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How to Draw a Rose With Pastels

Updated April 17, 2017

When artists want to illustrate nature, many turn to the medium of pastels to express themselves. Pastels are crayons or pencils made of pure pigment and bound with gum or wax, making them an ideal choice for creating softly shaded and vibrant works. You may use oil pastels, soft or hard pastels. Oil pastels are the most vibrant and allow colours to build on top one another in thick layers. However, soft and hard pastels are ideal for blending shades together. Choose whichever best suits you and your project type.

Use a graphite pencil to draw a soft outline of the rose you want to draw. Do not press too hard, as indentations in the paper will result in uneven pastel application.

Outline the drawing with a thin pastel. Use a colour that is one shade darker than the hue you intend to use to fill in the rose's petals. Press gently to avoid breaking the crayon.

Fill in the rose's petals with colour. Use a dark shade towards the edges, both towards the outside of the petals and towards the rose's centre. Use a light shade towards the middle of the petals, as this is where the light naturally hits, making the shade appears brighter. Use a white pastel as a highlighter when you get to the points on the rose where light might shine directly.

Blend the shades and highlighting within the rose's petals together using the corner of a paper towel.

Use a slightly darker shade to illustrate the underside of the rose's petals. These petals are especially apparent in the centre of the flower and if you are looking at the rose from the side.

Include a stem and a background if you wish. Do not forget to include elements of the rose's greenery, such as the stamen, leaves and thorns. Try to make your drawing look as botanically accurate as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Graphite pencil
  • Thin pastels
  • Thick pastels
  • Paper towel
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About the Author

Andrea Hamilton has enjoyed being a writer since 1996. She has been published as a poet in "Fine Lines Magazine." Hamilton holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Iowa State University and is pursuing a Master of Arts in creative writing from London South Bank University.