really fun to use, often with pastel paper. One side of the paper is more textured than the other side, so It's really good for chalk pastels because they want the texture to scrape off some of the chalk. But for oil pastels, try both sides. You may find that you enjoy the textured side more, or you may find that you enjoy the smoother side more so try both sides and see which one you enjoy using. And as you try oil pastels and again in the future, keep trying both sides because your taste may change. Here are a couple of brands that I really like. I can recommend using the meat tents, pastel paper. The reason I like that one a little better is because it has, ah, heavier paperweight, and I just feel that it's easier to use when it has a heavier paperweight. So today, though, instead of using pastel paper, we're going to use construction paper. So the reason we're using construction paper is to show you that you don't have to go big to use oil pastels. You can use what you have, and construction paper will work quite well. If you have ah, bit of a heavier construction paper, it will work even better now. Do I recommend construction paper for a long lasting, high quality piece. No, Um, because oil pastels are made with oil, so it will have a tendency to seep into the paper. But, um, if you get a heavier construction paper, it isn't as noticeable. I have several pieces that I've done on heavier construction paper, and there's no sign of any oil. See Pidge on the back. One other thing to keep in mind is the reason we're using construction paper today is it's a really good place to start. It's easy to use its cheap, so toe learn on with oil pastels. It's great one last tool that you might find useful, but it's not necessary. I will be using it today to show you how to do this project, but you can use something else if you want or nothing at all. Um, is one of these. This is a blending stump. Um, it's basically just a very tightly rolled um, paper, and it's sharpened and you can sharpen it again if you want to. And, as you can see here, have used it in some of the oil pastel has come off onto it. But this is what, um, I find really useful for blending and getting a sharp edge. So if you're interested in trying that this is a blending stump 3. Choosing Your Photo: Okay, great. So I get you supplies. Now, let's find just that right Reference photo. If you're like me, you've got tons of them on your camera roll and on your computer and in your camera. So how do you find just the right one? I'm going to give you a list of things to look for and things to avoid that will help you make the whole experience much less frustrating. And is that what we're all looking for? So the first thing that you want to avoid is a flower that is way too far away. There it is way off in the distance. That's not gonna work well for you. The second thing to avoid is a flower that is maybe really pretty, but has too many intricate details. Now, if it's a certain amount of intricate de sales, you can get around that by making your project really big. But first, starters, let's just avoid that picture. The last thing to avoid is a photo that may have a very beautiful picture pits out of focus , so those are a few things to avoid. So here's some things that you can look for. Choose a photo that has a single bloom or a single bloom as the primary focus. Now, another thing that you want to look for is a flower that has a strong contrast in color or in light and dark to the background. So here's an example of one that has a strong contrast to the background. Here's an example of one that does not have a strong contrast to the background, so you can see why that would be and more difficult. The third thing to look for is choose a photo that you actually enjoy looking at because you're gonna want to look at it again and again and again. So, cheese, a photo that you actually like. Okay, so you've got your oil pastels. You got your pastel paper or construction paper. You've got your guidelines for choosing the right photo. Start your class project now by going over and uploading your reference photo from your camera roll Super easy. Now, as a bonus, if you're saying to yourself not really sure which one of these I should use. I've got these two or maybe even these three, and I'm not sure which one will be the easiest work with I've got a solution for you. Upload both of them or all three of them to your class project. I will pop in and give you, Ah, a couple of pros and cons for each photo, and then that will help you to choose which one that you'll enjoy working with the most one last thing before we jump in. What if you're thinking Well, that's all well and good, but I've got no photos of flowers, really. If you really got no pictures of flowers on your phone or your camera, here's a list of a couple of websites that you can get some free images for reference photos. Artists can use them, and just check to make sure that the ones that you're getting are indeed free to use. Um, I do, though highly recommend using one of your own photos. It's so much more satisfying and unique, but if you must, you can excuse 4. The Sketch: All right, so here we are, Starting. Just are vague outline. We're gonna choose a somewhat neutral color and just begin laying out three or four main points that relate just to the odor edges of the flower. So you'll see me trying to do some measuring here and to place thes main points correctly. I try to judge basically just where each main point is in relation to, for example, the center of the image, um, in relation to, let's see, ah, third of the image, length or height. Basically looking at each thing and saying, Is this halfway up the size of this? So basically what we're looking at doing here is, um, taking time to get your proportions right before you really dive right in with your, um, laying in a lot of pigment. So don't look at your flower as a flower. Don't look at your pedals as pedals. Whatever it is that you're drawing, look at it as a collection of shapes. Now, once I get the main odor points in, I start to, uh, outline the bigger shapes. In this case, those would be pedals, but again, don't think of them as pedals just shapes and you're gonna lightly. You can see how very lightly impressing hardly at all. Just enough to barely make a mark on the paper. You're gonna lightly sketch in the basics of that shape. And, um, you're gonna look at how that shape relates to the shapes that it touches and even the shapes that it doesn't touch, cause you're constantly checking your proportions here. Now, the nice thing about this is that flowers come in all shapes and sizes. So even if your sketch is not exactly like the photo, which, let's be honest here, that will be boring. That probably it's not gonna happen anyway. But it will still be recognizable as a flower, no matter whether one side might be a wee bit wonky. But I do encourage you to take your time with this steps. Ah, the step. These are the bones, the framework of what we're gonna be building on. So try to take your time and go slow and get it, you know, as close as you can Now, this is also the time when you can make certain alterations. If you don't like where a pedal, maybe, or something like that Keep your hand. Nice and loose. Don't clench your oil pastel and just sketch lightly because we can always fix it later. 5. And Now We Draw: Okay, so my tulip has a dark magenta, almost red color, and I chose a medium light pink to block in those red areas. Ah, the reason I did the red first is just it's easier to draw them instead of drawing around them. Um, you condone. Start with light or dark. Whatever you choose, just block in the color lightly. So you're just looking at your main color groups and you're gonna block them in very lately . You're going a little bit harder than you did for your sketch. But you're leaving a fair amount of the paper showing through in that blocked in section. And I'm just going to continue blocking in the pink of this particular flower and areas where I need a nice, strong contrast to show off difference in pedals. I will try to show that up with the pink as well, and I'll try to, um, not go too overboard. In other words, try to leave yourself a little bit of margin for error. If there's a very large portion that is blocked in, it might be hard if you need that to be smaller in the future, so blocking your colors but leave yourself a little bit of room for error. We're soon going to start using our cream color oil pastel. Once we get all the pink basically blocked in, and when we have the cream color, I start outlining some of the petal shapes where it needs to be cream. On the outside. You'll notice that some of my pedals have edges that air, magenta or red. But some of the pedals have edges that are cream, so I don't want to just outline every pedal. I'm just putting cream on the areas where there is actually cream or where I need there to be a little bit more cream than there actually is. I am taking creative license here is well, which you can to because it's your art. So I do a little bit of ah, squiggly technique here. Um, it's almost rolling the oil pastel in a loose squiggling motion. It gives you a more of a random effect on those pedals than you would if you were to jaggedly push it up and down. It, uh, looks a little better here. I have ah, light warm yellow oil pastel, and I'm basically putting this in areas where the warm sun light is shining through on that cream color and areas where a cream section of the pedal might be a little bit more in shadow because you don't want to take our like a gray or black oil pastel to create a shadow that's not necessary. And it wouldn't look good. You just want your shadow colors to be darker colors that as what you're using, you'll see me using several different creams and yellows, and then we're gonna basically be blending them all together as we go. And, um, this is actually where you'll start to see some of your first blending techniques that will come out because what we'll do is once we get all the cream areas blocked in, we will take a lighter shade and blended over those colors that we already have laid down. And it will just smooth out some areas and make them look far more natural as they blend from a later color to a darker color. It's really the easiest way to blend with oil pastel, and it's one of my favorite methods of blending, and you can go over this quite a number of times if you do it right When you get to the really top players like we're at here, you're going to start adding in a lot more pressure. Now, you're not gonna push really, really hard. Um, you're just adding enough pressure to blend the bottom layers that you could in into that top layer that you're now adding. So you'll notice that the areas that I've blended they have a lot less paper showing. It's important to keep cleaning off your oil pastel onto your paper towel that you'll have handy. Um, if I didn't mention that before, I'm sorry. You'll definitely want to have a paper towel handy and keep cleaning it off, cleaning off your oil pastels when you notice that they're getting maybe another color attached on top. So here I have ah, some white that I've gone in with, and that is where the strongest white highlight areas are. Now. You can go and lay the white down first and then go over that with cream. Or you can lay the cream down and then go over at with white, where you want these white highlights. You can just put down white. But, um, if you want it to blend into that same color, You will probably, um, want to have it blended a little bit better than just cream to section scream. And then this section block is white. Um, so I do have a couple of areas on two pedals that have very strong white highlights, and I tried to leave those as white as possible. Those of the areas where the pedal is is curling over, and the sunlight is really bouncing off of those sections. So I tried to keep those as white as possible, So we're pretty much done with their cream color. That's one whole layer. So we have totally kept away from the red. We've just been working on the cream, and now we're going to start dealing with our magenta or red color. So you notice right away that I'm going in with a little bit more firmer hand, but not the extreme pressure that you're gonna put down on extreme pressure. Sorry. You don't want to put extreme pressure on oil pastels pretty much at any time, but you're not going in with the final layer pressure. I should say you're just blocking in much more color than you were at first you're laying down a lot more pigment. So because my tulip had, um, some red that had a sort of a magenta undertone. I chose to go in with this pink color, and I decided to do a red on top of that so that the red, um, would have, like, this glow of pink underneath. So that's one of the things I like about oil pastels. You can have multiple colors that all come together in a blend of ah, whole new look. And now with our dark red color and going over that pink that we laid down. So here I'm going in much darker, but you'll notice I'm still leaving, Ah, space between the pedals. So this is our little margin for error that I talked about the last time. And, um, this is where you're going to leave just a very small like a millimeter break between each pedal and I'll show you why you want to leave that later when we get into using. Ah, the blending stump. If that's something that you decide that you want to do, it's not something that's completely necessary to use a blending stump, but I find that it, um, you lose a lot of the the look of the paper showing through your oil pastel painting. If you can use a blending stump or even rolled up tightly rolled up paper towel, anything like that, you can even use your finger quite easily to blend oil pastels. But and it's a little bit harder to get real detailed. So here I'm zooming in a little bit to show you that I'm adding, um, some deep shadow colors. So the deep shadow colors on red again, they're not gonna be black or grey were using, um, some reddish browns. And we're on Lee putting in a very small amount of these, basically in the darkest parts of the red, where we have the most shadow and all blend those in a little bit. But it still looks pretty chunky at this point now. Like I said, you can leave it like this. But if you do have a blending stump or even, um, some paper towel or napkins, you can make it look a lot more polished and clean up some of those edges 6. Blending: So here is where we're going to get out. Are blending the stump now, just like the oil pastels. You want to keep cleaning this off and also just like the oil pastels, you're going to stay with one color until that's done. You don't want to be transferring red onto your cream and smudging your colors. Um, so just blend all of one color together, and you'll notice that your, um, your blending stump will collect some color onto it. That's okay. You're going to actually be able to use that to make your edge is much smoother. So as you're blending your red oh, take it right out to the edge and make that a nice, clean edge that is difficult to get with just the oil. Pasto. So you're gonna just go through all the different shades, all the different shades, all the different areas that have read and, um, blend the moat going to just stay within the red. Keep blending the red owed until it's all finished, and then clean off your blending stump A swell as you can and move into the cream section when you're finished. All of your red. If you have blending something has two ends on it and you've only used one end. The easiest thing is just flip it around and use the other end, and then you can keep it nice and clean. Here I have, um, two sections that are cream. But there, those two that I talked about before one is that strong Highlight where the pedals curling over itself. So don't blend that Oh, right into the rest of the cream. You want to leave that line there? You worked hard to put it there, so try to leave it there. Otherwise, you won't see that that pedal is curling, and I again even left a very small hint of a line of the paper showing through to show that there's a difference in those two sections. It helps when you view it as a shape still and not as a pedal. When you're blending your next color, don't blend right to the edge of your other color. You'll end up smearing some of that red into your cream or whatever colors your chosen flower is. Um, just stay with it within that one color group when you're blending, really work hard to stay out of your darker color. When you're working on your darker color near your lighter color, it's not as big of a deal, but when you're working on the lighter color, you got to be really careful. We're getting close to the very end, and the very last step that you're going to need to do is when you blend the edges of your read into the edges of your cream. So you're just gonna go along very carefully and gently smooth out the look of the areas where these to connect. So you're not smoothing from one pedal into the next pedal. You want those lines to stay there. You're just smoothing out the areas where the flame of the read on the tulip goes into the cream of the tulip. So you'll even be able to take some of that flame color and drag it out more in tow. A point when you're doing this. This very last step, um, you'll see me do that here and that is it. Okay, so I'm going to show you a few blending examples. Um, they're very easy. They're very fun. Anyone can do them. The 1st 1 involves only your oil pasta walls and your finger so it doesn't involve any blending stump or any other tools. So the first thing we will do is get down a layer of pigment. Now, you notice I'm not just using one color green to do my little made up leaf here. I'm using various shades of green, and I'm just continuing toe layer them basically. Anyway, I see fit. This is not from any sort of reference photo. I'm just making it up as I go along. But the key is to layer different colors. Now, when you get to some of these top players, you're gonna add a little more pressure when you're putting down the oil pastel and that pressure will blend the bottom layers together with the layer that you're putting on top. So you're just gently smoosh ing very technical term the layers of the little past all together, and you can keep adding layers and adding laters. And till you get enough now, you're not going to be laying down at pressing as hard as you can with each, um, layer of oil. Pasto. You want to just keep gently adding in layers. Now you'll notice that, um colors are different. When you add light green on top of the dark ing, it's gonna look a lot different than if it's just added on top of blank paper. Now here's where wrestle the video down so that you can see how to blend with your fingertip. Now, this particular technique is very, very easy. Just take your time and just like you would with your blending stump, try to stay within a color. When you're blending. Stay within that area that it's blended. Um, so the the colors on the leave I'm blending from tip to tip of the leaf. I'm not blending safe from left to right. We want those kind of color blocks to basically stay where they are. So I'm trying to keep blending within the motion of the way that those areas are showing up on the leaf, and even once you have it blended, you can continue to add more layers of oil Pastel. Now you can add a lot of layers once you've blended it, but you can continue to add some, and then you can go back in again and continue to blend. Now, for this example, um, I'm showing you how you can blend now with a blending stump. So this is going right from adding your layers of color to your blending stump. This is without using your finger, and you can see how much more blending you can do with a blending stump. And one key that I'd like you to notice here is how easy it is to get a nice sharp edge with a blending stump. And you Congrats. That color wrote and even, um, hide areas that you may have had a mistake notice here. How I dragged that rado into a point and one last thing. You can pick up little oil pastel crumbs. 7. Your Turn!: Okay, so now that you've seen how to do it, go and give it a try. Now, don't forget to one upload a picture to your class project, cause I'd really like to see what you do and to put a frame on it hanging on the wall. Now, if you're going to get a frame, just go and get an inexpensive frame. Make sure it has, um, glass, because you want to keep the dust from sticking to the oil pastel, which it will, and try to choose a frame that will just keep the glass from sitting directly on your, uh, oil pastel project. Now, if you don't have a frame and you want to go get one in the meantime, you can slide it in a sheet protector, or you could just protect it with a couple of sheets of parchment paper. 8. Personalizing : So what if you found just the right photo, but the color isn't right for your decor. Change it. It's your art, so make it a piece that you will love. So to get ideas on how to change the colors in a way that will look natural, you can run the photo through your camera through your phones. Cameras filter. You can even use Instagram's filter. Um, that will give you some ideas on color changes without changing the color values. So that means you can change the colors, but the value needs to stay the same, like where it's supposed to be dark, where the shadows are. It will stay dark where it's supposed to be light. Where the highlights are. It will stay light. So if you run it through a filter, you can get some really cool ideas of some colors that might work better for the room that you want to hang your piece of art in. You can even dio Siri's use the same photo, but do it like three different times. Three different colors. Give it a try. Thanks so much for joining me. I have lots more classes coming that I can't wait to share with you. The next one is a boat. How to make room for art in your day to day life when you don't have the space for a studio . So make sure you follow me. If you don't want to miss out on that one, I'll see you in the community tab and in your class project for sure. Bye for now.