Create Textured Pastel Flowers

Hello Everyone,

I love practicing and working out my ideas on a piece of kraft paper - I have a big roll in my studio and I probably use it everyday.  I also like to repurpose my grocery bags as well -  yes, I am completely  guilty of forgetting my shopping bags when I go to the grocery store.

I thought it would be fun to share a step by step of one way that I like to use a  brown paper bag as an alternative substrate for creating. This is a great way to practice sketching, composition, color and mixing up art supplies on free paper! If you have kids, have them be your "gesso assistant" my daughter loves this job and often ends up sitting with me and creating - which is a beautiful thing!

Supply List:

Brown Paper Bag or a roll kraft paper, white or black gesso, pastels in the color palette of your choice (I combine Sennelier soft pastels and Sennelier oil pastels to create a chunky texture) charcoal pencil and a palette knife. If you  don't use pastels you can substitute with acrylic paints, watercolor or inks.



I cut a 9 x 12 rectangle out of the bag and then taped it down to my work table. Next, I added an even coat of white gesso.



Grab a couple of your favorite charcoal pencils and loosely sketch out your flowers.


This is such a good exercise to loosen up your hand. Try standing up and hold the pencil at the top while you draw. 


Select your favorite colors! I usually select three or four in a color family - dark to light. I begin with the darkest and then add in the medium color and finish up with the lightest color. I usually blend the colors with the pastels and sometimes my finger.


Begin laying down your color, work in tandem with your value range of dark to light. Create a loose charcoal outline to your petals.


Work back and forth layering your color. I  "lightly" push and pull the pastels through the colors to add more texture. Next, I added oil pastels over the soft pastels in a few areas like the center of the flowers, the leaves and a touch on the background. The chunky texture created by this technique is wonderful!  But note, it doesn't work to add soft pastels over the oils.


Adding marks in your art work will add interest and reflect your personal style. I made small tick marks and dots in charcoal and pastel to add interest. Next, I used a palette knife next to create the veins of the leaves - I particularly like the effect of scraping the palette knife through the gray oil pastel mark created a "grass like" effect in the above right image.

In addition to the little marks, I always add a large, illegible script to most of  my artwork. I set an intention, or write a quote or maybe a random thought about the process. 


The final step is to spray with a fixative.

I hope you enjoyed this little demo and I hope to have more in the future.