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Why completing these crucial steps is an absolute must.

Creating a painting often involves two foundational stages: underdrawing and underpainting. These essential stages lay a strong foundation for your final artwork.


  • The underdrawing is the initial sketch or drawing created on a desired surface before applying pastels. It serves as a blueprint for the composition, helping establish the basic shapes, proportions, and placement of elements in the artwork.

  • The underdrawing is typically done using pastel or charcoal pencils to refine ideas, correct errors, and plan the painting’s design.

  • The underdrawing helps work out the composition and decide how the final painting will look. It’s an essential step for ensuring the artwork’s accuracy and cohesion.


The underpainting is the initial layer of pastels applied to a surface after the underdrawing. It serves several purposes:

  • Tonal Value: It establishes the painting’s fundamental values (lights and darks), helping to create a sense of depth and form.

  • Color Blocking: It can show the composition’s initial color palette or color relationships.

  • Texture and Surface: It can create texture or provide a base layer that affects the final texture of the painting.

Underpainting can be done using monochromatic or limited color schemes. It can be transparent or opaque, depending on the desired effect. The underpainting helps establish the overall mood and structure of the painting. It allows for corrections and refinements before proceeding to subsequent final layers of pastels.

The bottom line is this: the underdrawing stage is a way to plan, and the underpainting stage is about laying the groundwork by establishing values, colors, and textures. Combining these two steps is essential to produce an exceptional painting that portrays the ideas while maintaining a sense of cohesiveness throughout the piece. The result is a beautiful work of art!

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