When I first learned I would be using pastels in class that I took a few weeks ago, I had no clue what they were. I knew they were sticks of colors. I also knew my Hubby had used them years ago. I never held one in my hand.
So off I go to do some research on the Internet. I found glowing reviews for really EXPENSIVE soft pastels (e.g. Unison, Sennelier, and Schmincke). Then I realized there were different types of pastels: soft, soft-medium, and hard. I was looking for a set of colors to start with. I came across NuPastels (Prismacolor), which are considered hard pastels and the reviews were really good. Less dust and less breakage or crumble. I found a set of 24 at a great price.
Here’s the set I started with:
I love that each pastel stick has its own place. It’s soft gray foam that’s holding the pastels and preventing them from breakage when shipping. As you can see it’s quite useful for storage as well.
I painted a few practice paintings over several weeks and realized 24 colors were not enough. So what did I do? Expanded my color range. Here’s my new addition:
Can you count all the colors? There’s 96 colors. I had to test all the colors and created a color swatch which covered two pieces of 9″x12″ paper. These were small swatches!
Now, I’ve read where pastel artists have several different brands of pastels as well as different types (soft and hard). I’ve learned they use the NuPastels for their first layer where they draw/sketch the initial painting. For the next layers they use the soft-medium pastels. The final layers they use the expensive soft pastels.
Eventually, I will get there. Add the Unison or Sennelier pastels to my collection. In the meantime, I’m very happy using NuPastels for my artwork: