Begin with several overlapping objects in a dark environment with soft light. Think of an underexposed photograph where mystery dominates the mood and edges fade into darkness.
Choose a harmony that is conducive to subtle lighting conditions. Here is a simple harmony with one complementary combination and 2 analogous attached to one of the complements: Yellow-orange and blue-violet plus orange and red-orange. Select only tones and shades.
Look through a view-finder to isolate the composition and to see contrasts more clearly.
Transfer exactly what you see through the viewer to the paper. I’m using a home-made sanded paper painted black.
Begin to shade in light passages. Angle the pastel stick. Use the side of the stick.
I want to soften more so I use a brush to blend more. Soften some areas but be aware of going overboard with the brush. Leave some areas alone, especially areas with direct light.
Now re-establish dark areas with shades and black if necessary.
Go back in with lighter tones and put in some saturated color accents. Let previous layers show through top layers.