Skull-A-Day 4.0 - Tutorial #5 - Skull with Water Lilies - Oil Pastel

Since oil pastel is a medium I'm very unfamiliar with, I have no tutorial for how to properly use them. I also didn't use one. I can offer a few tips though...

Before applying the oil pastels, I sketched out the design using pencil. With the help of my trusty skull model, I was able to achieve the odd angle of a sinking skull. I used photos of lilies and lily pads to draw the plants. I suggest making this a light drawing (or erasing parts before oil pastel use in that part), because the light colors of the pastel do not work well over the pencil. However, the dark colors cover the pencil well.

The only tool I used was my finger because it melts the oil in the pastel a bit and if I need to change colors, it's easy to reuse by wiping it clean with a paper towel or cloth. I used my finger to blend and spread color. It can be a tough material to blend, but if you use a paper with a better grit to it (I used normal sketch book paper), you might be able to manipulate the pigment better. If you don't want to use your finger, cotton swabs are another option. They might work better than a finger for small areas too. If you do make a mistake, you can use either a cloth or cotton swab to remove the oil pastel from the offending area and then redo the area. After a few days, the oil pastel will harden. You can still add color to it, but you won't be able to manipulate the existing material on the paper.

If you want to frame the piece, it is suggested to use a mat to create a space between the piece and the glass. This might be to prevent moisture and smudging, or because of the texture, to not distort it. Either way, using a mat with the frame will protect the piece. The width is up to you, it's just the thickness of the mat that helps.


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