Pastels are a unique medium for fine art and abstract art. If you are interested in creating art with intense colors, pastels are a medium you should try working with. Other mediums like colored pencils can not match pastel pencils’ vibrant colors or the fine details achieved with pastel pencils or a stick form. Professional artists enjoy pastel painting because of its rich color and versatility.
With so many types of pastels on the market, choosing the best pastel for your art projects can feel overwhelming. This post will explain what soft pastels are to make a better choice for buying pastels. At the end of the post, we will also share the best soft pastels to purchase and what pastel paper you need for your next painting.
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What Are Soft Pastels Made Of
Soft pastels are pure pigments, water, and a small amount of artificial binder that holds the pigment together. The pigment is what produces the pastel colors. High-quality soft pastels will be made with pure pigments, delivering smooth consistency and vibrant colors. The velvety texture is similar to an oil painting.
What Style Of Art Are Soft Pastels Used For
Soft pastels are different from other pastel types because they are made with fewer binders, making them more delicate. These creamy pastels work well for realism, abstract, and impressionism art. Impressionist art is the most common style of art created with soft pastel sticks.
If you want to create a pastel drawing with more intricate details and fine lines, hard pastels will work better because you can sharpen them to a fine point. Softer pastels do not hold a sharp point well and tend to crumble when sharpened because they contain less binder.
What Is The Difference Between Soft Pastels And Oil Pastels
Oil pastels use wet binders, such as oils, to form the pigment into a solid stick. Oil-based colors are more intense. Due to the damp nature of the medium, it is also possible to mix and blend oil pastels. The different types of pastels artists use are personal preferences based on their artistic style.
Can You Blend Soft Pastels
Artists can create different values by using various colors and blending the pastels on paper.
Soft pastels have a fragile consistency and powdery texture, which makes them easy to blend.
Artists blend soft pastels on paper to create other effects and different shades in many different ways.
Popular Blending Techniques:
Using your finger – Some artists dislike blending with their fingers because it is messy, and the fingers’ oils can dull the color.
Blending Sticks – Blending sticks are more popular with graphite drawings but can also be used with pastels. Blending stumps create a smooth blend, but cleaning the stump with a rag or paper towel is essential before blending different colors.
Insulation Foam – this foam is used for piping and can be purchased at most hardware stores; and works well on sanded paper because it does not fall apart and creates a soft blend.
Plastic Palette Knives – These work well for pushing the pastels into the sanded paper and work well for large areas.
Soft pan pastel sponges are dense and made for pan pastels but can also be used for soft pastels to create a smooth, thin blend.
It is good to practice blending with all of the blending techniques mentioned above because each tool will provide different results.
Art Spectrum Artists’ Soft Pastels: Art Spectrum pastels are professional-quality soft pastels that provide pure, brilliant and intense colors. The highest quality pigments available are triple-milled at maximum concentration to bring out the most pleasing color and give the rich, velvety bloom valued by professional pastelists. Suppose you are looking for pastels that produce smoldering darks, brilliant and intense pure colors, and a range of subtle, delicate tints. Look no further. Art Spectrum pastels are perfect for your next art project. These pastels are free of asbestos, heavy metals, or other toxic substances.
Mount Vision Soft Pastels: Karl Kelly, the owner of Mount Vision Pastel Company, understands the importance of the quality of the pigment. These high-quality pastels provide artists with vivid colors that are hand-rolled and contain a combination of traditional and synthetic colorants.
Mount Vision pastels are made with chalk, marble dust, and clay to assure a smooth, consistent buttery feel.
Richeson Handmade Soft Pastels: Are you looking for a professional soft pastel. These pastels are handmade, have a smooth, velvety texture, and come in a wide range of rich, vivid colors that are perfect for layering and blending.
Student Grade Pastels
Blick Studio Pastel Sets: BlickStudio is known for making high-quality products at affordable prices.
These pastels have brilliant, rich colors and are made with fine raw materials. The soft pastels blend effortlessly for a beautiful, smooth texture.
Yarka Pastel Sets: These lightfast pastels are affordable and made with finely ground earth and mineral pigments that produce bright and vibrant colors.
Final Thoughts on Soft Pastels
If you are looking for a medium that can produce art that creates painterly effects like oil paints, then you will want to try soft pastels. There are many different brands available to choose from. Student-grade pastels are the perfect choice if you experiment with pastels, but if you are looking for the best quality, you will want to buy artist-grade soft pastels.
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