How do you obtain pastel colors ?
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Thread: How do you obtain pastel colors ?

  1. #1

    Default How do you obtain pastel colors ?

    hello !

    i\'m looking for how to obtain pastel colors, like flowers (gladiolus for instance), because i don\'t know what are the techniques of a lot of painters.

    how do you do ?

    i ask oneself if it\'s my citadel colors which are guilties :)

    sorry for my bad english, i\'m french :]

    see you soon.


  2. #2


    Have you tried just mixing some white into your paint?

  3. #3


    Originally posted by Aschul
    Have you tried just mixing some white into your paint?

    yes, but my colors are not very \'pure\', it\'s always off-colors (for instance off-blue) but not pastel colors :(


  4. #4

    Default Pastel colors

    These are tricky.

    Part one is mixing white to your paint. It will often give you \"off colors\" as you described, but the trick is in highlighting your colors in very gradual layers to pure white.

    Once you reach white, proceed to apply very thin washes of the color of your choice, it will take out the chalk like look, and help you define and enrich your colors.

    As in everything, it may take some practice to get right, but it will be worth it.

  5. #5

    Default pastel colors

    Another method and somewhat simpler is just use pastel paints. Go to a Hobby Craft store and get paint that isn\'t made by GW. I don\'t know what you\'ll have available but here we have Folk Art, Anita\'s Acrylics, Ceramcoat, and Apple Barrel to name a few. They are used to do Toll painting and are flat (non glossy) water based paints. They tend to come in more pastel colors. They are flat paints and will often look chalky if you use them straight out of the bottle. To fix this I thin the paint with a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part future floor wax but any mop type clear floor wax will do. The more wax you use the more shiney the paint will be so don\'t over do the wax.

  6. #6


    Whenever I mix pastel colors with GW paints; I use colors such as Bleached Bone or Palid Flesh.

    I like it better than white. I see pastel colors as a base color (solid blue) mixed with a cream color such as the two mentioned above.

  7. #7


    I\'ve noticed Vallejo does make a few pastel colours too.

  8. #8


    I don\'t think many folks paint the way I do, but I\'ll let you know how I get the pastel look on my figs ...

    I paint my figs very much the way one would paint a watercolor painting. I prime white and then use very, very thin washes. The white of the primer is allowed to \"bleed\" through to give the colors their brightness ... this also makes the colors look a lot more like pastels.

    I hope you find this helpful,

  9. #9


    hello !

    thank you very much for all your advices, it\'s very interesting :) .


  10. #10


    I never put some white in the mix,but bleached bone or roting flesh.

    bon courage!:)

  11. #11


    Try adding neutral grey gradients to your base color, starting with about a 50% grey and highlight up to about 10% grey. Make sure you are using neutral gradients, not warm or cool ones.

    Deane P. Goodwin

  12. #12

    Default real pastels

    A technique that\'s popular with larger scale figures, is using real pastels for shading i.e. sticks of pastel chalk. You grind them on sandpaper to produce coloured dust and brush them on with a soft brush, blowing off the excess - then seal them with varnish.
    Very subtle effects can be created this way - it\'s been called the \"poor man\'s airbrush\" - except you have a lot more control.
    Never tried it on a mini but there\'s no reason why it shouldn\'t work in theory.:)

  13. #13


    As has been said, simply add white, cream, or some other pale and relatively neutral colour to the paint you want to use!

    Hey Sippog! I know military modellers use pastels a lot in when painting vehicles and the like, but can you actually varnish the \'dusted\' areas? I\'d have thought the varnish would either move the dusted pastel around, or be absorbed by it and make the pastel appear darker or maybe even not noticable at all!

  14. #14


    Originally posted by Sturmhalo
    I\'d have thought the varnish would either move the dusted pastel around, or be absorbed by it and make the pastel appear darker or maybe even not noticable at all!
    It\'s true they do get darker sometimes, experimentation is called for. Some brands are more consistent than others. They don\'t blow away though because the idea is for you to have already blown away the excess and just left the bits you\'ve rubbed in with a soft brush (a bit like washes).

    You\'re right, this was a technique used originally for dirtying up tanks etc but it\'s since been taken up by figure modellers. Master painter David Fisher of \'Amazing Figure Modeler\' is an exponent and devoted a whole section of his latest instructional video to the technique.

    The big advantage of the technique, apart from control, is that you can grind up different colours together - add a bit of green or blue to flesh for example - and if you don\'t like it, just swab it off with a wet cotton bud before you spray!

  15. #15

    Default pastel dust tutorial

    Someone was asking me about this. I found a 2 page tutorial on the JJModels site which, while not in depth, gives pictures of the basic idea: (See/ techniques/powder techniques

    (warning: the site is for adult modellers so probably best not to visit if your voice hasn\'t broken yet):)

  16. #16

    Default Pastels = Inks+Paints

    I\'ve written this on another thread and just copied it directly over as I feel I have captured the essence of pastel colours! this is what I wrote:

    \"I have, of late, tinkered with mixing Inks and paints for smoother blending. I found that when adding white to ink colours you do often get rather pastel-like hues. Give it a whirl! The good thing as well is that the pigmentation remains intense despite the liquid qualities of the ink, so if you are into the wet-blending or gradul layering, it should prevent the brushstrokes showing! Marvellous.\"

    Anyone else been down this route?

    Many regards.

    Rev :innocent:

    BTW, Mat from Normandie, I stayed in Fecamp for 2-3 weeks when I was 17yrs old and learning the French language. A lovely place! Rouen is a beatiful place too, though Le Havre wasn\'t so impressive. Etretat was good as well. Great place, great people! The only drawback was that I had to keep correcting the parents of the family I stayed with as they kept saying I was English whereas I am, in fact Gallois/Welsh! Many a frustrated moment I can tell you...

    I worked in a Boulangerie whilst I was there and I had a free loaf of bread when I left. Can\'t say fairer than that, eh?

  17. #17

    Default Tried Reverend way...

    Well, I read Reverend\'s way before and tried works pretty well except I haven\'t got the technique right yet. Not much chance of using it...i mean pastel colours on a dwarf is girlish....:moon:

  18. #18


    I usually mix inks to codex grey to get neutral pastel looking colours and if i really need to lighten the colour I\'ll probably add a touch of (off) white. I think grey works better than white to make tints of a colour

  19. #19


    Adding white or grey will both achieve a pastel look, since the key element is white, and grey has white in it. Adding grey is the same as adding black to darken the color, then adding white to gear it towards a pastel look.

    Technically adding white to a color is called a tint, adding grey is a tone, and adding black is a shade.

    The decission of what to add is a matter of how light or dark an overall look you are looking for. You could add two parts white to every color you plan on using, and you would have a very much baby colored miniature as a result.

    Think of crayons. When you use crayons, they leave bits of the white canvas uncovered, so if you step away from the picture, it will have that pastel look to it because your colors are \"mixed\" with the white canvas.

    You can use different color canvas (like black or red) to achieve different affects with crayons.

    Jim\'s method of priming white and using thin washes is exactly like using crayons on white canvas, and will achieve the desired result.

    There is also nothing wrong with mixing the pastel color you want using white or grey. Also realize mixing medium blue and grey is the same as mixing dark blue and white.

    I would be careful with adding bone or other off white colors, but you can certainly try it. For warm colors, use a warm off white, and for cool colors use a cool off white. Otherwise your colors may end up a bit dirty.

    And as Errex said the second important step is to highlight your pastels to white. For example for red you may normally highlight it to orange, but for a pastel red (aka pink) you would want to highlight it to white. Similarly, you for a vibrant green, you could highlight it to yellow, but for a pastel green, you would go up to white.

    And for washing pastel colors, never you the color you started with. For example if you add white to a medium blue for your base color, add grey to medium blue for the wash (or add black to your pastel mix whichever is easier for you - you can use a black ink if you prefer). But it is important that there is some white in your wash, otherwise you may lose that pastel look very quickly.

    Hope this helps...

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