Oil Pastel Etching: A Quick Guide

picture017I’ve taken to art since being diagnosed with depression. I find it’s just best to give the mind a break every once in a while and be able to focus purely on the task at hand. Etching is perfect.

Oil pastel etching is essentially layering up pastels, dark colour on light,  and then using a skewer or cocktail stick to create the pattern n top, revealing the pattern below.

I’ve seen a few examples of pretty animals, tropics, psychedelic scenes etc, but I’m currently indulging in the note behind the picture.

The best bit about etching is that you can be as detailed or as plain as you like depending on your design:

What you need:

  • Oil Pastels- colours of choice and a black
  • Good quality sketch paper, normal printer paper will be too thin
  • cocktail sticks or preferably a kebab BBQ skewer
  • pencil (optional)

1- If choosing a message or lyric, like me, sketch out block lettering across the space. It is best to colour this in contrast to the background. If you are going colour, do the lettering white. If you are having a white backdrop, then do this in colour. When shading, make the layers thick and wipe away any spare ‘crumbs’ left by the pastel.

2- Shade the rest of the background. Go wild, sometimes I like to just go wacky colours sometimes I shade some of the paper and draw shapes. There is really no one size fits all.

3- Layer up black. Black all over the page, cover everything. It may seem a shame to cover the picture but trust me, tick black layer all over.

4- Etch. Draw anything. Of you are stuck for ideas I like to draw a big swirl and follow the outside lines round for a bit to see where it goes. As I said, be as detailed as you like. I like to draw all over the page then draw lines inside the lines so that the text is easier to read. I’ve seen others that do not need as much detail. The effect is always awesome. You cannot mess one of these up!

As long as you follow the colour layer, black layer, etch formula you cannot go wrong!

I find the best effect comes from lots of tiny little lines together rather than scraping out a whole section. It just looks far more intricate.

Here’s mine:


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