Thought I would taken oceans of pictures on the progress for this portrait.  I’m often asked about building up skin tones so I hope I’ve shown it better than normal.
I’m experimenting with working a little larger and loving the amount of detail it allows you to fit it!  This took me 5 full days with about 7 or 8 hours a day.  I worked from reference photos and have also sketched his face several times in preparation for this.
I’m using velour pastel paper mounted on self adhesive mount board.  The pastels I’ve used are mostly Unison, some Ashby, a Faber Castell black pastel stick and some Pitt pastel pencils.  Good to have a selection at hand for different jobs.

The finished portrait 18″x25″ Pastel on velour


This is the very first drawing stage on cartridge
paper which is easier to sketch and rub out on.
I very lightly sketch it out adjusting constantly
as I go.


Refined a little further on the cartridge paper I’m almost
ready to cover the back of this in dark pastel and
transfer it onto the velour.


This is it transferred onto velour and refined a little
more with a pastel pencil.  I’m still adjusting the
proportions slightly here but when I am ready to
go into colour I’ve usually got it quite accurate then
I only have small tweaks to make as I go.


Background in before the subject.


Starting to layer in some undertones for the
shadow side of the face.  I’m going to
focus on using green with red and blue with
orange.  No yellow and purple which are my
usual choices for skin!  So a slightly different
skin palette for me.


Working on velour is great as you can layer up
colour and let lower layers shine through or
around the edges.  These under colours will
tint the upper layers the way your skin does.


Starting to darken that shadowed eye and add
some detail to the features.


Both eyes done and now starting to bring some of the lighter
tones out in the skin.


Working my way down the face


Detailing the hair using pastel pencils to
shape the finer hairs.


This is a Faber Castell pastel stick I’m using.
Their black is really black!


Again using the pastel pencil sharpened to a point to get the
detail in the smallest hairs


At last…the shirt!  I’ve added all the highlights
to the beard which just makes it glisten in the light


Mostly blocking in on the shirt colours
with some warm shadow colours.
With the cravat I’ve done the background colour
first ready for the pattern to go on top.


Some pastel pencils and small pieces of softer
pastel to dot in the details.


Close up of the finished face detail.