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Submitted on
November 8, 2009
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89 (who?)
Please, Remember Me by Aryenne Please, Remember Me by Aryenne
Not sure of the whole inspiration behind this piece. Mostly, I wanted to try out some pastels I bought a couple of weeks ago and I thought I'd try a different animal. Surprisingly, the sketch of the bear turned out really well really fast. I like some things about pastels, but there's other things I like better about pencils. This was a pretty fast piece. I started sketching last night. To get a finished product like this with pencils would take at least a week of working all evening. So, that's an advantage, but I think it's lacking in details. Oh, and that is a fish he's clutching close.

So . . . first polar bear in more than a decade. And first aurora borealis ever.

I might enter this into the Utah Hogle Zoo Art Show, if I get one or two other pieces I really like. I don't know. What's your thought? It this an appealing picture? An attractive style?

And I might turn them into Christmas cards. Maybe.

I would like critiques. More on using pastels, I think. I'm sure there's anatomy that needs touching up, but I'd really love to learn how to better use pastels to create the types of pieces I would like to. And maybe how to draw aurora borealises better. :aww:

Referenced from [link] by ~motubufo.
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Pastels are a lovely medium, though they can't be used properly, or at least to full effect, without the proper paper. Pastels are essentially colored dust and only paper with enough tooth will allow you to layer properly and build textures and effects. One good paper is Canson's Mi-teintes, which is double-sided with a fine tooth on one side and a harsher tooth on the others. The ColourFix paper that I used for my "Resistance" series is also nice to work on, but much more expensive. Ampersand's Pastelbord is still one of the best surfaces to work on (in my opinion), however it is also the most expensive. Rives BFK is also a nice, buttery drawing surface, which takes the pastel well. I've heard good things about velour paper (Lesley Harrison works just about exclusively on this paper), though I've yet to work with it myself. American Master's is a less-expensive printmaking paper that also does a good job of holding pastel.

On a related subject is size, you didn't state what size you were working at but pastels generally demand you to work at a larger size. Though nice to work with in pencil, 9X12 can be a bit small for pastel work (yes, all my Resistance pieces were 9X12, but they were also close, cropped images and I wasn't trying to put the subject's whole body in it) especially if you want detail.

Types of pastels as well as the quality will also make a large difference. I know that digital images never do the original justice, but from here I'm seeing what looks like "bloom" in this drawing, which is usually associated with the waxy lead of Prisma pencils. I guess my question here is: "Are these chalk pastels or are they oil pastels?" Since you've spoken of using pastel pencils before I would assume chalk, but the bloom effect I'm seeing is confusing me a bit.

Anyway, there are two types of pastels: Oil and Chalk. Oil pastels have, as named, an oil base. Chalk pastels are much more dusty and are pigment packed together by, usually, a water-based binder. I've yet to really get the grips of oil pastels, but I have had a good amount of experience with the chalk. Chalk pastels are also divided into two types, soft and hard. I usually use soft pastels as my base to lay out the colors and, at that, I usually use really cheap pastels to do it just to get the color on the paper. From there you build and layer. My typical route is to build up the base with the soft pastels and then pick up the hard pastels (usually Prisma's NuPastels) to add in my details. Hard pastels allow for sharp detail, especially if they are sharpened (either with a knife or sandpaper). However if you don't have paper with tooth you can't add detail because the pastels won't hold.

Don't be afraid to use your fingers (or a paper towel, rag, etc.) to blend. There's some lovely barrier cream made by Daniel Smith ( that protects your hands from the pigments and makes clean-up much easier as well as keeping your hands from getting dry and shriveled. You have some lovely blending on the bear, but the aurora doesn't seem to blend as well and it again makes me wonder about the quality and type of the pastels that you are using because they should be able to show more subtlety. The background just has a colored pencil feel to it and I'm not sure quite why.

A lot of this is just general information, I'd be able to give some more targeted suggestions if I had some more information as far as type of pastels, paper, etc.

Just the same I hope this was useful and good luck in your pastel journey!
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PassionIsLife Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Just wanted to let you know that this gorgeous piece has been featured here: [link]!
Aryenne Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the feature! I am very happy you like this piece. :aww:
Prollei Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2009  Student Digital Artist
I love the concept of this, I reminds me of little childrens book I used to read with all the pretty pictures in! :lol:
I love your shading in the polar bear, really, the fur looks so soft with you detail! And not to mention the colours in the Aurora Borealis, I find it so difficult to fit the colours in!
And I think you should enter this in the Utah Hogle Zoo Art Show, it is a very appealing drawing, well in my opinion! :D

Overall, I think its beautiful. :love:
Aryenne Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I am very happy you like it so much! I will do more pictures with pastels, but not until I get some other pieces out of the way. :aww:
Helens-Serendipity Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
I really like this one.. have pastels but yet to use them :blush:

aurora... doesn't it have more green/yellow?
Aryenne Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
It does have some neon green, but it washed out in the scan. First aurora. I've got lots to learn, still! I am happy you like it, though. It was fun.
Helens-Serendipity Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Aww shame.. glad your enjoying it :nod:
bladebandit Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2009
Most incredible shading here ;.; Gosh the colours just blow me away! :heart:

Loveee the effect of the aurora in the background. Love love LOVE how the colours just fade and change and wow. Beautiful! <333
Aryenne Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! I struggled with the shading, because pastels go down quite differently than pencils! I am happy you think it turned out so well, though. :D
Geor18 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
Aww this little bear is so cute!! Lovely artwork :heart:
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