I'd like to get back into drawing and looking for some advice.
April 3, 2012 1:47 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to get back into drawing and looking for some advice.

I have a natural talent for drawing and my mother and my husband think I should get back into it. I'm starting to think I should as well.

I haven't really done much in the way of art in the past 15 years or so. Before that I took private art lessons for a bit and did a lot of drawing on my own. I primarily worked with oil pastels, but I've also worked with charcoal and pencil.

I think I would like to work with is something that comes in many colors, is soft and smudge-able and with which I could have fine control. I was thinking of trying out some pastel pencils, but I've never used them before. Would you recommend them? Are there any other media I should check out? I'm also thinking of getting an easel (never had one before), any recommendations? I would also appreciate suggestions on where to buy online. I've bought some stuff from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff in the past, so I guess I would just shop there again.
Thank you!
posted by disaster77 to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, silly me. I have Amazon Prime and there are art supplies on there, so that is where I'll buy online.
posted by disaster77 at 1:52 PM on April 3, 2012

I think that's awesome to get back into it! I've considered it myself recently. I dabbled in chalk pastels, not the oils. I really enjoyed those. I'd suggest to just go for it - whatever you want to work with and try out. I'm sure pastel pencils are easy enough to jump into. Or maybe even try watercolors, if you want to go with a different medium. I don't have professional training. Warning: Just a hobbyist, not a pastel or watercolor geek... (cough cough)

If you have to order online, you can order from Dick Blick.
(Just a side note - they are located in my hometown, but I see them recommended on here a lot. And on a real side note, they treat their employees unbelievably great. I have two relatives who work there and they really like it. So you'd be supporting a great place!)

Have fun!
posted by foxhat10 at 1:59 PM on April 3, 2012

Check out wetcanvas.com for discussions on different materials. And if you have the funds, it's a lot of fun to just get a pile of new/different things to test.

The Art Students League in NYC is great for people who want to study art but without enrolling in an expensive fine arts school. Might check and see if there's anything like that in your area.

Have fun!
posted by bunderful at 2:01 PM on April 3, 2012

Pastel pencils are fun, as are regular pastels.
I'd keep things simple. A simple pad of paper and a set of pencils.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:31 PM on April 3, 2012

You might enjoy watercolor pencils -- you can use them like regular colored pencils, but you can also add a water wash. Get a quality brand. I like Derwent. I'm sure there are other good brands, and agree that WetCanvas is fantastic for getting advice.
posted by Wordwoman at 2:46 PM on April 3, 2012

I really got back into painting when I got my iPad. I achieve reasonably convincing chalk pastel effects with the Procreate app.

I'm much more likely to get started working if there's no stuff to unpack or put away. No mess either. The drawback of course, is the lack of a genuine hard copy when you finish. (self links are ok in answers, right?)
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:03 PM on April 3, 2012

I think your intuition is correct. Pastel pencils, and pastels. Maybe supplement with good ol' Prismacolors for your sharper lines.

You might give conté crayons a shot if you haven't yet.

I'd recommend a portable drawing board over an easel for now, since easels can be pretty expensive and as you say you're just getting back into it.
posted by furiousthought at 3:35 PM on April 3, 2012

Pastel pencils are great for details but hard to cover large areas, so I'd rec both the pastel pencils along with a small set of regular pastels. Personally I like the harder chalk feel of the faber castell small set, or prismacolor nupastels (both are hard pastel) and the soft buttery prismacolor (30?) half sticks (soft pastels). And having both a hard pastel set and a soft pastel set is nice for variety - you get different strokes from either that can complement each other nicely. The soft pastels have a more painting type effect.

Don't worry about getting all the colors. They have huge pastel pencil and pastel sets but you don't need those right now and having too many colors can actually hinder you from learning good blending and layering technique.

Conte sticks (usually come in brown/black/tan/white, though I've seen the color set in the catalog, never tried them) are similar to pastels in their smudginess and blendability. They are a bit harder than hard pastels and can be easily made to a point with a little sandpaper for quick sketching. Also looks pretty nice on dark or neutral toned paper.

Happy art-ing!
posted by everyday_naturalist at 11:33 PM on April 3, 2012

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