Sunday 5 November 2017

Painting a forest scene in soft pastel medium

"The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth." Ezra Pound ( Courtesy: )

The paper that I use most often for my soft pastel works is "Canson Mi Teintes" which fortunately comes in assorted colours. This works as an advantage because choosing the right colour for the subject makes a lot of difference. To know more about the different shades and its specific names you can visit the site DICKBLICK. I normally use Twilight, Tobacco, Sand and Moonstone but I am open to experimenting and exploring with the other colours as well.

For my today's soft pastel painting I decided to go with black Canson MT paper as I wanted the foreground and part of the middle ground to be dark and in shadows. This is a beautiful scene from Karnala Bird Sanctuary and I love this place as I get to walk through different muddy pathways. It is densely populated with trees and in the morning hours I get the perfect light and shadow scenes. 

I have titled this painting "A walk through the shadows" as it reminds me of those beautiful moments in the tranquil nature. 

A soft pastel painting of a forest landscape by Indian artist Manju Panchal

A walk through the shadows
A soft pastel painting on Canson MT paper
Size 5"X 7"

The soft pastel painting as above progressed in stages and the images can be seen as below. The broken pastels that can be seen around are from Mungyo, Gallery, Camlin and Koh-I-Noor. I also have a set of 24 dark Sennelier pastels which I use towards the end as they are very very soft.

Step by step, a soft pastel painting of a landscape

Step 1. Creating the basic outline of the main elements
using white soft pastel pencil and blocking in the colours
of the winding pathway and the distant foliage.

Step by step, a soft pastel painting of a landscape

Step 2. Blocking in the major shapes with respective colours
keeping in mind the source of light and atmospheric perspective.

In the final stages, I redo the layering of colours, making changes where ever required. All the detailing happens in the end.

Before I begin any painting, I create small "Thumbnail sketches" or "Tonal value studies" which help me understand the subject well and these little ten minute works enable me to decide on the best composition. Two of the small quick art studies can be seen below. The black and white study has been done using a single Staedtler 8B pencil. I have started using this pencil quite recently and am enjoying it. Both are sized 2" X 3".

Tonal value sketch and study sketch of a forest landscape

Tonal value sketch & Thumbnail sketch
of a landscape.

Thank you all for visiting my blog. If you are into soft pastel medium I would love to know about the papers you use. Do leave in a comment. Browse through my other artworks on my INSTAGRAM page.


  1. Lovely landscape and thanks for sharing the process of creating it

  2. Thanks Mr Sunil for appreciating my work and I am happy that you liked my blogpost