Oil Pastels - Artists Pastels
Different Types of Pastel
Soft Pastels consist of pure powdered pigment combined with a binder (gum arabic, gum tragacanth or methyl cellulose) which is then rolled or pressed into sticks. Often a chalk or gypsum component is also present. Most brands produce various gradations of a colour, the original pigment of which tends to be dark, from pure pigment to near-white by mixing in differing quantities of chalk. The exact composition and characteristics of individual soft pastel sticks depends on the type of pastel and the type and amount of binder used. It also varies by manufacturer so if you like a particular colour it is worth trying a number of different brands until you find a stick that has the properties you require. Soft pastels- the most widely used form of pastel, mainly down to the fact that the sticks have a higher portion of pigment and less binder, resulting in brighter colors. The drawing can be readily smudged and blended, but be aware that this technique results in a higher proportion of dust so remember to work in a well ventilated area. Finished drawings or paintings made with soft pastels require protecting, either by careful framing or by spraying with a fixative to prevent smudging. Recently, soft pastels have also been launched in a pan format (Pan Pastels) so they can be used like paint which has opened up the medium to even more possibilities.
Hard pastels: Hard pastel sticks such as those produced by Conte have a higher portion of binder and less pigment, meaning hard pastels produce a sharper line than soft pastels making them useful for fine details. Hard Pastels can be used with other pastels for drawing outlines and adding accents. One drawback with hard pastels however is that the colours are less brilliant with hard pastels than with soft pastels
Pastel pencils: These are essentially the same as any other coloured artists pencil with the main difference being that the lead is replaced with a pastel lead. Artists Pastel pencils are particularly useful for adding fine details to a picture such as rigging in a maritime picture or fur in an animal portrait when a hard pastel will not suffice.
Oil pastels: Oil pastel (a.k.a wax oil crayon) is a medium with characteristics similar to wax crayons. Unlike "soft" or "French" pastel sticks, which are made with a gum or methyl cellulose binder, oil pastels consist of pigment mixed with a non-drying oil and wax binder.
Oil pastels have a soft, buttery consistency and provide intense colours. Oil pastels are also slightly more difficult to blend than soft pastels, however oil pastels don't require fixative. We stock a range of quality individual oil pastels and oil pastel sets.
Water-soluble pastels: These are similar to soft pastels, but contain a water-soluble component, such as glycol. This allows the colors to be thinned out using a water wash.
We stock a wide selection of pastels for artists as well as a fantastic selection of quality pastel papers/pastel surfaces giving you the best chance of producing pastel paintings you can be proud of.