My process changes constantly, what worked for this image may not work for the next one or any others in the future but hopefully you will be able to see what I do and how I do it from this little snapshot.

As always the foundation for any image is and will always be the preparation.

I chose a sanded paper for this one, Sennelier Pastel card in a sand yellow colour.

you can purchase it through amazon here .

I sketched this portrait out on this card using a 0.5 HB lead from Rotring.

Sketch of a face on sennlier pastel card
Sketch of Chazz on Sennelier pastel card.

I chose then to work in a Verdaccio style, using a lot of greens, yellows and creams to lay out the highlights and shadows of the face. I used a combination of cheap unbranded dry pastels and Conté a Paris Pastel pencils to lay it out. I am not really fond of green as a colour and quite often struggle to visualise the colour so this was quite a challenge for me.

Verdaccio style of lighting and shawos on a pastel pencil piece
Verdaccio shadows and highlights


I then go into everything with Prismacolour Premier  coloured pencils, their soft waxy nature is not great with the sandpaper texture of the paper and I quickly found they needed to be sharpened quite often, coupled with the known fragility of Prismacolor leads does not make it viable to do larger pieces in this style with them.

skintones with prismacolor coloured pencils
Building up skin tones over the green with Prismacolor Coloured Pencils


From here on in it is a matter of layering, I tried to work without any fixatives as Sennelier pastel card does not react well to wet materials, and the cheaper dry pastels were guaranteed to change colour or shift to a different tone when they were sprayed.

I can’t honestly tell you the colour selection I use for skin tones as I am usually in a flow at this point and shift colours often, combining with cream, white and pale greys on top of red, browns, blues and purples. In another post I will try and make a conscious effort to note the colours I use for skin.

Skin tones with Prismacolor Premier Pencils
Building up skin tones with Prismacolor Premier Pencils

I keep working on this in this manner until I am happy (or until the paper is too saturated to take any more)

It should be noted that I do not burnish as a final effect, I am not a fan of the finish of a burnished piece and am notorious for returning to an image to change a colour or make an adjustment, it is not always possible with a burnished piece.

Finished portrait using prismacolor premier coloured pencils.
Finished Portrait of Chazz.