There are many different types of pastels to choose from for artists interested in using pastels as a medium. Fine artists have a choice between soft pastels, oil pastels, and hard pastels. Each pastel will have its unique dramatic effect, available colors, and blendable formula.
For example, soft pastels are tough to control if you are interested in fine details. However, they work well for impressionism-style artwork, abstract art, and blurred backgrounds. Unlike other types of pastels, soft pastels have an extensive collection of colors. Schminke has a selection of 400 different colors available.
Oil pastels are messy and also hard to control for detailed work. Oil pastels can be used on multiple surfaces like wood, glass, metal, canvas, and more and work well for creating a pastel painting that resembles an oil painting.
Hard pastels have more binder to pigment ratio making the pastel stick less likely to crumble. The binder is what holds the pigment together. Soft pastels have a high concentration of pigment and binder, which produces more vibrant colors. However, the softer the pastel, the more difficult it is to draw fine lines. Harder pastel sticks make it easier to draw detailed work, but it isn’t easy to sharpen the stick to a fine point.
Pastel pencil sets are made with the finest artist pigments and held together with a wooden casing making them easy to sharpen for detailed drawings. The pigment ratio produces vibrant colors and comes in a wide range of colors.
Best Pastel Pencils
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Caran d’Arche Pastel Pencils
Caran d’Ache Pastel Pencils are handmade with the purest raw materials. The pigment is glued into two strips of California cedar with four coats of varnish, making the pencils easy to hold. The cap has an accurate color of the chalk-pastel pencils, making it easy to choose different colors for the drawing project. Professional artists are confident with the quality, consistency, and vivid colors of Caran d’Arche Pencils. They offer 84 great colors and are easy to blend.
Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils
Stabilo CarbOthello pastels are made in Germany and are well known for their lightfastness ratings and quality. They have a significant lead diameter making it easy to draw broad strokes or sharpen them to a fine point for detailed work. These artist-quality pastels are water-soluble, easy to blend, and can be used like watercolor pencils by brushing the area with a wet brush. You can even pre-dampen the watercolor paper for a watercolor effect. These multi-pastel chalk pencils are a great buy if you are interested in different media projects.
Faber-Castell’s Pitt Pastel Pencils
Pitt Pastel Pencils are made with high-quality pigment and are perfect for fine lines, blending, and delicate color changes. Use them for traditional fine arts, portraits, wildlife, still-lifes, and landscape drawings. They provide a smooth flow of pastel colors for beautiful artwork. Pit pastels are a good option if you are looking for a reasonable-priced pastel with consistent quality and lively colors.
General’s Pastel Chalk Pencils
Every General’s pastel chalk pencil has a smooth formula perfect for traditional art. You can blend the rich colors with a paper stump finger, q-tips, sponge applicator, or tissue paper. General’s pastel pencils are a good choice if you are looking for an affordable pastel pencil set of good quality.
You can also find General’s pastels in most local Micheals Stores.
How To Pick The Right Pastel Pencil
The best pencil for you will depend on personal taste, artistic style, and budget. If you are interested in trying pastels General’s chalk pastel set is an affordable option.
Faber-Castell’s Pit Pastel Pencils will work well for detailed work with fine lines because they are a harder pastel. The harder pastel will keep a fine point longer for precise detail work and small details. These pencils also work great on a rough surface like PastelMat. PastelMat allows artists to layer up to 12 times for stunning artworks.
Stabilo pastel pencils are the softest pencils that allow artists to apply color quickly. The soft pastels make it easy to blend and create a large variety of different values and tones. These pastels can also be used like watercolor pencils for a watercolor painting effect.
Since there are various pastel types, you might consider purchasing a few individual pencils from each brand to see what works best for your art projects before investing in a set of pastel pencils. You can find individual pastel pencils at Blick Art Materials.
Unlike soft pastels, the range of colors of chalk pencils is smaller. However, blending different colors to create an extensive color chart is possible. Before purchasing a chalk pencil set, ensure it has the colors you need for your projects. Each brand will have different colors. If a set is missing a few colors, you can always buy single pencils from another company to complete your color palette.
The surface you draw on will determine how many layers you can apply. For example, a smoother surface will only allow you to add 1-3 layers of pastel, while a rougher surface will allow you to add up to 12 layers.
Final Thoughts On The Best Pastel Chalk Pencils For Drawing
There are a lot of fun project ideas you can use pastels on. If you are experimenting with pastels for the first time, you might want to consider using a General’s pastel chalk pencil set. If you are interested in an artist-quality set, you would be better off with the other brands mentioned above.