Nicola Porter Blog

Flying Scotsman Pastel Painting

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I’m pleased to say that I finished the Flying Scotsman Pastel painting. There’ll be a time-lapse video available on YouTube once Jordan has finished the Editing (he thinks it will be ready by the end of the week), I’ll try to embed here too, if I can remember how.


The finished piece is on A3 (42x39 cm) Winsor and Newton Pastel Mid grey paper with CarbOthello pastel pencils. I hope to have prints available soon and I’ll let you know when that happens.

The original plan was to do most of the work with the pastel then final details with coloured pencil just like I did with this Tornado drawing.


In the end, I found I didn’t need to add the pencil, I’m not sure why I was so pleased about that, it’s probably just because it meant it would be finished faster than I first thought.

Anyway the reason I didn’t have to use the pencils is something that pleased me even more! I was getting very frustrated while working with the pastel pencils, I love them but I just couldn’t get them to sharpen. I’ve found that pastel pencils typically need a specific sharpener that’s designed for them. I have two of these, but recently I’ve been breaking the core about 8 times out of 10. It’s so annoying! I thought maybe I’d stored them wrong as they have been exposed to some extremes of temperature.

Then, in desperation I tried my newest sharpener – a Derwent super-point – this is one that clamps to a desk and has a crank handle. Its great for graphite and coloured pencil and creates a very long, sharp point. I honestly thought my pastel pencils would be too soft for it and break all the time but WOW! I am chuffed to bits that I can get that same sharp point on the pastels!

Because the Derwent one grips the shaft of the pencil, you don’t have to put any pressure on it, that’s probably where is was going wrong with the others, just putting too much pressure on them.

Who would have thought somebody could ramble on so much about something as mundane as a pencil sharpener! HA

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