Soft Pastels, the ones most familiar to people, are made from pigment, white chalk and a binder such as gum arabic. Their soft chalky nature makes them easy to blend but they don’t tend to adhere well to surfaces.
Pastel Pencils, like soft pastels, are comprised of pigment, white chalk and a binder such as gum arabic, and are encased in a wooden surround.
Oil Pastels contain pigments bound in a non-drying oil and wax binder and adhere well to many different surfaces. Due to their wet oil content they can be used with a solvent, thus becoming part painting medium and part drawing medium. However, because of this oil they never truly dry.
Opposite are the basic supplies I recommend if just getting started in pastels ➡
Below is a small selection from the pastel products I use ⬇
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- Inscribe Soft Pastels – various set sizes available
- Clairefontaine Pan Pastels (my ‘go to’ choice) – smaller sets and individual colours available
- Unison (soft)
- Sennelier (very soft) – other set sizes available
- Rembrandt (medium hardness)
- Loxley (medium hardness)
- Ashby (medium hardness)
- Caran d’Ache – 84 colours available, plus different set sizes
- Stabilo Carbothello
- Derwent – 90 colours available, plus different set sizes
- Faber-Castell Pitt Pastels – 60 colours available, plus different set sizes
- Daler Rowney Artists Pastels
- Paul Ruben Oil Pastels
- Clairefontaine Pastelmat
- Hahnemuhle Velour Pastel Paper (for chalk based pastels)
- Any suitable surface for oil pastels including canvas, primed papers and wood
- Colour Shaper Tools – two set sizes available
- Sofft Tools – different sets available and cover sold separately too
- Pan Pastel Trays – lightweight trays to keep your pastels safe