Tiffany has long expressed her admiration of Derwent products, and several of her drawings have been featured on the products themselves, including St Paul’s Cathedral on the Derwent Chalk Pastel Tin. Always eager to share advice and help artists at home to develop their skills, the creatives at Derwent asked Tiffany how she would use their pastels to create a piece of still life artwork. You can read about her process and artistic tips below.
- Derwent Pastels: Spectrum Orange, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, Indigo, Cyan, Cadmium Red, Crimson, Raspberry, Graphite Grey, French Grey Light, Aluminium Grey, Carbon Black, Titanium White and Blending White.
- Colourfix Fine tooth pastel paper in Blue Haze
- Paper stump
- Kneadable eraser
- Craft knife
We are going to draw a still life of a teacup, teapot, spoon and biscuit using Derwent Pastels. The paper used has a fine tooth to it, a bit like sandpaper, which grips the pastel well and shows off the colours. A pale blue paper was used to create the effect of under painting and is ideal as a colour for the tablecloth.
Lightly draw out the objects using a grey pastel. The corners of the pastels are ideal for drawing fine lines. Make sure your ellipses are correct. You can always check by using tracing paper. Draw out one side of the cup and then fold the tracing paper in half, draw an exact copy on the other side. This saves a great deal of rubbing out.
Work from right to left if left handed (like in this project) or vice versa if right handed, this will ensure you don’t smudge the pastel while working. Layer the colours onto the paper, building up your required shade of colour. Remember to shade behind the objects to make them stand out more. Blend the pastels using your finger or a paper stump. Work on the background first to make sure your balance of light and shade is correct.
The beauty of these pastels with this paper is that you are able to add more and more colour. Mix up your colour on the paper and keep the texture of the pastels on the tiles. Run a Titanium White pastel in between each tile to create the grout effect. Next is to start on the teapot handle. Build up colour using Cadmium Red, Crimson, Raspberry and Spectrum Orange, smudging the colour together with either your finger or paper stump.
Gradually build up the teapot colours, adding extra depth of colour around the edges to make sure the teapot looksround. Use some Aluminium Grey and Carbon Black around the handle base for shadow. Don’t worry about adding the highlights now; we will do this at the end.
Let’s work on the teacup. Using Cerulean Blue, Indigo, Cyan, Prussian Blue and Ultramarine, lightly begin to build up the blue tones until the blue cup has the correct shadows, highlights and lowlights. You can see on this image how the texture of the paper shows through before you blend the colours together.
Lay out a variety of blue colours that you would like to use on the tea cup. Build up your colour gradually. Deepen the blue towards the back of the teacup. To get fine lines, you can sharpen your pastel using a craft knife. The point on the pastel keeps sharp for quite a while. Yellow Ochre, Titanium White and French Grey Light have been used for the tea inside the cup.
Using Aluminium Grey, Graphite Grey and Carbon Black, begin work on the spoon. As these pastels have a semi-hard texture they can keep a sharp point making it easier to enhance the look of the metal on the spoon by building up the colours. Add the reflection of the biscuit using Yellow Ochre. Use the Blending White to enhance the sharp lines of the spoon. If you smudge the pastel, it can be easily lifted off using a kneadable eraser moulded into a point, this technique can also be useful for highlighting.
Next is the biscuit. The natural texture of the pastel is perfect for biscuits! There is no need to blend them together. Layer the Yellow Ochre, Titanium White, French Grey Light and Raspberry with a touch of Carbon Black for the shadow of the jam. The French Grey is used for the deep groove as it has a brown tone to it and Yellow Ochre for the highlights to enhance the biscuit shape, showing off the bumps.
Once you have completed the biscuit, we can start on the tablecloth. The colour of the paper has already given us a starting point. Use Aluminium Grey and Titanium White, very lightly, until you have built up enough colour. Use a tiny bit of Carbon Black, on its side, also very lightly, underneath each object for the shadows. Use the paper stump to blend the colours together to achieve a soft cotton tablecloth look.
If there are any areas that need highlighting or shading, add them now. Use Carbon Black for shadows, as it makes the whole picture ‘pop’. Just use it sparingly. It is now at this point that we can add the highlights and shine on the objects using the Blending White. This is also a good time to tidy up any small areas using your paper stump or kneadable eraser.
TOP TIP: To check your drawing, look at it in a mirror, tweaks that need to be made will show up by looking at it in reverse.