Pastel tutorial:#8

Primary Triad: Red, Yellow, Blue. No other colors can be mixed to make these three, which designates them”primary”. In turn, these colors can be mixed to produce secondary ( orange, violet, green), tertiary (yellow-orange, yellow-green, red- orange, red-violet, blue-violet and blue-green), ad infinitum.

Consider the primary triad as a convenient building-block basic in your color repertoire.



Find something with red, yellow and blue. Many commercial products utilize this color scheme-it is arresting.


Pick one of the colors to tone the paper. When in doubt, tone warm.

Make a measured line drawing of the subject and major surrounding shifts in value. Basically everything you will be considering in the composition.

Edit out material which does not serve the theme or your intention. (I will not be putting any actual lettering in the image nor wood-grain of the table because this type of detail does not serve my intent, which is to show off the reflected yellow gold foil of the canister.)


Begin with warm and cool tones.  I also place the intrinsic dark of the label because it is so obvious I might forget to put it in!


Continue with more mid tones.


Continue with tints.

Use the same procedure for tints as with tones; a warm and a cool.

I’m not using red because there is so much of it already. I’m closing out the red gradually with yellows and blues.

DSC_0011 (1)

Now for more yellow: See tints, tones and shades of yellow. I’m using some super-soft Sennelier iridescent metallic sticks in pale gold and deep yellow. Easy does it with reflective pigments.

At this stage reiterate darks.


Finally, place accents. Accents are minimal. I pick a warm red (for red in light) and a cool red (for red in shadow.)

I also reinforce highlights, making sure values relate to each other and are in the right places.



  • Primary Triad

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