Colourful Manga portrait with Pastels by Lars Degenhardt (Laovaan)

Portraits are very popular in pastel painting. Today we want to show you a modern pastel portrait by the German artist Lars Degenhardt, better known from his YouTube-channel as "Laovaan". He will show you step by step how he works with the Schmincke pastels to achieve this vivid portrait of a young bluehaired girl:

You will need:

  • Finest, extra-soft pastels by Schmincke: White 17001069 D, Olive ochre light 17028079 O, Greenish blue 17065077 M, Reddish violet 17056069 D, Deep purple 17050073 H, Ultramarine blue deep 17063077 M, Bordeaux 17043068 B, Purple 1 17049077 M, Deep violet 17059069 D, Vermillion 17040073 H, Rose madder 17047068 B, Carmine red 17046073 H, Black 17099069 D, Cold grey 17095079 O
  • Crepe tape
  • Gloves
  • Cotton bud
  • Paper wiper
  • Pastel paper A4 (150g/m²)
  • Pencil
  • Coloured pencil in black
  • Schmincke AEROPUMP Fixative for Pastels (50 368)

Step 1:

"I use crepe tape to fix the paper. Once it is set up I take the colours Reddish violet, Purple 1 and Olive ochre light to be the colours for the background. I apply them with gentle movements so the pigment just lies on the surface. Then I start blending. I like to use a glove to protect the paper from grease and to keep my fingers clean. Also you need a tissue to rub the dust of the gloves so they won't mix accidentally. I add White to make the background pop up a bit more and give it a mystic glow."

Step 2:

"Now it´s time to work on the face. I use Purple 1 for the first layer. Again, I do it gently to make sure the colour is spread evenly. After that I start blending it to a flat colour. On top of this layer I apply highlights with White and blend them into the base. Thus it becomes more 3 dimensional. As soon as I am satisfied with the result I add a shadow tone. I use Carmine red, Vermillion and Rose madder for that and carefully smudge it. You could compare the process to applying make-up. For details and small areas I like to use cotton bud to press the pigments gently into the paper. I add another layer of shadows, this time using Bordeaux to make the image more vivid and get rid of the plastic look. For the white of the eyes Iuse White and Cold grey. To apply fine lines for the lashes I recommend to use a paper wiper and dip it into the pigment of the Prussian blue pastel. Colour pencils also will help a lot to intensify the look of sharp edges."



Step 3:

"For the eyebrows I use Deep purple, I apply precise strokes and blend them with a cotton bud. The same procedure I usefor painting the face. I use the colour of the eyebrows to contour the hair and fill the area with Reddish violet and Greenish blue as an eye-catcher. To make the character pop up, I add flat white lines on the edges of the hair."



4 Step:

"For the clothes and accessories I use a combination of Greenish blue, Ultramarine blue deep and Black so it will work as a contrast for the pink sky and skin. A white line will define where the jacket will be placed. I use Vermillion to trace the contours and I give the hair more detail with Purple 1. I do that by repeating smudging and applying flat lines until I am satisfied. For the jacket I use White and apply it with a crosshatching method. After blending I use Black to define the fabric. For the pendant I use Cool gray, Black and White to achieve a metal look. For the last little details I use a blackcoloured pencil and put a layer of AEROPUMP Fixative for pastels over the pastel painting for protection. Before I use the can I shake it well. I spray from the left side to the right and from top to bottom while holding the can at a distance of about 40 cm from the vertically positioned or slightly inclined painting."



Creative option

If you prefer painting with pastels on painting grounds, canvas, wood or other grease-free surfaces, we recommend the Schmincke Primer for pastels (50 503), a transparent and rough primer, which is ready to use and which will be applied with a paint roller (or a brush; then dilute with max. 20% of water).