Can I use my chalk pastels to make a "Smoke" like effect?

Is it useful in drawings or should I just stick with pencils?

I use Canson sketchbooks

  • Can you post an image of the effect you're trying to achieve? It's difficult to exlpain a technique if we don't know what you're trying to do. :)
    – Catija
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 21:16
  • I want to add a slightly yellowing background, but with olive green smoke surrounding a character. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 21:17
  • I'm trying to go for a more apocalyptic feel. Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 21:39
  • An effect like smoke is as much if not more about technique than the materials you use. Look at examples of smoke and fog in real life and in others artists' works to see how they do it. From that you can develop the look of smoke and such to match your own style.
    – rebusB
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 21:36
  • @rebusB But I did, and the ones I liked were using pastel chalks Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


Pastels, that is chalk pastels, are easy and beautiful media for blending or creating translucent effects like smoke, as you know. However, they are fragile and will blow away or fall off if not sealed. Even then they will be sensitive to the environment, especially fingers.

That said, I'd bet you would be successful with a semi-permanent spray fixative. You'll be able to go over it, if you must, but your smoke effect will gain longevity.

Because you may be working over graphite, the surface may have that greasy action, but be persistent. Consider using pastel pencils.

  • pastel pencils? That's a thing?? Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 19:41
  • workable fixative will add back some tooth that should offset the slickness of the graphite.
    – rebusB
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 21:33

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