Sunday, May 2, 2010

How to Fix Pastel Mistakes

I want to talk about giving your eye a rest.  I may have brought this up before but I'll touch on it again because I think it's very important.  If you don't have a peaceful area in your work then it's going to seem frantic.  In this drawing that I did of my daughter and her grandma's dog you can see a barren part where the sidewalk is.  It adds to the calmness of the image.  Part of the moment in time-casually walking the dog on a toasty summer day with nothing to rush you.  That's part of the beauty of grandparents' homes.  They're refuges against the storm of everyday life.  I hope that's conveyed in this drawing of Gracie and Sophie.  So remember to put a little "peace" into your art work.

The other photo has to do with a little tip I got off of another blog.  I can't remember which (sorry and drat) but it has to do with pastels.  I was reminded of it because whenever I look at this drawing I think of it's sister drawing-the one that is/WAS in pastels.  I say "was" because I happily ripped it up and put it in the trash.  I'm not an accomplished pastel artist, at all.  So, of course, the most important part of the whole drawing was my daughter's face and I smudged it.  Blaaaa.  It sat in a drawer in my studio for quite a while just waiting for me to discover how to fix it.  Here's the tip:

The packing tape that ate Chicago (bought by my husband at his favorite close out warehouse.  My son, Charlie, said it will probably last us the rest of our lives and I think he's right.  Notice the paper clip?  It's there for a reason-other wise you will NEVER find the end again.  Never means never.

  1.  Take a piece of clear packing tape and place it on the drawing where you want to remove the pastel.  CAREFULLY let it stick a little-a little is key here- and pull it off.  You might have to do it multiple times but don't be a dumb bell like me and scrape it on to make sure the tape is sticking because it will pull up the pastel paper also and then it's ruined.  Be patient and do it in stages.

  2.  Then spray the area with a spray fixative for pastels.  Be sure to buy the workable kind.  Then you can just rework the pastel on top of it.  Now I would test it out before you try it on your very nice drawing that needs fixing. You might hastily do what I did and that way you can spank your hands and start over.

I like the pastel pencils because they seem to have more control to them and, if you remember from my post about mosaics, I'm not into messy art as much as possible.  These keep your hands relatively clean.


  1. Great tip on fixing errors on pastels. I have used fixatives before set on area that I was working but I never knew how to clean up an error or smear. Nice.

  2. Thanks, Josh!

    Just remember on the pastels to always be cautious when fixing this way

  3. Hey Julie! Great thoughts on peaceful places, love how you think - and LOVE your drawing, you are one of the most versatile artists I've ever met! Your paintings below are gorgeous. No matter what medium you use, you make it sing - I really mean it. I was never good at pastels, but I'm sure many folks out there will benefit from your experience.

    Have a great day! Susan