Apple or Pumpkin: A Pastels Tutorial

It was Nana’s idea. Just in time for fall. A quick and easy lesson with gorgeous results! She decided to use just a small piece of paper again. A quarter of an 8 1/2 x 11. She passed out colors. And we pictured fall apples…

She started by drawing a heart shape, using either an orange or a deep pink.

Rounded at the bottom, like an apple.

Next, take your pastel stick and turn it on its side. Fill in the color around the outside of your shape…

Like this.

Filling in the center of your apple with a yellow or lighter orange will give it a three-dimensional look. Catch the light.

Here’s where you get to decide. Apple or pumpkin? Nana had originally drawn off the shape with an apple in mind. However, the oranges reminded the children of pumpkins. So… some finished their pictures as apples, some as pumpkins. Pick your favorite!

But do take a minute to decide which direction the sun is shining in your picture. You may even want to place a little dot of yellow in the corner to remind yourself. This will help with highlighting.

Then you will want to blend your colors. You can either use the tip of your finger or…

…fist it in, of course!

Nana showed us how to add a bit of shadow or maybe freckling on your apple or pumpkin. She asked the children if they remembered skumbling? To skumble is the artistic word for layering colors for effect. She used a brown stick of color, turned on its side.

Twelve-year-old shaded the top of her apple, around the stem – so nicely! With a bit of purple at the bottom.

If you decided on a pumpkin, like eleven-year-old, then draw some nice, brown lines for your pumpkin curves.

You may even decide to add a “painterly effect” around your apple (or pumpkin). Giving it a soft background, like eight-year-old did.

Four-year-old’s pumpkin

Eleven-year-old blended his pumpkin lines.

Nana’s pumpkin with a painterly effect.

Her apples. PLus a bonus, 1, 2, 3 step…

Of an apple. (1) Make a heart shape with pink.

(2) A bit of dark shading, a stem and white highlight.

(3 )and painterly effect

Be sure to pick a color and sign your name in the corner. Then it’s time to clean up!

And find a spot for your beautiful pictures. Thank you Nana!

A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons (over 30 lessons now) are all contained in the post Pastels plus links to tutorials. A simple set is very affordable.

The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.


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      Heather – I love how you framed your artwork. And thank you for such a lovely write up of your experience with Nana’s marsh pastel tutorial. I hope you and yours will be back for many more!

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