Pastels and White Markings

Now that I’m finished with the race horse diorama, the various WIP ponies that had been temporarily shelved are getting my attention once again. It was very pleasant to be pastelling again. And I’ve got two horses almost finished and two just beginning, which is a nice balance. The two greys are just beginning to come to life and with be in that awkward stage for a while. The two chestnuts are near completion so I can really start to see the results of all those layers.

I’m pretty stoked with how this chestnut pony is coming out. After so many layers of chestnutty hues it was time to put in some details so I can see how the coat color is really turning out. I used a lot of different colors in the mane and tail, which was fun and challenging. I’m also super pleased with how the white markings are turning out- I think they’re my best yet. Definitely the smoothest.

I’ve always heard that to get nice smooth markings you have to do lots of layers and you want the paint to be the consistency of milk. That has always been tough for me, because it seems like when I have it that watery the brush deposits bubbles on the horse and very little pigment. This time I did something a little different. I mixed water into pigment to about the consistency of milk, but before applying to the horse I wiped the brush on a towel. So my paint was “milky” but the brush wasn’t terribly wet. And I dipped back in a lot, went slowly, and did a lot of layers. Next I’ll buff the markings with a sock, and then do another round of white.

*cue Jaws theme song*


5 responses to “Pastels and White Markings

  1. Fantastic tip for smooth white markings. I’m going to be linking to this post direct from my blog :)

  2. very cool!!! love love LOVE the chestnut pony!!! The grey pony (standing one) I cannot wait to see finished!! I bet it will look AMAZING!!

    How on earth do you get your pastels so smooth?? Mine always end up grainy…and I have no idea what I am doing wrong, I go in smooth layers with ground up pastel dust, spray in between each layer…maybe I need to try a new brush!!

    • I do a lot of layers (especially on a color like this) with light pastel dust on each layer. Make sure that you brush off the excess dust before fixativing. I use a clean makeup brush for this (see the end of this post).

      I’ve also heard that grainy pastels can be fixed by doing a second layer of fixative- sometimes the first coat doesn’t fully cover the horse, and you end up with little spots that are fixed and others that aren’t, which can make the grainy look. What fixative do you use? That may also be part of it.

      Good luck!

  3. what model is the one last here? It’s PERFECT for what I want to make… also… when using pastels… how do you do that?! Do you use a brush og the sticks of pastels or what?!

    • The model in this post is the Breyer Stablemate G3 Standing Pony, also called the Highland Pony or Athletic Pony. I usually pastel by using my brush in pastel dust, which I create by running a little knife down the edge of the pastel sticks. Some people do use the brush right on the sticks.

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