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Creating Ocean Art with Pastels

If you are interested in creating your own ocean art, you might want to give pastels a try! Pastels can create lovely works of art and it doesn’t take much to get used to using them. You might be surprised to find out, however, that there are many different types of pastels to choose from.

Hard Pastels
Hard pastels have more binder than they have pigment. This causes the colors created by hard pastels to be less vibrant. On the other hand, they are capable of creating a firmer texture. In addition, the extra firmness of hard pastels makes it possible to sharpen them to a point in order to do fine detail work or outlining.

Soft Pastels
Soft pastels have more pigment and less binder than hard pastels. As a result, they create a look that is often referred to as a “velvety bloom.” In addition, they are far easier to blend than hard pastels. At the same time, they are more likely to smudge. When done on purpose, this can be quite attractive. When done on accident, it can be a bit frustrating for someone who is just learning about creating art with pastels.

Soft pastels are also more likely to break. Nonetheless, these are the types of pastels that are most commonly used in classrooms. This is mostly because inexpensive sets of color pastels are commonly available. At the same time, there are many higher-quality sets of soft pastels that are used by professionals as well.

Oil Pastels
Oil pastels are another option. These pastels do not use the same type of binder as soft or hard pastels. As a result, they have a different texture that is often referred to as being “buttery.” In addition, oil pastels are more vibrant than hard pastels yet less likely to break than soft pastels. Despite being less capable of being blended, these are the types of pastels that were used by renowned artist Pablo Picasso.

Pastel Pencils
Pastel pencils are like a combination between a pastel and a colored pencil, yet they do not have a lead. Pastel pencils can be made with soft pastels or hard pastels. They are ideal for outlining, lettering, and sharpening.

Regardless of the type of pastels you use, be sure to create your art with paper designed specifically for use with pastels. This special paper is “toothed” in order to prevent bleeding of the pastels. Colored paper and pastel vellum are both available.

About the Author: Sannon Kietzman is a professional freelance writer for Fish Tank Gallery where she writes about aquariums, oceanic art, and other aquatic topics. Shannon has knowledge on a wide variety of topics and you can read more of her articles at

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