watercolor pastel tutorial

How to Use Watercolor Pastel (Blending Watercolor Paint with Soft Pastel)

Watercolor pastel effect is a bit of an advance watercolor technique, but if you are looking to take your watercolor art to the next level, it is something you must try!

In today’s lesson, we will explain how to perfectly blend a pastel finish on top of your dried watercolor piece.

Thanks, Colin, for your help on this watercolor tutorial! Take it away!

This tutorial was created by artists who have handpicked supplies just for you.
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Adding Watercolor Pastel to your Piece

For the sake of this tutorial, we will begin at a point after you have painted your watercolor piece and have let it dried completely. 

Let’s begin.


Step 1: Add pastel contour to your Watercolor Painting

Using watercolor pastel to add some enhancements to your painting is a great way to bring your watercolor art some life. In this example, Colin has started by adding some white contour to some of his shapes – like the tops of bushes or to add sheen to the water.

Watercolor pastel: green shading

Step 2: Lighten up contrasting areas

Using a white pastel, you can lighten the contrast between two shapes or features of your painting. In the example, Colin has added white in-between things like the water and the background greenery in order to add definition.

These additions are hardly noticeable to a naked eye, but adds much contrast to the overall production. 

If you ever feel as though you’ve added too much white, use a similar color pastel pencil to the white based on the color of the element you’re contrasting. In this painting, Colin added too much white in-between the tree and water and has covered it with a light yellow pastel on top of the white to make the transition more natural.

Watercolor pastel: white highlights

Step 3: Brighten the vibrance of your painting

As you can see, Colin has added red pastel to brighten the reflection of the tree in the water.

Watercolor pastel: red shading

Step 4: Add subtle enhancements until satisfied

Continue to add small enhancements. Watercolor pastel pencils never need to be noticeable to the passerby. If only they add to the overall piece, you have done it well. 

As you can see below, the finished product doesn’t look too changed from how the tutorial began. Sometimes, less is more.

Watercolor pastel: on watercolor paint

Adding Watercolor Pastel to Your Art!

Finishing your watercolor paintings with a touch of watercolor pastel is just one way to improve your craft. We hope this watercolor technique will help you in your pursuit to master the skill of watercolor paint. 

If you would like more watercolor ideas, feel free to check out our tutorials featuring watercolor animals, plants, landscapes, and even watercolor cards. Whatever you need, there is likely to be a tutorial.

Feel free to share your progress with your watercolor pastel learning in the comment section below!

This tutorial was created by artists who have handpicked supplies just for you.
Click below to shop with a 30% discount.

About the Author: Watercolor Classes

Hello, and welcome to our site. We've been passionate about watercolor for years and have learned a lot along the way. We hope our tutorials and tips will help you out on your watercolor journey. Let's make art together!

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