“Sue’s tuition is first class, really well detailed with excellent hints, tips & instruction along the way.”

My pastel art journey began in June 2020. Having retired the previous year I decided I was going to try pastel as a medium and started collecting some supplies in readiness (that element never actually stops….always more to collect! 😂).

I hadn’t done any artwork since my early twenties when I completed a handful of drawings using graphite, charcoal and pen & ink. Having done a couple of tutorials with other artists using different techniques of layering using pan pastels and pastel pencils I decided I needed to start using my lovely Unison soft pastel sticks which I had invested in.

Below is a pastel I did in my early twenties.

“Sue’s never rushes, is always happy to answer questions, she is encouraging and motivating to push her students beyond their comfort zones.” 

Then along came Sue’s 5 day Unison soft pastel challenge of Bailey the cocker spaniel, I registered onto the class and loved completing the challenge. Sue’s tuition is first class, really well detailed with excellent hints, tips & instruction along the way, never rushed, always happy to answer questions, encourage and motivate to push her students beyond their comfort zones.

The challenge was pivotal in giving me the confidence to get stuck into using my Unison soft pastels, the colours are so vibrant in comparison to pastel pencils, which are still used for detail where appropriate.

I have since done a couple more of Sue’s tutorials as well as having some on my still ‘to do’ list. The tutorials cover a wide range of subjects, provide detailed lists of materials required (with less expensive alternatives as an option if you are starting out) and include a host of different techniques including under layers, bokeh effect background, creating depth and realism, how to best sharpen pastel pencils, etc etc. They are recorded in HD and can be paused to allow you to work along in your own time which is very important as not everyone works at the same pace or level of detail and sometimes you miss things so you are able to replay and then move on again.

I was thrilled with my version of Bailey and went on to do a further Unison workshop with Sue of a gorgeous close up of a horse and have completed several more since.

I have very recently finished a painting of a hare for a friend of mine as a house warming gift. I was particularly proud of this one as I branched out on my own and painted from a lovely photo from Pixabay, it is testament to Sue’s teaching that I have gained enough confidence in using my soft pastel sticks to do so. I will still continue with her tutorials alongside doing my own paintings as I still have plenty to learn, Portrait Course in Soft Pastel is beckoning 😃.

Of course, Sue’s Soft Pastel Facebook group is invaluable as it is where you have unending support, encouragement, camaraderie from Sue and fellow members of her teaching group. I wholeheartedly recommend Sue’s tutorials to any one who is starting on their art journey or who would like to further develop their pastel skills!


Jane Stewart