Learn Food Sketching with Oil Pastels | a Beginner Friendly Jump-Start | Elisabetta Furcht | Skillshare

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Learn Food Sketching with Oil Pastels | a Beginner Friendly Jump-Start

teacher avatar Elisabetta Furcht, Making Art Accessible

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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 (1h 14m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Project

    • 3. Materials You Need

    • 4. Swatching Your Pastels

    • 5. Sketch an Avocado

    • 6. Sketch an Ice Cream

    • 7. Sketch Coffee & Croissant

    • 8. Wrap Up

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About This Class

Hi! I’m Elisabetta, an Italian artist and illustrator with a passion for sketching: food is one of my favourite subjects.

If you are tempted by oil pastels, but you don’t know where to start, this class is for you! 

If you try Oil Pastels you can't help falling in love with them: they are vibrant, easy and a lot of fun! Colour flows directly from your fingers to paper with these buttery soft sticks. Such a pleasure!

In this class, you can jumpstart this wonderful medium painting along with me three lovely food sketches.


In detailed, step by step tutorials you will learn how to:

  • choose a sketchbook suitable for oil pastels
  • use budget friendly pastels, that offer good quality for the price
  • layer and blend pastels for great results
  • add details with coloured pencils
  • find inspiration in every day food for your drawings 
  • solve your storage issues

You don't need to spend a fortune to get started in Oil Pastels!

This class is suitable for Beginners, and Oil pastels are a great introduction to Art!

What are you waiting for? Join the class and fall in love with Oil Pastels!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Elisabetta Furcht

Making Art Accessible


Hi! I'm Elisabetta, an Italian watercolor artist based in Turin, where I live with my husband, my dog and two cats.

I started painting later in life, after a long career in Marketing and Advertising.

When my son left for college, he gave me a watercolor set for my birthday. I started sketching and I never stopped. 

I love sketching the world around me: corners of my beautiful city, street scenes, everyday objects around my house, and the food I cook. Sketching is really a self-care routine for me!

I am mainly a watercolor artist, but I also love gouache, oil pastels and colored pencils.

I firmly believe that in art talent is overrated and that anyone can learn!

Practice is key: so let's start sketching together... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Trying oil pastels and falling in love with them is one thing, this is what happened to me when I tried this wonderful medium. They're pigmented, they're vibrant, they are battery soft, and you can see color that flows directly from your fingers onto the paper. Today, I'm happy to share this passion for oil pastels in a very easy and relaxed way, and also very budget-friendly because I don't think that you should spend a fortune before you decide if you like them or not, but I think you will like them. If you are tempted to try oil pastels and you're a beginner but you don't know very well where to start, this class is for you. What are we doing in this class? We will be learning by doing not much theory, but we will sketch together these three fun projects. We start with an avocado, then we will have coffee and the croissant, and then an ice cream. In this class, you will learn how to swatch your pastels so that you start to get a feel for the textures, how to blend colors together in different ways, and how to simply store your pastels in a sketchbook without many problems. Hi, I'm Elisabetta, Italian artist based in Turin. I started sketching later in life and I challenge myself with different techniques, watercolor, but also colored pencil, gouache, and oil pastels. I think that art must be a joy and that the real joy is more in the process than in the results, and that practice is much more important than talent, talent is completely overrated. Art is for anyone, anyone can sketch. Oil pastels are a great introduction to art because they're fun, they're easy, they have no budget. Without further ado, let's get started and fall in love with pastels with me. Join the class, I wait you in my next lesson. Ciao. 2. The Project: Welcome to my class. In today's class, we will sketch along the three drawings. They are in growing difficulty. We start with an avocado. The avocado is very easy and it's always a good way to try a new medium because you find all the elements to learn a new medium, light and shadow, roundness, and the drawing is easy. Then we will continue with a slightly more complicated but still easy subject. This ice cream. The ice cream is great because it's an incredible exercise for blending. This project is very good to learn how to blend with different techniques. Then we will sketch a little composition together, which is this cosun with coffee. This is slightly more complicated, but still very easy because the coffee is smaller and you will learn how to add the smaller details and to make a composition. To sketch these projects, we will be using very budget friendly supplies as I will show you in my next lesson. This because I believe that when you try new medium, you should try supplies that gives you a good result without spending too much money because it would be a waste. We're starting with the good quality, student quality pastels, that are very affordable and the same with paper. What you can do and what I am doing, you can always replace these affordable student grades supplies with artists grade once you understand that oil pastels are a good technique for you. Also, we will be sketching in a sketch book. Why a sketchbook for oil pastels? Because sketchbook is portable and you can sketch on the spot on location with your pastels if you have a sketchbook. Because you don't have any storage issues, you draw, you shut your sketchbook, and you put it away and you have all your nice sketches in one places. I am a huge fan of sketchbooks, both for watercolors and for oil pastels as well. They're easy, they're budget friendly, they're portable, and they're great. Let's go to the next lesson to start using our wonderful oil pastels searching them. 3. Materials You Need: For supplies, what we need for supplies, first of all, we need some oil pastels. For oil pastels, I strongly suggest that these Pentel Art sector, because it is very budget friendly, it's quite cheap, and it has 50 pastels. Two white pastels because you use white a lot and other 48 different shades, many grays, which is very useful. The only problem is that the greens are a bit cold, but you can warm them up using yellow or yellow ocher. I would say that you can do very nice sketches with this set, and it's a very nice way to try if you like pastels or not without spending too much money. Then we need some paper. I have three types of paper. I have tried many types of paper, but what I have understood is that you need paper with some tooth. I suggest that mixed media paper like this Fabriano Accademia Desegno Drawing, which is good for wash color pencil, but for oil pastels as well. What I do, I draw with my oil pastels and then I just put my drawings away. Today we will draw our sketches on this sketchbook. Another very useful sketchbook is craft paper from Clairefontaine, because it's very inexpensive and you can really play and have fun with it. You see I sketch a lot on these craft papers, torn paper, and I just close it and put it away. You don't really have to worry about wasting expensive paper. It's a very nice way to get started with the pastels because you can play and close it and you don't worry about wasting expensive materials. Then I suggest that you have another sketch book. This is non-branded, I don't know what type of sketch book it is, but I use it for my swatches because it's very important that you swatch your pastels. We will see in the next lesson how we swatch them. Then you need the pencil, HB with an eraser. I had used this eraser which is very precise. But you also need a kneaded eraser because not only for your final sketch, you can lighten the pencil, but also you can pick up the oil pastel crumbles. Some people like to have Q-tips to blend. You can try it. I don't like it because first of all, they're not very sustainable, and also I prefer to blend either with a paper stamp or my finger. I will show you in the class. The paper stamp, you also need some sandpaper to clean it when it's dirty. But always keep a darker and a light side so I can go on a long time without cleaning it. Then you will need some color pencil for the outlines and to refine the drawing. I don't use fancy pencils, I use [inaudible] student grade pencils, and the pencil sharpener. What you need next is some paper towel and very important baby wipes to clean your hands between different colors so you can blend it and you don't pollute your paint, your paper, or your pastels. Always keep your finger clean with baby wipes that you use between different colors and for supplies. That's it. 4. Swatching Your Pastels: The first most important thing is to swatch your colors. Each of the colors in this set has a name and the number. Except for white that you can swatch on a piece of black paper, we are going to swatch each of our pastel, so in future we know exactly what pastel to pick when we want to draw something. In this sketch book that I keep for my swatches, I have written down number and name of each pastel, and I start swatching them. Be careful because it's easy to make mistakes. I always check to put the right pastel in the right little square. I start with lemon yellow, number 1. Look how creamy and pigmented it is. I love it. This is Naples yellow. I always double check that I'm putting the right pastel in the right square. Now, I will speed it up and I'll see you later. As you see, I made a mistake. I skipped a pastel that was supposed to be here, so I put it in the end. Now I'm trying to swatch the white on black. I have laid down a layer of black to see how opaque it is. You see it's not very opaque. This is the limit of this pastel set. I always clean my white before I put it away, otherwise, it's polluted. In addition to these pastel set which is very beautiful, you could buy in open stock, a better quality white that could be important like Sennelier or Neopastel by Caran d'Ache. But now we have all the pastels swatched on a piece of paper, so we can draw with these before our eyes and we know perfectly what colors we can use. I'll see you in the next lesson. 5. Sketch an Avocado: The first drawing that we do in our lesson will be an avocado. When I try a new technique or a new medium, I often start with an avocado, like half of an avocado because it's a fruit that I know very well. It's easy and it's a perfect introduction to a new medium. We will start with our avocado. I will provide you the reference image in the project section. For an avocado, I will draw an oval, and another oval here. It is the two halves of the avocado. Maybe we can refine this half. Here we put the seed, slightly pointed and round in the back, and here, there would be the hole of the seed with the same shape. These are the two halves of the avocado. Now, I hope you can see the lines in your camera. I tried to trace them dark enough, but you can make them lighter with your kneaded eraser. We start drawing the outline with this yellow green. We start like this. It's just a sketch, it's going to be quite rough, and we make a thicker outline with these nice yellow green. For the inside, we should probably blend together green and yellow because we don't have these exact value, this hue is not in our pastel set, so we need to create it. We can probably lay some of this pale green. Just lay the color in a thick layer, but then we need to add some yellow. Same in this avocado on this side, a nice thick layer. You can also go over the green outline, so it automatically blends the two colors together. Same here. If you go over with the lighter pastel, the two will blend. Now I will take a pale yellow like a Naples yellow, and I will, with this Naples yellow, put some inside. We must decide the direction of the light source. I always put an arrow from the light source. So we know that we will have shadow here, here, here. If we put the arrow, we cannot go wrong. Here we will have light. We will have shadow. I can lay down some of our yellow onto our green, and then we can blend it with our finger. To blend it with the finger, we don't have to press. We do it very lightly like this. We can put more of this yellowish green if we think there is not enough paint, because it's more difficult to blend if there is not enough paint. Very lightly, we blend it with our finger. Same here, very lightly. Now we need to add some dark here. To add some dark here, I will add some of this color and some yellow ocher, number 33 ocher. You can always fix the shape while it's here. See it's starting to have a 3D look. Always blend with your finger. Here, you can also add some light because this is where the light hits. Make sure that your white is white, there is not another color on it. Now we've blended everything with my white. Before you put it away, always clean it on a paper towel. Clean it, put it away. You can put it here. Now we take some lemon yellow. You can always add more yellow here if you think it needs it. This is the half with the hole, then we will finish it. But this is the first layer. Also, we can blend with white inside of the avocado because it's quite pale, so we can use white to blend it. Same here we can use some lemon yellow to make the yellow tone even more intense, and we can blend it with some white. You can always adjust to be more greenish, or yellow, and that's it. Now some white to lighten it and blend it. Now, we need to put the seed here. For this seed we will have the darker here, some white here, so I will start putting and clean the white, and I will start occupying, I need to take my baby wipe and I clean my finger, otherwise, I cannot use it for blending anymore, but I have here the darker side of the seed because light is from here. We will put some, let's take our swatches. I will take some eight brown or Van Dyke brown here, but let's start with brown eight. I already put white parch here and there we start blending with poker so you overlap poker to brown like this and now we yellow over towards the light. Now I can take an even darker brown so unlike brown here. Now the yellow ocher again, so that we blend all those together. Now, I take the white, I will leave some pure white here and now I take that pure white and I just use to blend it. More yellow ocher and some darker again here and you go on until you're happy. Now, we need to make in darker green the outer shape. I take the deep green number 22, this one and I will vary precisely, but not to precisely make a contour. You see the avocado is a bit irregular in shape so to make it more organic, must be a little broken. Here you could put some brown, same here and the same broken line. We take again the yellowish-green and we make up. Now outline all around so that we blend a little the darker green not completely but you see it's blending. Now we take the lemon yellow ones again and we blend a little this green. Let's see if we are happy with the sample and with this shadow. Now if we're not happy we can take a color pencil and we darken the outlines, but I think that what we need is to darken and a little here. I take some more ocher and then make the hole even more darker and I blend it with some lemon yellow. Let me just take a color pencil and then come to refine the outlines. I pick up the Campbell's, we may need an eraser, I take my black pencil. You see these, these are cheap pencils, they're not expensive pencils. I will use the blacker to enhance shadow on this side. The other thing that I can do is I can refine the green outline in that [inaudible] with my pencils so I take, a darker green pencil and I can refine here. I think that using pencil with pastas is ideal because it gives a precise final touch to our custom drawing. Now, I don't like flying objects so what I would like to do is to put a shadow here and here. To do so is very simple, I just take some green and dye apply some green here and here and then I take a lighter green and I blend it. What we can do again is take some black colored pencil and outline here the shadow so there is no white space which is always weird with the shadow. Here we are. We're done. 6. Sketch an Ice Cream: We can sketch some ice cream. Let's sketch some ice cream. We start from the shape here. It's a side view. Always remember, very light lines. I must do them slightly darker. Otherwise, you won't see it. That's it. Here we have the wooden stick. Easy, right? Here we have a bite. Here we start putting darker brown here and lighter brown here. To do some stripes, first of all, I need to lighten my lines, and I will outline them with some light brown. I have them. I can also outline with a colored pencil, remember, if you find this more practical, but I will do so. I will put some white here, where I know that I will have some lighter lines here. Here also, I know that I have some light lines, and on this corner, so we'll have already some white. I have some white here too because I have my vanilla cream. We start adding some brown very lightly so that I can darken it with chocolate brown. I will put some brown so I block the colors, abundantly. Put a lot of color, but with a light pressure. Here we have our darker, less light brown. I will have more light brown here on the side because, let's put it, we will have light from here. This is going to be slightly lighter. Let's just fill it with color. That's very pleasant. It's fun. It's so creamy. Now we take a darker brown. I need the Van Dyke brown here. On this side which is away from the light, I will put more stronger pressure, I will put more brown here. Don't worry about the corners because we can always refine them with a paper stamp or with a pencil. Here we have shadow, shadow, and some shadow here, because here we have our light, light, light. Now we take our darker side of the stamp. We refine the angles. This is going to be slightly lighter here. I can maybe use our Q-tip, which is perfect for this, and we blend it. We have a lighter side where we can use to blend white. Here is very dark. We can add some black on this side and then we blend it, even with our finger. Again we blend it with brown. Black and brown together make this rich chocolate inside these stripes. Once again, we take some white. We need to clean it. Here we have a shadow. Take some white and blend here. Now we take the yellow ocher for the stick. The yellow ocher will have some shadow too. We have some shadow on the side here and here. Take some ocher here. You can also use this to give some lightness in these stripes. You can blend it with this one, which is ocher. If I'm not happy, I blend again with our medium ocher, our dark Indian red. Now we refine the outline with our pencil. The first thing I do is here, this side of the stick. Then I take some black here and we outline this dark side and the bottom. Then again with black, I will outline these shapes. Now I need some white. I can try with the pencil. We'll also put some brown here. So white which is very irregular. Then I will also put some white from our pencil here, here and here. Now I pick up crumbles was with my kneaded eraser. This was quick and very nice I think. Let me just adjust the stick on this side, I will also take this very slightly outline it same here. Now it's perfect. What do you see? I hope you like it. 7. Sketch Coffee & Croissant: This sketch is slightly more difficult. In this sketch, we will have a small composition with a small cup of coffee and a croissant. We will have the croissant here, like this. To draw a croissant you draw a crescent, more or less, with a V here where the pastry let's say overlap. Here there is a V. Then there is another pastry layer here, and then a final pastry layer here, same here. Roll pastry. Basically, this is going to be the final shape, and we will also put a small cup of coffee. I make an ellipse. You see I make a cross and then attach the four points to drawing, same here, same here. Here we have our coffee and a handle. The handle is like a half of a heart arc an ear but this is basically our small cup of coffee. I erase it a little and I redraw the necessary lines. Once again pastel is not for precision, will be really sketchy. Once again, I make it slightly lightly with my kneaded eraser so that I can see the overall shape but I have less graphite on my sheet of paper. Let's start with the croissant. I always start from the top left corner because I'm right-handed and I don't smudge pastel because I draw in this direction so I don't smudge it with my hand. I put an arrow here to indicate that the light source is here so that I know where I have light and shadow. Let's start with the croissant. I trace the outline with a light color. Remember the general shape that we trace before. Here we are. Then I have the lines that indicate where pastry overlaps back here. Now, I choose the colors. This is yellow ocher number 6. I will use the darker version 33 ocher, and then I will use more reddish-brown so the eight brown. I would probably use also some darker brown like Indian red so I pick eight and 45. I can start from this corner up alternating the shades. I will leave for the moment being the darker shades for the final touches. I start from here where I see that there are darker stripes. When I need I peal the paper so I can expose a larger portion of my pastel and I can still protect my finger. Very gently in the beginning then here I just very slightly indicate a block colors. Here I have once again this color, the darker color then some here. See immediately you recognize the croissant. Then I take the medium shade the ocher number 33 and I slightly blend with it and I overlap. Start sketching over and around and then slightly in the whitespace. Then I take my yellow ocher which is my lightest shade and I fill the whitespace. Remember that the light is from here so here you always will have a lighter shade even where you have the darker pastry. Now we need to accentuate the contrast between the more red stripes with the V-shape like here. Just follow the round shape of the pastry here. On this side is slightly less baked so it's this [inaudible] but it's in shade, so it's a balance between light and shade. Now we can take a lighter yellow, like for instance chrome yellow which is number 5, and just put some yellow here. Accentuate the yellow and now you take the ocher and you finish. This is our croissant. Now you take the very dark shade and you put it where you think you will need a darker shade. On this side because it's away from the light source so you will have it everywhere, the darker brown. Then you will have an accentuation of the round shape with stripes, you don't want to blend these. The corner also are baked. Now, I suggest that you take some orange and you put some orange patches. Just to give a warmer looks here and there. You can do the same with for instance some vermilion. Vermilion which is dark orange like this. Because that is a warmer hue. Then again your brown. Just have fun, play with it. Now, you take the white, I have this small piece I can use it to try to blend where you have light here. First the lighter and then the darker. I need to blend here. I don't want to see a lot of white on the paper. Just play until you find the right balance. Have a look at your reference image so you follow. I think that we are done with this. What we need to do now is to refine the outline with a pencil. I take a light brown pencil and I refine the outline. Here is our croissant. Just pick up the crumbles with your kneaded eraser. Let's go to coffee. For coffee, we can choose to have, for instance, a light blue small cup. What I do is I draw the outline with a light blue, same with the handle. You can always slightly change it. Now I leave some white here for the highlights and I fill the espresso mug. Now before we finish the cup, I put some espresso in here. I know that light is from here so here we have darker side and here is lighter side. I erase this. I will put some yellow ocher all this side where I have light. I don't touch the blue. To do so, I will use a blender or a Q-tip. You can also use a Q-tip if you prefer. I will use my blender. I will always have two sides, one for brownish tones and the other one is for a gray tones so I have one for brown tones I can use it. I can go down here towards the cup. In here, I will have the darker tone. Same I don't touch the cup and I will touch it with my stamp maybe. Like this. I can use here maybe some black pencil lighter, even darker. I can put some dark brown here. Always from light to dark remember, never blend it the other the way, always from dark to light. Same here, I have put these background of pale blue. I will take my cobalt blue so this is cobalt blue which I like very much. I know that the shadow will be on this side so I will put some here. Here, we will have some shadow, and we will have some shadow here on the back of the handle and on the bottom part of the handle. I will do so and I will blend it using once again my pale blue. More slightly overlap. I will put some white. This is yellow, so I will put some white here around. Now, I blend everything with clean fingers so I take my baby wipe, I clean my finger and then slightly, you can also use a Q-tip, I will blend everything. You see how nice it is? Don't press too hard. Towards the end I have these paper stamp but I don't want to use it like this because it will stain my pastels. I have this sandpaper and I clean it or you can use a clean Q-tip remember, always, and I use it here for the outline. I turn it and do what I want. Because remember it's your sketch, you do what you want. Same here. Now the last touch I know that I must put some gray here because I have black from here and these will be black in shadow. Same I take the gray part that I have spared. Some shadow. Now what I think I need to do is I take some colored pencil once again and then we outline here, coffee. I will also outline the handle that I need to blend again. I take the blue blue a black pencil and a blue pencil. The outline, shadow here near the croissant and also here we have shadow for coffee. I take the blue and I outline here, the bottom and the beaker and here at the bottom. Last but not least, we will put some shadow here. Because I don't like to see flying objects. Same here. I might also use some black here. Then I take a light gray. This is 47 light gray and I blend it. Same here, I blend it. I use my fingers. I need to clean it with the baby wiper. Here, I can blend in the shadow. You see, straight from your hands to the paper. I really like this, it's not messy. I take once again the black and then refine this. You can also take your paper stamper, the dark side, and you go very close to the croissant. Same here. Here you can use some black. Maybe we can put some even darker blue here. I will take some light ultramarine, and here I can put an even darker blue, it's nicer. Now, you can blend it with your finger. Always remember, don't press too hard when you blend it. Also, it's nice to have the strokes as painterly. You see, I refine the outline here, I refine it here and also why not here. Now, I take some white. Needs to be clean, the white. I clean it with a paper towel and then put a highlight here, highlight here. We are here. Also, I think that the coffee could have a highlight. I always still clean my pasta from blue and I put an highlight here. Now, I pick up my Campbell's with the kneaded eraser. I also clean it up if needed with the kneaded eraser. Just have a look again. Maybe we need to add some more contrast here with the dark brown. Some shadow here, some shadow here. Here there's some shadow that is irradiated, I think, from the darker side. Same here. We take the darker ocher, this one, and we just put it on the spot that is in shadow. Here we have the lighter yellow ocher or even some cream yellow, but we can put some lighter yellow here. Now, it's perfectly round. I wouldn't touch it any longer. 8. Wrap Up: Thank you for joining me in this adventure, I hope you had fun as much as I did. I hope you upload your projects in the gallery. This is not only for my feedback, but also to show other students what kind of result, you can reach with this class. Please do follow me on Skillshare, and if you share your projects, your sketches, on Instagram, please do tag me. You can find me in there, Elizabeth [inaudible] , my name on Instagram as well. I hope to see your projects and I hope that today's class is just the beginning of a new wonderful adventure, in oil pastels and art. For the moment being, [inaudible].