Claire has sent me her picture of a work in progress and asks:
“I attach a picture of a Rottie I am painting at the moment. I am having a lot of trouble with the black smudging even though I am using a piece of cartridge paper to rest on and, where possible working from left to right. I have used the colours you used in your Black Lab exercise. Do you think that I have used too many layers? Have you any tips on the smudging?”
This question is opportune as it is featured in our podcasts 77 & 78, where I address this problem. Black is the worst offender for this irritating situation and is not easily over come. Usually a good blow (by mouth not fist) in the centre of the subject will get rid of the dark pastel dust. The worst thing you can do is rub this out as this procedure will scuff up the paper and the subsequent dust will stick even more and make the situation worse.
You will need to graduate the areas of light and dark into each other to stop the picture looking like a black and white dog. This can be done either with pastel pencils or a colour shaper. Once you have done this your picture you will be amazed at the difference. The very deep black areas need to have more black added so that they would have no ‘sparkle’ (pastel paper showing through) try this on one section and see the difference.
I hope this article is helpful, let us know in the comments below if you have any questions.