Using Pastel Pencils - Pencils4Artists

Pastel  Pencils
Pastel Pencils
  Pastels & Carres
What are Pastels & Carres?
Soft pastels are the most popular form of pastel and generally have a greater proportion of pigment and less binder in their make up, this makes them soft and chalky to use.  Carres, as in the Conte Carre, have an oilier base and can be layered more easily.  These should not be confused with oil pastels however, which have a full oil base. 

Due to the powdery nature of soft pastels finished drawing need to be protected, either with a fixative or behind glass, to prevent smudging.
Good quality soft pastels have a beautiful, vibrant laydown of colour and can be used to create everything from beautiful, subtle images to dramatic scenes. 
What Are Pastel Pencils?
Pastel Pencils a  relatively new innovation in the pencil world. Using the same techniques to make the cores as used for making actual pastels - Pastels are made from finely ground pigments, mixed in a base (like clay) and then bound together with gum to form a stiff paste and allowed to harden. As with all art products the amount of pigment used relative to the base changes the attributes of the products allowing for a huge range of possibilities -
The core is then encased in wood to give an end product that has all the softness and versatility of pastel with a cleaner, more precise finish and less crumbling. 
  • The most popular attribute of pastels & pastel pencils is the ability to blend colours and lines easily.
  • Start with light scribbled strokes (pressing too hard will make it difficult to blend)
  • then and then use a finger or paper stump so blend together to create even tones. These days it is possible to get paper stumps in several sizes to allow for pinpoint accuracy or larger area blending without getting covered in pastel!
  • You can also use a stipple brush for blending (this can be especially good for working pigment right into the texture of the paper)and rubber Color Shapers are also becoming very popular as they are easy to clean and reuse.
  • After blending colours it is then possible to add lines over the top to add structure to the piece. In this case the blended background acts like underpainting. Pastel pencils are especially useful here as they allow detailed lines to be added with.
  • Use a detail eraser such as an eraser pencil to lift patches of colour out to create highlights.
  • Highlights can further be created with embossing tools.  These allow you to score fine lines into the surface you are working on that will resist the pigment as you draw over it.
  • Naturally watersoluble you can use a little water on a brush to create other interesting effects and smooth out hard lines and edges.
  • The choice of Pastel Pencil or Pastel is largely a personal one and depends what kind of finish and use you want.
  • We carry several ranges that are hard to find as individual pencils in the UK, a couple of examples are Bruynzeel Pastel Pencils and Cretacolor Pastel Pencils as well as the highly popular Derwent Pastel Pencils, Faber Castell Pitt Pastel Pencils and Conté à Paris Pastel Pencils.
  • For soft pastels we have the wonderful Unison Pastels, which are handmade in the UK, as well as the Sennelier Soft Pastels, among others.
  • In addition we carry the Conté à Paris Carres which are similar to pastels and manufactured in the same way but are a little harder and oilier. Used the same way as pastels they blend well but also lay over one another better than pastels due to their oily nature.