Explore Pastel Pencils with Martin Aveling

Pastel pencils – the marmite medium of the pencil world. Other brands are, well vegemite?  Anyway, it can certainly be said that some people have struggled to get to grips with this medium.

Pastel pencil drawing of a young mountain gorilla by Martin Aveling

Your entry into drawing has many different paths, each boasting a range of different utensils from big chunks of charcoal to a sharply tapered 2B. Every colour of the rainbow features, and blends there of. Soft ones, hard ones, popular ones and less popular ones. But we who know pastel pencils, love them.

I was introduced to pastel pencils when I needed to draw a hartebeest skull for a school exam. They were perfect for the job and I have used them ever since. Once you get past the crumble frustrations and learn that it’s all about pressure, then if you have the time, you will really enjoy yourself.

Try this. Give yourself 30 minutes, a full hour even better. Draw three layers of the same shape, light to dark. Let each layer run a little wild, but for the most part stay within the vicinity of your shape.

Let me know how you find it?

Pastel pencil drawing of a Dodo by wildlife artist, Martin Aveling

In order to get the best out of this medium, you must give it time. Although seemingly hard within its wooden case, the pastel pencil has a soft edge that cracks when too much force is applied to the page. The temptation is the rush in for that instant hit, but it doesn’t work that way. And it shouldn’t. Think about it. If you love creating, then you get to create for longer!

The very best thing about pastel pencils, in my opinion, is how efficiently they blend. This gives you a colour spectrum that you’ll only ever brush the surface of, even when you have been using them for as long as I have. The process is very much like sculpting, but on a micro level. I try to imagine myself as a tiny ant, moving bits of scattered pigment around the page with purpose. When tightly packed together the effect is a solid form, like the beak of a bird for example. More sparsely assembled gives you a softer texture, like feathers. You are not done with a line once it has been laid down. That is when you go to work, carefully sculpting until you achieve the desired effect.

If you take anything away from this it would be to Jedi train your hand to hover and control the pressure you apply. Once you master this, you’ll be amazed by the versatility of this wonderfully tactile medium.

If you would like to learn more about pastel pencils, please check out Martin’s YouTube channel here.

Find out more about Martin Aveling via his website www.avelingartworks.com

Shop the Derwent Pastel Pencil collection here.