Soft pastels for complete beginners | How to draw galaxy night sky | Jekaterina Kotelnikova | Skillshare

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Soft pastels for complete beginners | How to draw galaxy night sky

teacher avatar Jekaterina Kotelnikova, Artist & Language Tutor

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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

6 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Art Supplies

    • 2. Part 1

    • 3. Part 2

    • 4. Part 3

    • 5. Part 4

    • 6. Part 5

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About This Class

Hi everyone! In this short class, I want to share with you how to create a stunning painting with only a handful of soft pastels. Do not worry if you have never held this wonderful art material in your hands, in this tutorial I will guide you step by step through how to achieve a beautiful result.

What you will need:


Meet Your Teacher

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Jekaterina Kotelnikova

Artist & Language Tutor


Hi there! I'm Kate and I am an artist and an illustrator (and a mom of a wonderful 5-year-old). I live and work in Jelgava, Latvia. 

When I was very young I went to art school but did not finish it as I got really tired of everyone telling me what 'the right way' to do things is. I believe that in art there is no right or wrong :)

I returned to drawing and then painting after I started having problems with my health. Right after I gave birth to my daughter I was in pain 24/7 for over a year and a half when I was finally diagnozed with fibromyalgia (for those of you who are lucky enough not to know what that is, it's an illness that makes your nerves transmit paint which is not there). 

I run my YouTube art channel, Patreon, my little online art school... See full profile

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1. Art Supplies: So let's start to the supplies that we will need for this tutorial. I will be using these colors of pastels. It's approximately six or five colors, depending on how many colors you want in your painting, and I go from lightest to darkest. I'm not using white. I'm using a very, very pale pink. But if you don't have a very, very pale pink, you can also use white for the brightest, brightest right of your sky and also a black pastel for the black silhouette of the rock and the trees and the deer. I'm also using a black pastel pencil. It can be any brand show them or if you don't have the same one that I am using and pastel paper I'm using pastel Matt. It's a white pastel met, and it's sanded surface. So basically it, except many more layers than MMA tones or the Angara or ingress. I don't know how to call the paper correctly. I'm sorry for my pronunciation, and another thing that we will need is a plastic sleeve for the documents, for example, or a sheet of tracing paper that we will use to create our stars, and we will also need something circular to create a moon. So we will trace around the moon I'm using for that the white charcoal pencil. But you can use a white castle pencil. Just do create the shape of the men, so let's get started. 2. Part 1: first thing I do is I create lightest patch on my paper. I'm placing it slightly off center to the left just because of the composition. So it will be a more pleasing composition if I create my focal point, because I will be painting the deer over the lightest part of my sky. So that's going to create the most contrast. Agreed. The focal point of the painting and just compositionally was going to look a lot more pleasant if it is slightly off center Tom, placing it slightly to the left. Now, the next thing I do is I'm going from my lightest pastels to the darkest already have them placed in the order from light to dark and just going from light to the dark, creating these patches of color. So I'm trying to go kind of in a circular motion, but not creating a perfect half circle. Before I place my pink, I put some light purple underneath it just to create a more interesting color when these two mixed together. Also, I work in layers. I like to work in thin layers of colors just so that I can place my colors over the existing layers and create a more interesting effect. If you create the sky, for example, in this case, in one layer only, it's not going to look the same. It's not going to have the same effect as if you work, for example, in two layers, because here it was very easy. I just created two layers, one on top of the other and if already looked very good. I'm using my darkest purple to create the top of this guy, so it kind of moves away from the horizon line and becomes darker. You don't need to use precisely identical colors as I'm using here. Go wherever your imagination takes you. I'm cleaning my hands, and that's an important thing about working with pastels. Make sure that your hands are always dry and clean, So if you're working with different values in this case, I'm having the purple that is very dark value and the pale pink that is a very light value . There is a chance of contaminating your pink with your purple on pastel. Mac, You can still correct it on any. Send the paper you can still corrected by layering the color, the lighter color on top But if you're working on the batons paper or ingress than you are going to muddy up the colors and that's not going to look as light as it did before, you actually smudged it with your darker color. So I was talking about the colors now clearing the second layer over. But as I said, go wherever your imagination takes you. If you want to create a green sky or a yellow sky or a blue sky, just make sure that you have pastels of different values. If you are not very sure if you're completely new to our, A trick you can use is taking your phone and taking a photo of black and white photo so that you can see clearly the values of each color. So when you take a black and white photo off your pastels, for example, you will clearly see which colors are lighter and which colors are darker if you're still not sure and struggling of it. So now I'm rubbing the pastels quite hard into the surface of the paper so as not to leave any white paper shining through on each paper. It's going to be different because each paper has a slightly different approach to it. So if you work working on mittens or ingress papers, you would use maybe less strength. But you wouldn't be able to layer as many layers as on the Senate surfaces experiment. It's not essential that you have a send a paper for this. You can use also me tones paper very easily because we're not going to be layering any details over the top off the existing fainting when you're working. Realistically, it's a lot more difficult to work for mittens, at least for me. Yeah, and I'm adding a bit of lights to my horizon line just to create the contrast between the ground and the sky. 3. Part 2: So now with my black soft pastel, I am creating the ground, and that's going to be the kind of Rocky hill that my dear is going to be standing on, and I will also create shapes of trees. I'm not very worried about the tree details as such. At the moment, I will be adding those as the last thing to the painting. Most importantly, is that I kind of create my composition, and I placed trees where I want them to be. Also, I wanted to say that I decided to do this video in real time because it was quite short. It's a very, very fast painting to do so. These kind of paintings that Galaxies guys and different other paintings that I have in mind there very fast to do. And if you like it, please let me know. Or maybe you have some other ideas. I would really like to hear them in the comments. Also, if you have any questions, do you ask them in the comments? Or maybe you would like to disease and other animals in the galaxy sky setting. Also, I am rubbing in my black into the paper and making sure that the paper doesn't trying through because I wanted to be really, really dark for this. You also need a very soft pastel, so the softer your pastel is probably the darker is going to get speaking about pastels. I cannot recommend highly enough cocking or pastels. So if you're working on the budget, if you're not doing this professionally because I have different sets of pastels that costs seriously a fortune. I'm slowly building my collection. But if you are nuts doing this for work, if you are doing it for fun, and you would like to paint on a budget and still have vibrant, beautiful colors. So instead of buying some very, very cheap pastels, I would suggest you buy Kok ignores, which are very cheap compared to other artist brand pastels. And they have a very nice selection of colors becoming different sets, their extra soft ones and soft pastels. Those are amazing and in fact, here I'm using some of my cocaine or pastels. Some of these colors are cocking yours 4. Part 3: So now what I'm doing is I outlined my moon using the tape that I am actually using to take my paintings to the board and now with a soft pastel, the same one that I used the same pale pink that I used for my lightest area off the sky. I am outlining my mood. Most importantly is that I have one edge very hard, and the other one I will blend it out and make itself. I'm also adding some patches to create this kind of greater like shapes on the moon. And now I'm blending out the in their side of the moon. And I'm also blending of those patches of light that I did to create these kind of craters on top off the moon. Now we'll show you how to create starts. I'm taking this light pastel that I used for the moon in the latest batch, and I'm just scraping the dust of pastel onto my paper with my fingernail. You would think that maybe the pastel dust is going to fall off the paper if you move the painting. But this is where our sleep comes in. Some placing it on top of my painting and just rubbing it in with my hand. So this is going to kind of press the stars that we created by scraping the pastel onto the paper into the surface of the paper and they will not fall off. There we go. Now the thing that's lacking is some bigger stars, some brighter stars in the sky. So to create those, I am tapping slightly my pastel on paper and rubbing it in with my finger just to create this kind of halo around the stark. To add brighter stars, I am tapping my pastel softly onto the paper and creating these kind of larger, brighter stars that showing through the distance. So now I'm happy with my sky. It's done, and the only thing that's missing is falling. Start. So what I'm doing is I'm placing my pastel into the paper and just flicking it to the direction where the star is going to be falling from. And there we go. There's a falling star 5. Part 4: it's a lot easier to work from a silhouette. Also, you don't have to work from drawing. You can work from tracing so you can print out an image of the silhouette. And if you don't feel very comfortable of drawing a deer, you can print out the silhouette, cut it out and just trace around it. I'm using a black castle pencil. This is a passel pencil by contact, and another thing that I wanted to say is that I have a video that talks about pastel pencils and how to get those lightest lights and darkest darks. And you can see how light is the pastel pencil compared to the soft pastel that we applied underneath the deer. So I'm going to pass over it with myself. Best tell, because soft pastel is going to always look the black of soft pastels going to always look darker than the pastel pencil. So that's a great tip to know, because the more contrast you get in your painting, the more interesting is going to look. And in this case, I really want my dear to stand out on the lightest patch of my sky. So it has to be very, very black duck. If you would like to draw another kind of animal that's also great on picks, obeyed, there is a huge amount of different silhouettes of animals. Or you can just take a photo as I said, and work from a photo try out different animals. I'd like to see those as well, if you can tag me on instagram or on Facebook. Really, Really. I'm really curious to see your skies with your animals and now impressing with my black pastel over the deer, making sure that I don't go over the lines over the control lines that I draw in So you can see how much darker it's going to look compared to the pencil. I'm blowing off the dust of the pastel just to be sure that I don't smudge it onto my later Skype. It's not a very good idea to blow the dust off. I don't do it very often, but when it's a part like this where I'm really, really careful, not just much my lightest lights, I just blow it off. You can also take your painting and kind of throw the dust off and make sure that it's not going to contaminate your lightest parts. Then I'm using another. This is another pastel pencil. I just wanted to see how it behaves, its pastel pencil by cocaine or and it's a wonderful, wonderful pencil. I really love cocky nor art supplies, especially the pastels. They are amazing. If you are working on the budget than talking or pastels are the way to go. They are really vibrant and are just grade and have a very good light Fastness to them so you can keep your works and improve them and frames, and they will not fade. So now I'm taking again my contact pencil because to be honest, it didn't make much difference the caulking or of the contact pencil. So they're quite soft, both of them, and I am creating the antlers again. I'm looking at my reference photo. I'm not trying to invent the bicycle here, just thinking of the reference photo and drawing in what I see. Also, if you've noticed, I placed my dear just slightly off centre, speaking about composition of your paintings, trying to place stuff in the center of your paintings. So there is a lot like we can talk for a very long time. I think I'm gonna create another video about compositions, how to compose your painting and where to put the elements of the painting. But in this case, I just want to say that if you place your object, the focal point of your painting slightly off center is going to look more pleasing than if you were to put it completely directly in the middle. Yeah. 6. Part 5: So now I'm going back to my trees. I'm not to worried that they are not going to be too dark on the tips off the branches because I already do them in with a soft pastel so kind of the center of the trees going to be dark enough. But the branches they can be a bit lighter because they consist of needles and they let some light through them. So even if they're a bit lighter, it's great because it's going to just create this kind of a more believable tree, and I'm using my pastel pencil and drawing out the trees. I'm not following the photo reference exactly as it is. I'm just trying to create the more pleasing composition, so I'm just looking at the trees just to get the idea of how the branches are growing. But I can place the trees wherever I want. Don't worry if your trees are not exactly as you see them on the reference photo, so I'm going to finish up the trees, and I just wanted to say, Let me know in the comments, if you like these kind of videos just so you can see the way I work in real time so you can find real time videos also on my patri on I do wildlife paintings. And also I am working now on ah wave study. So I will be sharing that one as well. Yes. Also, let me know if you would like to see more tutorials like this one. Or maybe you have your own ideas. I would be really interested to hear them. And if you would like to see different animals like silhouette paintings just like this one , we can do that as well. And for now I just wanted to say thank you for watching my video. I hope you enjoyed it. And if you have any questions, leave me a comment or any suggestions. I would like to hear those as well. And I will see you in the next video. Thank you for watching by