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How to draw and color a butterfly using soft pastels

Updated on March 27, 2013
Colors used in the butterfly
Colors used in the butterfly

Steps to make and color a butterfly

Simple butterfly drawing
Simple butterfly drawing | Source

Easy Butterfly drawing and coloring using soft pastels

There are many different types of pastels available such as oil pastels, hard pastels, pan pastels or pencil pastels. Among all types of pastels it is these soft pastels that are artists favorite and i myself too love to use these most of the time. It is best for those who doesn't like wet mediums or cannot wait for long hours for the painting to dry. Beautiful paintings and textures can be made using soft pastels. If you are a beginner try to purchase a small pack and try making some simple drawing like a butterfly as explained in this hub.

Understanding soft pastels -

1. Soft pastels are chalk like colors which is due to less amount of binder present in it.

2. For color blending, soft pastels are the easiest medium available where with your finger or cotton you can do all the color blending.

3. Your hands will get dirty because of their powdery nature but i believe artist don't care about this and specially children.

4. Various painting techniques can be achieved with soft pastels like, blending, dry brush, gradation, masking, feathering and many textures.

5. As these are powdery pastels, so a fixative is required after completing the painting to prevent it from smudging.

6. Surface should have some grains for the color to fix, should not be very smooth.

7. Fixing errors are very easy with these because these can be removed with cotton or overdo the area.

8. Soft pastels are considered good for working on broader areas but fine and intricate areas can be done after some practice and knowledge of how the sticks work.

Materials required -

Plain pastel sheet (i have used a green color),

Set of 12 soft pastels colors,

Dry piece of cloth, Cotton,

Pencil, eraser,

Fixative if required, It should only be used in used in final paintings, keep your practice work inside plastic transparent sheets.

This particular butterfly tutorial is for the beginners of any age group and very easy to start so follow the steps,

Steps -

1. Draw a sketch of butterfly using HB pencil,

2. Draw the inside texture of butterfly,

3. Fill light green color inside the upper feathers,

4. Do outlining with black color, this part needs to be done carefully.

5. Make some yellow and white strokes on green color use your finger to blend..

6. Keep working on the background using red first and dark pink over red, keep blending the background colors, this is important because it stands out your drawing.

7. For the lower feather fill the inside with yellow, do outlining with black.

8. Do little strokes with white and orange and blend,

9. Using the colors used and your finger fill in the fine left out areas.

10. Make some final touches by fixing the errors if any.

Note - Black outlining must be done fine edges of black it is slightly difficult initially to make fine lines using soft pastels.

Precautions while using soft pastels -

1. Please keep a cloth while using soft pastels as you will need to clean your hands regularly.

2. Keep the colors inside the box sponge case in which it comes as they get dirty easily.

3. As these are dusty so you can cover your nose and mouth. But it is not essential.

4. Apply fixative in open area because the smell is very strong. Another good option if you wish to avoid fixative is by framing the artwork.

Some helpful tips -

Use a kneaded eraser to lift off the area to be corrected.

Use a colored paper and not white as this helps in saving the color quantity and saves the time because white requires lot of color to hide the grains completely. Even a black or a dark brown color looks very nice.

Knowledge of color wheel will be of great help while mixing colors and shading.

Pastels are cuboid shape so you can create strokes by keeping and pulling the long edges of the color stick.

Try not to use sealers or fixatives too often, rather find ways to keep the art pieces safely till it is framed, like keeping it inside the plastic sheet or inserted between to sheets of soft papers.


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