Portrait Drawing Materials and Techniques

pastel is a permanent, vibrant drawing medium
charcoal gives a classic look

Pastel is a drawing medium known for its immediacy, flexibility and brilliance of color. Pastels are almost pure color, with a weak gum or methylcellulose binder that is used to mould the pigments into sticks. Because there is no heavy medium, and the pigments are minerals, the colors never fade or yellow.

I do my charcoal drawings on toned paper, which allows me to bring out highlights in a lighter pastel. This gives a classic look - many Renaissance artists used the same technique - and a strong feeling of depth.

I use high quality, dyed in the pulp, acid free paper, which is resistant to aging. The paper won't fade, turn yellow or become brittle.

Charcoal and pastels are stable materials that don't change color or fade. With proper framing, your portrait could last hundreds of years!