A reader asked: Can you, or Nana, explain the difference between chalk, soft, and hard pastels to me? Chalk pastels: what is the difference?
I’m wanting to buy some more to expand our collection but I want to make sure that I’m buying the correct thing. Thanks!
Chalk pastels: what is the difference?
And Nana explains:
Keep in mind that you should purchase the lowest cost pastels in any form. Do this to see if you like this medium of art (Pastel painting) and then gradually expand your collection. These are SUGGESTIONS!
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There are actually four main types of pastels: soft, hard, pastel pencils and oil pastels:
[amazon_image id=”B000IG8EZO” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Quartet Alphacolor Soft Square Pastels, Earth Tones, 12 Pastels per Set (145011)[/amazon_image]
The soft pastels are the most traditional and the most used. They have a high concentration of pigment that is held together with the least amount of binder. (These are the ones we recommend! Easiest to use because of the blending quality and intense colors of the pure pigment!)
[amazon_image id=”B000N3382G” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Prismacolor Nupastel Set, 24 Colored Pastels(27049)[/amazon_image]
Hard pastels are more for drawing and outlining. They are cylindrical or slender, square sticks and can be used for fine details. They have a lot of gum binder to make them so hard. The Nupastels are the very best and are very affordable in hard pastels. I have had my same set for years!
[amazon_image id=”B000WKBLAQ” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Stabilo Carb-Othello Pastel Pencil Sets set of 24[/amazon_image]
Pastel pencils are used for the best control in painting by a lot of artists. They are enclosed in wood, just like a pencil, and have a touch on paper between hard and soft pastels.
[amazon_image id=”B000I5HPKA” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Faber-Castell Oil Pastels, Box of 36 (#127036)[/amazon_image]
Oil pastels are pigment with a binder of oil instead of gum. They will not crumble or smudge and do not have to have a fixative sprayed on a finished painting. But…they do not blend at all and there is not a lot of color choices for oil pastels.
Pan Pastels are a medium we’ve shared about before too! The little pans of color! They stack and interlock making for easy storage – and easy for on the go. We love the little sponge tools and the ones that look like eye shadow applicators. We love the variation and freshness pan pastels offer us. Pan pastels are a new-found freedom of expression in art.
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More Chalk Pastel Art Resources
- Our Favorite Chalk Pastels
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 100+ Free Art Lessons for All Ages
- The Very Few Must Have Chalk Pastel Supplies (hint – just add chalk pastels and paper!)
- Chalk Pastel Cleaning and Storage
- How to Plan Simple Afternoon Art Projects
- How to Do Art in 5-10 Minutes
- How to Start Art with Young Children
- How to Deal with the Chalk Pastel Mess
What questions do you have about chalk pastel art?
-originally published August 2015