Pastel pencil art techniques

by Colin Bradley

Pastel Pencil Painting by Colin Bradley
German Shepherd Pastel Pencil Painting by Colin Bradley

 Pastel pencil art instructor Colin Bradley is well-known for his realistic pastel pencil paintings of animals, landscapes, still lifes and portraits. His paintings are so meticulous, emanating such a strong sense of realism and warmth, that they appear to be brimming and bustling with life.

Take one look at his work on this page and I'm sure you'll agree that Colin is a master artist! And best of all, he enjoys sharing his techniques with others.

Working primarily in pastel pencils, Colin excels in capturing beautiful details in every scene, whether it's the russet fur of a nimble fox or a fresh blanket of snow on a quaint English village. Many of his pastel pencil paintings evoke a strong sense of nostalgia and a peaceful, reflective calm.

On this page I'll show you many more examples of Colin's work, share an interview and tell you how you can learn to make pastel pencil art just like Colin's!

You'll even see a video of Colin at work as he creates a pastel pencil painting of a tiger, explaining his process as he draws. Who can resist learning from an expert?

An Interview with Colin Bradley, Pastel Pencil Artist

I'm pleased to present you this interview with Colin Bradley, where he shares some insights about making art with pastel pencils.

Tiger Pastel Pencil Art by Colin Bradley

Where are you from?

I now live in a quaint Dickensian seaside resort of Broadstairs, Kent, UK, having moved from my hometown of Gravesend, also in Kent, almost 30 years ago.

How long have you been an artist?

I have been a professional artist for 32 years.

Do you have an art education (college, classes, workshops, etc) or are you self-taught?

I am completely self taught.

What is your favorite medium to work in?

My preferred medium is Pastel Pencil but also indulge in watercolour and pen and wash.

Why do you like pastel pencil the best?

Pastel Pencil works best for detailed realistic subjects, therefore requires patience and focus.

What is your favorite subject matter and why?

My favourite subjects are animals and landscapes for no other reason than they always present me with a challenge.

How long does it take you to create you to create a pastel pencil painting that is around 12" x 16" (or approximately A3 size), such as the tiger portrait above?

It would take me about 12 hours to produce the Tiger picture.

Do you use a fixative or spray varnish on your finished pastel pencil artwork?

Elephant Pastel Pencil Art by Colin Bradley

I prefer not to use a fixative for my pastel pencil art as it tends to alter the freshness of the work, making it dull compared to the original.

What's your favorite thing about being an artist?

I enjoy being an artist because of the total adsorption that takes over your whole being while creating your painting, it is a feeling like no other.

Who are some artists you admire?

Before I started painting I studied and very much admired the work of John Constable. David Shepherd was another artist who impressed me early on.

Do you have any advice for beginning artists?

My best advice to those artists just beginning would be - start off with something simple. Don't attempt anything too complex; if it looks difficult then it will be. Also keep your expectations low to begin with and above all enjoy what you are doing. Try out different mediums until you find one that suits you. 

Pastel Pencil Art by Colin Bradley

Pastel Pencil Art by Colin Bradley

Learn Pastel Pencil Art Techniques with Colin Bradley

Would you like to learn to create pastel pencil art just like Colin? You're in luck, because in addition to being a multi-talented artist, Colin is also a skilled art instructor!

Thanks to the Internet, Colin is able to teach students around the globe via online videos and PDFs. He also offers DVDs and paper booklets for people who prefer to learn the traditional way. You can find these lessons at his online store: Colin's pastel pencil art lessons cover subjects such as portraits, figures, animals, landscapes, and still lifes.

Watch Colin's video below for a "sneak peek" of what you can expect from his video lessons:

You can see many more video lessons on Colin's YouTube Channel, where you can see for yourself the quality of his video instruction. You are literally looking over his shoulder as he works and explains his process!

Learn how to draw this rose!

Colin offers certain sections of his videos for free, and if you want to view the whole video you can either order them individually or sign up for his membership site, where you can get the best value for your money.

On Colin's membership website, he offers over 42 hours of video lessons in pastel pencil art, with a new lesson added each week. This means there is plenty of material for you to look through and a lot to keep you busy and inspired.

By joining his membership site, you can even ask him how-to questions which he will answer personally - almost as if he's looking over your shoulder and giving you pointers. It's like having your very own personal art tutor, from the comfort of your own home!

If you're short on funds but eager to learn, a great way to get started with pastel pencils is to purchase one of Colin's inexpensive exercise sheets, such as his popular "Eye of the Tiger" Exercise sheet below:

Colin Bradley Art Exercises

As you can see, Colin's exercise sheets are packed with information that focus on a particular area or subject matter, showing you how to go from an initial sketch to completion.

Colin also offers beginner's packs and workshop packs that are more detailed than the exercise sheets, with an instruction sheet, line drawing and reference photo included. Some even include the option to order the required pastel pencils as well. 

Learn how to draw this grey kitten in one of Colin's workshop packs.
Roses Pastel Pencil Art Instruction

The packs, exercise sheets and videos are available as digital downloads or as hard copies that you receive in the mail. The benefit of ordering the digital versions is that you won't have to pay shipping fees and you won't have to wait for the product to arrive in the mail. Instead, you can download the PDFs or videos as soon as your payment is processed, and get started right away!

From his website you can also buy the art supplies you'll need for these exercises, such as pastel pencils, erasers, and pastel paper.

Learning to create pastel pencil art is easier than you might think, especially with a skilled instructor like Colin helping you out. Pastel pencils look and feel similar to colored pencils, which you've probably worked with before, even if the last time you used them was as a kid. Using pastel pencils involves minimal set-up and clean-up, unlike using paint. It also involves minimal supplies: all you really need to get started are pastel pencils and paper!

If you're interested in learning more about Colin and his artwork, or if you want to learn more about his art lessons, visit his website:

Pastel Pencil Painting Art