Pastels

Supply list

I've compiled a list of course materials at Blick www.dickblick.com to make it easier for you to prepare for the course. To visit this list, please go to: http://www.dickblick.com/lists/blicku/HHK8DCG4PVQXV/publicview/

In case you prefer to buy your supplies locally, find out about the different Plaza Art locations on https://www.plazaart.com/

I recommend certain brands but there are many other professional brands that are as good, so you are welcome to bring other materials. Many times it is a matter of personal preference.

You may have already some of the materials, so check every item to see if you need it.

If you are not sure if you want to invest much in this medium, I have a few assorted pastels that you are welcome to use both in class and at home, for the duration of the course. However, you need to buy the rest of materials, like paper, etc. 

This supply list has many pastels and therefore is quite expensive. It is an ideal supply list but if you want to spend less read the following notes in blue and adjust your order accordingly.

BASIC MATERIALS (marked as required in the dickblick list)

  • CRETACOLOR PASTELS CARRE/SET 72 BASIC COLORS.

    • Excellent value. Reputation for light-fast colors. Matching color range of pastel pencils

    • Great hard pastels and if you are on a budget you can just use these, but if you can afford a bit more I would complement them with the soft pastels (from Sennelier) listed in the optional materials

    • The box is very flimsy! For transporting, I recommend you use special care or put them in a better pastel box

  • COLOURFIX PAPER/BLUE HAZE 19.5" X 27.5" (2 SHEETS)

  • COLOURFIX PAPER/WHITE 19.5" X 27.5" (1 SHEET)

  • GENERALS KNEADED ERASER/JUMBO

  • BLICK SKETCH BOARD/ 23 1/2 X 26IN.

  • BLICK ARTIST TAPE/WHITE 1/4INX60YD

    • Use it to attach paper to the board and to attach glassine to the work. I normally use small clips (I buy in Staples or Office Depot) instead of tape.

 

OPTIONAL MATERIALS (marked as recommended in the dickblick list)

  • SENNELIER PASTELS/SET 80 COLORS 1/2 STICK.

    • These soft pastels will complement the hard pastel listed in the basic materials. If you don't want to spend that much, buy a smaller set, like the 20 colors half-sticks set. 

  • CRETACOLOR PASTEL PENCILS/SET 72 TIN BOX.

    • I recommend pastel pencils if you like control and detailed work. 

  • GLASSINE INTERLEAVING/PAPER ROLL 36IN X 20YD.

    • This is to protect your work from smearing. It is a big roll that will last a long time  (you can reuse it too). If you don't want to spend that much you can buy some sheets in your local art store.

  • FACTIS CLICK ERASER

    • Good to erase small areas.

  • SENNELIER FIXATIVE/ARESAL CAN.

    • Sometimes I use Latour Pastel Fixative from Sennelier to fix intermediate layers if the paper becomes clogged with pastels. Not needed when using light touch and only a few layers with hard pastels or pencils.

  • PAN PASTL SOFFT TOOL/KNIFE/COVERS POINT 4​

    • I normally blend with my fingers but when I need a precision tool, these Pan Pastel Soft Tools are handy. Apart from the knife#4, there are other types of soft tools that you might want to experiment with.

 

OPTIONAL MATERIALS NOT INCLUDED IN THE DICKBLICK LIST

  • GLOVES

    • to protect your hands, specially if you blend with your fingers. I use cotton gloves and on top latex gloves. I buy them from Amazon

  • PAPER TOWELS AND/OR RAGS

    • to clean your hands or gloves if you use them for blending

  • PENCIL SHARPENER

    • I still haven't found a good sharpener that doesn't break the lead of pastel pencils. I do it the old way, using a utility knife. I use OLFA 5003 L-1 18mm Ratchet-Lock Heavy-Duty Utility Knife. I buy it from Amazon. After using the knife, I use a sandpaper block if I need to sharpen it to a point. 

    • Some students find difficult to use the utility knife. In that case here you can try what some product experts have recommended at dakotapastels, but I still have to try it to see if the really work: dakotapastels.com recommends a brass sharpener with replaceable blades (they recommend to replace the blades often): http://www.dakotapastels.com/pages/pencils-sharpeners.aspx.

 

Additional information on pastel materials

Here you will find more information in case you want to know more about materials.

PASTELS

TYPES OF PASTELS: Pastels come in different softness depending on the brand. Note that Oil pastels are not included in this classification as it is a different medium.

SOFT PASTELS

  • Good for a loose approach, vivid colors and broad strokes.

  • Velvety texture, can easily be blended or smudged.

  • Not good to create thin lines and work with detail.

  • They are more delicate, can break easily and create more dust.

  • Not good for layering as they clog the paper quickly.

 

HARD PASTELS

  • Good for layering, control and detail.

  • The range of values and saturation is more limited than in soft pastels. You can't go as light, dark or bright.

  • They have normally a thin, square section. Mostly useful to work with the tip. You can use it also on its side for broad areas but not as successfully as with soft pastels.

  • They are firmer than soft pastels and therefore don’t break as easily and don’t create as much dust.

  • Pastel pencils are hard pastels in the form of a pencil, giving you even more control but with the down side that you can’t use it on its side.

 

Most artists prefer to use a combination of both soft and hard pastels (or pastel pencils) so they can get the advantages of both types in different stages or areas of the work.

 

CLASSIFICATION OF BRANDS: From softest to hardest, taken from http://www.dakotapastels.com/docs/Pastel-Lineup.pdf

SOFT: Schmincke, Great American, Blue Earth, Sennelier, Unison, Terry Ludwig, Diane Townsed, Blockx, Daler-Rowney, Girault, Mount Vision

MEDIUM OR SEMI-HARD: Rembrandt, Art Spectrum, Holbein 

HARD:

  • Thin, square-section sticks: Prismacolor NuPastels, CAran d'Ache, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Cretacolor 

  • Pastel pencils: Cretacolor, Stabilo Carbothelo, Caran D'Ache, Derwent, Gioconda, Faber Castell 

 

For those looking to try different brands www.dakotapastels.org sells pastel samplers.

 

VALUE OPTIONS

Apart from the sets recommended at the top of this page, here I have selected a few options reasonably priced. I found the prices online (dickblick.com) just to give you an idea. I recommend that you shop around as prices vary a lot from store to store and if there is a sale.

Richeson Half-Stick Foundation Pastel Sets.

​You have three types of sets: Basic, Landscape and Portrait. Each set has 38 colors and costs around $36

http://www.dickblick.com/products/richeson-half-stick-foundation-pastel-sets/

Pros: The interesting thing about this set is that it contains a selection of soft, medium and hard pastels in different shapes and sizes. That way you will experiment with all to find which one suits you best.

 

Cons: You might feel a bit limited as you don’t have enough colors in each category

Sennelier Half-Stick Sets.

Sets with 20, 30, 40, 80 and 120 colors. Prices range from $34 (set of 20) to $172 (set of 120)

http://www.dickblick.com/products/sennelier-soft-pastel-sets/

 

Pros: Very soft pastels with rich colors and great value for money. Good for those that like a painterly approach.

 

Cons: These sticks are very fragile, can break easily and create more dust than harder brands. If you want to layer more and have more control and detail you have to complement this brand with some hard pastels or pastel pencils.

 

Rembrandt Half-Stick Sets.

 

Sets with 15, 30, 60 and 90 colors. Prices range from $26 (set of 15) to $117 (set of 90)

http://www.dickblick.com/products/rembrandt-soft-pastel-sets/

Pros: Semi-hard brand that gives you control working on its tip but also useful on its side thanks to its wider section compare to other hard brands. Great value

Cons: This is an all-purpose brand but you might feel that you also need some softer, richer pastels and some pastel pencils for more control.

 

Prismacolor NuPastel Sets.

Sets of 12, 24, 36, 48 and 98. Prices range from $10 (set of 12) to $70 (set of 98

http://www.dickblick.com/products/prismacolor-nupastel-color-sticks/

 

Pros: Very popular hard brand suitable for beginners and affordable. Wide range of colors for a hard brand. Mostly recommended to work with the tip to create fine lines but can also be used with the side for broad strokes (sticks are thin and square section)

 

Cons: Although you can work only with hard pastels, most artists use them in combination with other softer brands to achieve more vivid colors. Nupastels have a reputation of not being lightfast.

 

PAPER

 

I find easier to use a sanded paper in a light neutral color: light gray, cream, brown, white, etc.  Medium sizes, between 11 x 14” to 18 x 24”, are suitable for most works. Working smaller or larger than that is more challenging. My favorite brands are the following but any other sanded paper will do:

 

Artspectrum Colourfix, size 20 x 28". This is a medium grit sanded paper, good for all purposes, with many color choices and normally available in DC area stores. If you cut the sheet in half, you get a 20x14” sheet and that is suitable for most of your works. http://www.dickblick.com/products/art-spectrum-colourfix-coated-pastel-paper/

 

Ampersand Pastelbord is a sanded board with very fine grit. Great to work with detail and create a smooth surface. You need a light touch to work on this board though, so it might be a bit difficult for a beginner. Only a few colors. http://www.dickblick.com/products/ampersand-pastelbord/

 

Non sanded paper like Canson Mi-Teintes or Strathmore Pastel Paper are good for quick sketches but more difficult for a finished work. They also have a very visible texture that most students don't like.  

 

For those looking to try different brands www.dakotapastels.org sells pastel paper samplers.

 

 

BOOKS

 

 

  • "On location. Plein Air Painting in Pastel" I like the colorful approach of this artist.

  • "The Pastel Book" by Bill Creevy. This book has a lot of information about materials and technique. 

  • “Painting the Landscape in Pastel” by Alber Handell and Anita Louise West. I like the simplicity of the composition and textures in the works of these artists.

  • “Painting Brilliant Skies & Water in Pastel” By Liz Haywood-Sullivan. I like the effective design of the works by this artist.

 


 

Portrait done mainly with pastel pencils. If you like detailed work you will use more hard pastels and/or pastel pencils.

Landscape done mainly with soft pastels. If you like a painterly approach you will use mostly soft pastels.

SENNELIER SET 80 COLORS HALF STICKS

CRETACOLOR PASTELS SET 72

Richeson Half-Stick Foundation Pastel Set.

Rembrandt Half-Stick Set

Prismacolor NuPastel Set

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