I recently came across my Mom’s old pastel tools….she sent them to me years ago along with a bunch of boxes of all sorts of brands of pastels she used for years! I did a drawing or two and kept saying I’d get back to them….and it’s about time. I’ve been seeing a lot of hyperrealistic wildlife art on Instagram that gave me motivation!

Meet Mom’s pastel shapers – and what turns out to be a pencil sharpener!

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.

First, about Colin Bradley!

I found him by looking for videos on HOW to use the pastel shapers I’d found in Mom’s stuff. And he has a treasure trove of video instruction. Do you miss Bob Ross? You’ll enjoy Colin.

I just signed up for his online school – the lifetime membership, which converts to $273 for those wondering. Crazy amounts of content, and I’m excited to even have his videos running while I’m working on other stuff. It gets quiet around here and I think he’ll be a soothing voice in the studio – not to mention all his wonderful art tips. For all of you who keep saying I need to teach animal classes? See if Colin is up your alley! (And no I get no commission, I’m just a fan.)

And now, my video

I did attempt to use a hand held pencil sharpener but that only sometimes worked. If the pencil was too soft – the navy blue just didn’t want to play nice – then the only solution is a knife or sandpaper block.

Watch the video below or click HERE to see it on YouTube.

The projects

First I tried a regular card, using the Life Lasts set, new from Colorado Craft Company. I had to mask out just the tiniest but of one leaf and the bird’s head to get them to nest together nicely. But I did this on Arches Drawing Paper which got weirdly pilly. I’ve not been a superfan of the paper, but I’m trying a lot on it to see if I find a sweet spot for what works well. This aint it, lol!

There was the slightest bit of black ink that was moved into the color on the card – so I decided not to try black ink again. Instead – I had actual pastel paper, so gave it a whirl. Bigger texture, not as soft – but it worked like a charm. (I also have some pastelbord to try too.) And since I like working on colored papers this was enjoyable!

When finished, both got 2 coats of fixatif. Float the spray down over the art from 6-12 inches, a light coat, then a second light coat. It darkens the color – so if you don’t want the color change, just frame it asap.


There’s suppose to be a bloghop today with CCC – but I didn’t get a list, so check it out by hading over to the CCC blog!


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