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Step by Step Oil Pastel Painting

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coco oil pastel image 1  

Image 1:

The first stage is the initial blocking in of shapes and laying down of basic colours, textured only minimally.

During this beginning stage, I use only the oil pastel sticks themselves, since my intention is simply to map out future colours and tones quickly & loosely.

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Image 2:

Next, I use a rounded blending tool to smooth together the existing oil pastel on the paper. This is again a rough stage, meant only to give me a sense of the general shape, blended colour and shading of Coco. It allows me to assess the overall look and how the painting is evolving, noting adjustments to colours, etc, where needed.


coco oil pastel image 2

His eyes are developed further, adding depth and highlights at this early stage in order to give me a focal point.

coco's eye detail

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coco oil pastel image 3  

Image 3:

At this point, I begin to layer further oil pastel over the blended draft base, particularly adding shadow to his chest area. These are small amounts added a little at a time then blended in as I go. Colour alterations are made at this stage by using a finger to gently smooth over fine hatched lines of new oil pastel, blending them into the painting beneath.

Using finer tools, texture is added to the markings around his face, his ears are defined, and shadows & highlights are blended into his tail and legs.

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Image 4:

I cover the under-shadows of his chest with several overlays of white, smoothed lightly with fingers after each application. By gradually building thin layers of white over the already blended brown & grey beneath, the hair becomes almost translucent, giving the impression of depth & softness.

coco's blended white fur close up

Further detailing and shading are blended in throughout. Fine texturing is added where colours & shadows end and meet. The outer shape of his tail is formed.


coco oil pastel image 4

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coco final image  


Final detailing and soft blending of all areas with fingers and fine tools. Tiny lines are added in various spots to give the effect of individual hairs. The edges of Coco's body are softened, while whiskers and individual touches are added to his face & eyes.

detail of coco's face

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