Making white appear bright over other colours is a common dilemma when using Pastel Pencils. One of our students Judy experienced this recently and sent in the following email:
I have a question using a white pastel pencil to highlight and add finishing strokes over other colors, like fine hair etc. When Colin does it, it looks so nice and shows up so well but when I add white to my later stages it just doesn’t show up as bright and looks “muddy” on the colors I am trying to highlight.
It’s a few things that cause this, as we know pastel pencils work at their best when worked light to dark. Therefore when light colours are applied over dark you cannot expect the light colour to be bright.
White travelling over layers of darker colours cannot show up true white. It does help to ensure the white has a very sharp point this will cut through the dark tones and produce a better white effect, as with whiskers for example.
It is therefore wise to apply the lighter colours first and try to retain the brightness rather than wait until layers of dark tones are applied. Then expect the chosen light colours to react as required on top of them.
It is worth thinking ahead when you know that light colours will be needed as final colour effects and change the applications accordingly.
I hope that’s helpful, if you have experienced this problem – what’s your solution? Let us know in the comments.