Welcome To My Pastel Washes Page.

I have made this page up to hopefully explain how I do my pastel washes on my figures, as I have just realised that I have not done this yet because I have various pieces of information spread out on my other pages, and I have never got around to putting all of the information together in one place.


Important Note: Make sure that you keep the brushes that you use for any pastel washes separate from the other brushes, because as I was reminded by Paul (308). If you use the same brushes for both the paint and pastels you can cross-contaminate the pastel wash, with the chemicals (thinners) that you clean the paint brushes with and like me you can end up ruining the headsculpts.


Plus it is better if you buy the softest and best brushes to do this with as it does have an effect on the end result, and I recommend staying away from the synthetic haired brushes and go for the artists or modellers type of brushes instead. Synthetic artist paint brushes are good for acrylic painting such as 1:35th scale, but for the purpose of pastel washes they don't absorb water, and they tend to be cheaper. Whereas with the natural artist or modellers paint brushes they are a good for this task especially the bristle brushes, such as the squirrel or sable brushes which are both natural but they can be expensive.


The type of brushes that I use are shown on the right.

A - is the one that I use to put the pastel wash onto the headsculpt as I find that the flat brush is best for getting the wash onto the head.

B & C - are the one's that I use for blending the almost dry washes on the head.

D - I use for lightly drybrushing and blending the dry Flesh coloured pastel chalk on the head.

Pastel Chalk Dust

The chalks that I prefer to use for this are the soft artists chalk pastels (not the Oil pastels) like the one's made by Faber Castell, as they can be bought separately which is a lot cheaper than buying a set. To do the pastel washes I first have to get some dust, and what I use is a foam sanding pad, and all I do as in the picture above left is gently rub the pastel chalk onto the pad and then add some water to it. This then gives me the 'mix' I need to do the pastel wash on the head. For the Brown pastel I use one side, and for the flesh colour I just turn the pad over.


Note: I have found that by using a Light Brown chalk pastel it adds only a slight tint to the face as shown right, otherwise the face will become too dark when the chalk dries completely. Also, I have found that with the different manufacturers paint that they use on the heads, it is better to use a light pastel chalk to add the darker colour.

Pastel Chalk Wash

1. 2.  3.  4.  5.   6.

These pictures are of the pastel wash that I gave the DiD William Bowman head as it comes from out of the box.


1. The first picture above shows the head as it came from the boxed figure.


2. The pastel chalk has been mixed with some water, and just lightly brushed over the head (A), making sure that I let it run into all the creases of the face and especially the eyes. Note: The Brown chalk has slightly darkened the face, and this can be a problem if you use too dark a Brown pastel chalk.


3. Here the head is almost dry, and the next step is to remove most of the pastel chalk from the head.

Pastel Chalk Removal

4. This picture is of the partially dried chalk has been wiped off gently with a moist tissue, this is to remove most of the chalk from the highlights of the head. Note: Try not to rub too hard on the face when wiping the wash off the head, as this can create a shine on the original paint.


5. Depending how damp the tissue is, and how much of the chalk remains in the creases it should start to look like this. Note: Sometimes I have to go back over the head again with some water and a touch of the pastel chalk, to get the Brown colour back into the face creases again. As it dries, I blend the colour into the face with the dry paint brush (B & C).

Pastel Chalk Highlights

6. This is the headsculpt after I have left it aside to dry for a few minutes, and I have added a light drybrush of the Flesh pastel chalks (D). All the head needs now is a wet fine pointed paintbrush to remove the chalk from the eyes and lips. When that is dry I put a drop of clear gloss varnish on the pupils of the eyes to make them shiny, and on the line between the lips. Note: I have found out by trial and error, that sometimes the lighter pastel chalk can add too much of a highlight. And it is not until I photograph the headsculpt do I realise it, so now I do the drybrush, take a picture and see what the effect is like and add or remove as necessary.


Final Reminder Note: You can see in the pictures above how the Brown chalks alter the colour of the paint, so this is why I recommend using a lighter Brown pastel chalk for this process.

I would like to thank Paul (308) for his help with my paintbrushes.


Top of Page