The ancient box of leftover pastels.
Where to start?
I have this art box, well actually it's a tool box, but it contains all sorts of things I have collected over the years for arts and crafts and some work related things.

There is some really ancient stuff in that box – I’m sure things like the masking fluid have long passed their sell by date. And there still sits a small box of pastels – the kind you buy for your child for school. Those must be the most ancient of everything in that tool box – it even has my name written on it so no other kid at school could claim it as theirs. 

So now here I sit and I really don’t have a clue where to start. I have a pretty good idea that I would like to try pastels – but this ancient box of leftover pastels is just not gonna cut it. So I head to my favorite ‘go-to-guy’ – Google. 

“Dear Mr Google, please help. What are the best pastels to draw wildlife with?”.

And Google responded with a line of videos by Jason Morgan wildlife artist – so I start watching those. Now I really must compliment Jason Morgan on a fantastic collection of videos with so much helpful information in them. He really has gone all out and surely helps to take the guess work out of where to start. He shows tests on different paper types, different pastel pencils, different pastel sticks, even sharpeners! Who would have thought choosing a sharpener was such a difficult task? Well, it is, it seems, and all sharpeners are definitely not created equal. 

So now I have my starting list of what I need – I have also done some research and now know that I can get most of it on Loot. But of course, being as impatient as I am, I want to get started right away. So I head to the local art shops, only to discover the usual disadvantage of living in a smaller town – the ranges available are slim to say the least. I resign myself to the fact that the pastels are going to have to wait – at least as long as it takes for Loot to order them in. 

But, the bug has bitten so I want to get going, I want to draw something.  In desperation I settle for a 4 pack set of charcoal and chalk pencils. I, of course, have no real idea what it entails drawing with those, but I figure I’ll give it a try for now. I still have that old sketch pad with the ‘not-so-great-impala’ living in it that I can use. 

I head home and spend the rest of the day placing my order on Loot. Yes, it did take THE REST of the day – when you are faced with so many options, it is a challenge to figure out what you REALLY need and what are ‘nice-to-haves’ – those things that no matter how hard you try to justify it, your budget just simply won’t agree.  So, Loot order done, but it’s going to take 2-3 weeks before it arrives – time for a Loot lesson in patience. 

So the next day its time to try out those charcoal pencils. It’s going to be like normal graphite pencils, just darker – right? Wrong! And the white chalk will work over the charcoal to add in highlights – right? Wrong again! I guess thats what you get when you stay out of the art world for 20 odd years – you end up clueless! So I battle my way through the leopard drawing for the better part of the day. Its far from perfect but it has taught me some valuable lessons and it was fun and rewarding to spend a day drawing again after so many years. 

What will be next? I think some color is in order?