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Pastels on a Large Scale (Intensive)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Working from still life, models or visual research and sketchbooks, students will produce at least 5 large pastel drawings with a heavily-worked surface, concentrating on one very large drawing per day. Students will discover the possibilities of Conté pastels, oil pastels and oil bars. The emphasis throughout this course will be on patiently and gradually building up well-worked surfaces. Students will ‘layer’ and merge materials, employing effective mark-making techniques using erasers, sponges, and blades.

Course Details

Special Infomation

Art and Design Materials and Equipment

Materials and equipment provided for students as part of the course and included in course fee:

  • Easels
  • Large Drawing Boards
  • Still life and model set ups
  • Primed boards

Essentials Materials and equipment students will need to provide themselves: (Estimated cost: £20 - £50 depending on usage)

for the first day:
  • Chalk/Soft Pastels Starter Kit AND /OR Conte Starter Kit (Preferably both)
  • White Conte Sticks x 3 AND / OR White Chalk Sticks x 3 (Preferably both)
  • A4/A5 Sketchbook
  • A0 (approx.) sheets of good quality ‘toothy’ paper, e.g. Arches, Rives, or Somerset etc. x 2
  • Hard Rubber
  • Putty Rubber
  • Charcoal (a few sticks for sketching)
  • Pastel Fixative
  • Masking tape
for the rest of the course:
  • Oil Pastel Starter Kit
  • Clear/Mixer Oil Bar (big/thick)
  • White Oil Bar (big/thick)
  • Black Oil Bar (big/thick)
  • Colour Oil Bars (medium/thin) x 6
  • (red, ultramarine blue, yellow, green, burnt umber brown, orange recommended)
  • Small Tub of White Spirit
  • Stanley Knife
  • Sheets of one-sided card x 2
  • Rags
  • Sponges

Content of Course

The course will be comprised of an intensive 5 day teaching block under the supervision of the tutor, Monday to Friday 10.00am to 4.00pm.

  • Day 1 - Working with chalk/conte pastels from a geometric still-life set-up. Students will be shown how to make compositional sketches and taught initial drawing skills with the media.
  • Day 2 –Working with oil pastels from a dark, spot-lit still-life set-up. Students will be taught initial drawing skills with this media.
  • Day 3 –Working on a much larger scale (A0), students will be taught drawing skills with oil bars.
  • Day 4 –Life-drawing, using either chalk/conte pastels or oil pastels or a combination of both.
  • Day 5 –Life-drawing within a complex set-up, props, etc. using media of students’ choice. Students may instead choose to work from their own research material on this day, using the skills they have learned throughout the course of the week.

Teaching method(s)

The teaching will be based and delivered in specialist art and design studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the five days, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor. Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

Learning outcomes

  • develop a confident, expressive, ‘looser’ approach to drawing with colour;
  • develop technical skill in handling Conté pastels, oil pastels and oil bars;
  • understand the significance of building up a well-worked surface through repeated ‘layering’
Transferable skills
  • using a range of pastels crayons
  • make drawings from observation using tone and colour
  • visual compositional design


Core Readings

  • Degas. Adriani, Gotz, 1940-1984
  • Complete oil paintings of Edward Hopper / commentary by Gail Levin. 2001
  • Richard Diebenkorn, works on paper. 1987
  • David Evans. Stirton, Paul. 1982
  • Alberto Giacometti : sculpture, paintings, drawings / edited by Angela Schneider ; with contributions by Lucius Grisebach ... [et al.]. Giacometti, Alberto, 1901-1966. 1994
  • Gerhard Richter : forty years of painting / Robert Storr. 2002
  • Lucian Freud. Arts Council of Great Britain. 1974

Web Sources

Web resources will be provided during the course.

Class Handouts

Class hand outs will be provided during the course.

Student support

Please contact Art and Design Studies on 0131 650 4400 if you think you have any specific study requirements that may need to be put in place to enable you to study an Art and Design Studies course. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.