View Full Version : Blue Earth Pastel

06-11-2012, 07:14 AM
Has anyone tried Blue Earth pastels? I love the organization! I am wondering how soft they are and what is the feel of them.

06-11-2012, 08:43 AM
There is a thead here you can take a look at (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1125952). There's lots of joking around, but it doesn't seem anybody has purchased them yet, or at least they haven't posted that they have. I'm always interested in hearing about new products, maybe somebody has purchased them recently and will post what they think. :crossfingers:

06-11-2012, 09:02 AM
Thanks Ally! I saw that thread when researching these pastels but as you said, at that time no one had first hand experience. I love the concept and organization and want to order some but I have a few questions.

This is the only info on the website:

"Our modular color wheel format organizes colors by hue, value and intensity, making it easy to find the right color with the correct value. Complementary harmonies are quickly established with a simple shuffling of boxes. Sticks are stored on end, creating a compact 210 stick set. Is it time to unshackle the creative spirit? For professional use. " available through Dakota Pastel.

There is a disclaimer:

"Avoid working methods that generate large ammounts of dust. Wear a dust mask and maintain normal levels of studio hygiene. If a vacuum is used for cleaning purposes, it should be equipped with a HEPA filter and bag. For professional use. Keep out of reach of children. Conforms to ASTM-D 4236. We use opaque, high density mineral pigments for their high tinting strength and outstanding lightfastness. These include iron oxide, titanium, cobalt and European sourced cadmium pigments. While there has been public concern about cadmium compounds used by other industries, it should be noted that modern cadmium pigments are nearly insoluble, relatively bio-unavailable, and do not require an ASTM warning label for ingestion. This was not always the case. In the1920's, cadmium pigments contained 100,000 to 150,000 ppm (parts per million) of soluble cadmium. Today's cadmium pigments contain about 10ppm soluble cadmium."

***Is this a normal standard warning for all pastels or should we proceed with caution?

***Has anyone tried these? Is it easy to retrieve them from the box?

***Is this a unique safety warning/label/disclaimer or is this standard?

***Are they less safe than Rembrandt and Sennelier?

***what is the feel compared to Schminke / Sennelier?

On the Dakota Pastel Website this is written:



Origin: USA
Colors: 206
Size: 1/2" x 7/16 x 1 3/16"

Organized by Hue, Value, and Intensity

Colors in Blue Earth Pastels are organized in the traditional nineteenth century manner: by hue, value and intensity. This sensible color wheel arrangement makes finding the right color with the correct value quick and easy.

The line consists of ten color range sets of 21 pastels each. Primary hues have a warm and cool box: Red and Quinacridone; Yellow and Lemon & Blue and Cerulean. One box for each of the secondary hues: Orange, Green & Violet. The final box is composed of warm and cool grays, warm white (2ea), cool white (2ea), and black (3ea).

Each box is organized from light to dark using a seven-value scale. The nine color boxes are further divided by intensity: Line A is the brightest; Line B is medium intensity (graying line A with a complement); Line C is the least saturated (more graying).

Finding the right color is simplified with this method of organization. Complementary color harmonies are easy to create. Organizing by hue, value and intensity allows a relatively small set to present the fullest expression of color.

Each color range is packaged in a unique format that allows pastels to be inserted vertically in foam cradled boxes that measure 3 x 6 1/4 x 2. The pastels are in an almost square format and on the very soft end of the hardness scale. The pastels are made from high density mineral pigments with a proven historical record for permanence. All sticks are numbered for easy identification.

06-11-2012, 01:37 PM
***Is this a normal standard warning for all pastels or should we proceed with caution?

***Has anyone tried these? Is it easy to retrieve them from the box?

***Is this a unique safety warning/label/disclaimer or is this standard?

***Are they less safe than Rembrandt and Sennelier?

***what is the feel compared to Schminke / Sennelier?

I have found that it is very difficult to obtain pigment information on most of the pastel brands. Senneliers list their pigments on the label and also on their flyer that is available in many art stores, but I don't have it in front of me at the moment. (Mine is at home and I am at work.)

You can also go to Dick Blick's website and see which individual pastels under open stock carry a warning label, but I wouldn't say that is reliable either, as different brands seem to interpret things either more loosely or tightly. Unisons, for example, list almost all their pastels with a safety warning. This may be due to using Titanium White in all their tints. I think most companies don't consider Titanium white to need a warning label. That's just a guess on my part!

The Blue Earth pastels mention that they do use cobalts, cadmiums and a few other heavy metals in thier pastels. From whatever information I have researched over the years, I would say that some brands definitely do and some don't. Senneliers don't use any Cadmiums (as far as I know) but have about 7 pastels that use cobalt or some other heavy metal. Rembrandts don't list any pastels with a warning label on Blick's website, so they may not use any heavy metals. Giraults, in their literature, mention no heavy metals are used, but they do have a few pastels named "cobalt" so I'm not sure what that means! Mt. Visions may not use heavy metals, either, at least according to an email from them. That was as of two or three years ago.

I'm fairly certain that Unisons do use cadmiums and other heavy metals. Roche has a number of pastels that carry a warning label.

In general, the disclaimer is probably not too different than one might find for pastels in general, but might be a bit more thorough because of their use of heavy metals, especially cadmiums - although they have given a a good explanation regarding today's modern cadmiums.

It is definitely a good recommendation that people should use a dust mask while using pastels and have a HEPA filter for their vacuum, in my opinion.

Hope this helps.


06-11-2012, 02:26 PM
Thanks Don! I do need to look into the masks and the HEPA filter. It is all rather confusing isn't it?

06-12-2012, 10:34 PM
Plain old street philosophy says it's not a good idea to inhale a lot of dust. My newest favorite brand is Mt. Vision as I like the grays and the dust factor is below that of Sennelier and Ludwig--the latter I love. When in doubt, wear a mask. Paula Ford who seldom posts here any more, was selling a really great mask that works and is not as obnoxious as the garden variety. I bought some and can tolerate them very well. You can google her, or find her by clicking her name on WC, and ask. I can't remember what the brand is. Tell her Sonni sent you .;)

06-13-2012, 12:37 AM
Thankyou for the great tip! I will follow up!

08-17-2014, 09:09 AM
Blue earth pastels! I just nought two boxes and I have fallen in love so much pigment!
I will be getting more.

08-17-2014, 09:25 AM
I have several boxes...mostly the neutral color collections and the warm and cool grays. I love the texture they are very soft and powdery and the colors are just beautiful. They go over just about every other brand quite well and I find I like them more than ludwigs. I always found ludwigs to be a bit rubbery and these are just very smooth. They are a bit smaller than a ludwig stick, but I actually like that!

08-17-2014, 11:10 AM
Just saw that Dakota is having a sale on Blue Earth samplers. I'm tempted :)

08-17-2014, 02:07 PM
I've been intrigued by the samplers, though a little bit dubious about getting a primary set with muteds because I love the secondary colors so much. It's too bad they don't do a secondary triad sampler like that. Still, it's pretty cool and I've dithered on which of the sampler sets. They are really pushing the gradations of both tints and muted colors so there isn't a "mass tones sampler" or mass tones and tints with just the bright lines that'd grab me.

Of course if I really wanted that I could always get 12 of them in open stock or something, or 24 to have tints too. I wonder if I put together my own 21 color collection if they'd use those same boxes for it?

08-17-2014, 07:41 PM
I love Blue Earth and would buy the full set if they were a little big bigger. An inch in length is just a bit too small for the price, in my opinion. Being a new brand, I really hope they change that someday. I think they would see an increase in sales if they did.

08-17-2014, 07:46 PM
That's one of the things that put me off getting them - that and the color arrangement that makes "all or nothing" thinking sooo likely. I wouldn't be happy with less than six boxes of the dang things and would prefer the full range, or the full range minus the neutrals boxes. When they came out with the smaller sets, I got intrigued, especially the Warm and Cool boxes which seemed to hvae a nice palette but not much darks. Hard to use the portrait and landsacpe boxes together as a full palette without it becoming quite a high key, super light painting.

Weirdly this might be a brand I need to buy open stock to get. Unless I put together something like the little starter from open stock and see if they put secondaries into a little-set box for organization. Dakota might put together a custom small-box set if I talk to them about what I need in a sampler, ie primary AND secondary.

I just called to ask them about a custom 12 color box, left a message for them to call me tomorrow. I picked out the other 6 colors I'd like to have in it besides the Primary Sampler, five Pure Tones and a V1D to have a deep dark violet. I figure the pale yellow neutral would work for tinting the other colors just as it's intended to on the sampler.

They are pricy for the size, but that may mean really high quality. What it might also mean is good and compact for taking with me for plein air - in a very tiny minimal kit like the Terrages. I didn't see a bright blue-green in the earth greens range so chose a Turquoise instead, and a quinacridone pink, a bright orange, a V1A for bright violet and V1D for deep dark.

Heck if they'll do actual substitutions putting a white in for that light neutral would make the tiny set really work.

I would not get bright violets with that yellow cast red, though I might get bright greens with the blue and the yellow it's not the primaries I'd have chosen for a complete mixing set.

There are so many neutrals to the complete range that I would be happier even with a large set, to get the A line on all of them except Earth Green where I'd move three B greens over and down one to get the brightest greens. That'd be three boxes full, or a pretty big range. Eh, I have enough pastels, not sure why I'm drooling over these. But would like to know whether I can get a custom tiny set of them just to try them.

08-18-2014, 04:39 PM
Wow Rob, it sounds like you have a great palette worked out. I hope Dakota will work with you. I think they will; they are always so helpful.

About the possibility of the price just indicating very high quality, it is nice to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I am skeptical. The way I look at it, soft pastels are mostly pigment, and other artist grade American pastel makers are already using the best pigments available. I'm sure Terry Ludwig and Great American use the best pigments they can get, and since there is so little binder involved, that doesn't leave much wiggle room for less or more pigment accounting for the price. I don't really see much opportunity for the quality to increase from those other brands--and certainly not enough to justify double the price.

If they were Swiss or something and had to pay outrageous import taxes or something like that I could see it (and wouldn't mind paying it), but an American made pastel? Just seems excessive, IMHO.

Of course, they are still great pastels and so we all wish we had the full set anyway! But that is still my two cents.

Edit: Oh, and I do like those boxes . . . but what do you want to bet they were designed that way so you couldn't see how tiny the pastels are? Tsk tsk! :D

08-18-2014, 09:18 PM
Heh, good point, Saskia about the box design. This discussion got me thinking and when Dakota called me back today, the woman there did help me put together my set. I got the 6 color sampler in a 12 color sampler box with my six chosen other colors in at $3 a stick. So this week I'll know whether they're worth $3 a stick or not.

If they're even decent, they'll make a good little field kit. A good mixing spectrum with a neutral lightener - the grayish beige stick next to the yellow on the starter looked light enough I didn't have to give a space to white - and a deep-deep violet. Plus O4A, a bright orange, P3A for a bright magenta cool red, E4A for a bright yellow green, T4A for a turquoise, V1A for a bright violet and V1D for a deep dark violet. I can do landscapes with that, turquoise will do for sky lightening and for blue-greens.

The box itself is tiny, only about 4 1/2" long by 3 1/4" or something and 2 1/2" deep. It might actually fit in my vest pocket, if it does then my Paint-Out Vest will be rearranged, especially if these pastels work well.

They might be very worth it for plein air because of their small size and $3 a stick isn't too bad for high quality, pigment-rich sticks. I'll see how fast these wear down while using a small palette too, to know whether that's a problem or not. But I'm pretty sure if I were selling art I could easily make the little box pay for itself. There comes a point of not worrying about using them up unless they get used up on ONE painting and it doesn't pay for the sticks that got used up on it!

That stage is there for colored pencils painting. I've done and sold that in the past and once sold a painting that I used up much more than $75 worth of Prismacolors in creating. Soft pastels, that has not happened even with Senneliers. I still have really good sized Sennelier half sticks that I've used on even fairly large paintings exclusively, so that was not the problem I thought it would be the first time I tried one on an 11 x 14" piece of Wallis with the set.

So there's probably a place for Blue Earth in my overall palette. Depending on how much I like them, it's either this pocket set or about three boxes with the A line of all the actual colors and several B line greens to brighten up the bottom of the Earth Green "A" line. A large set would be quite pricy but I might be able to design a good set larger than 12 but maybe try for "palette of 28" to keep the box convenient.

Or go the route of the two 21 color collections, since they do have a full spectrum with nice values between them and that is cheaper per stick. The idea of them was to always get the tone right and not fuss so much about color, so full range vs. a smaller set, they're starting to put together useful smaller sets. Which is where I think the small size of the sticks might shine.

Barbara WC
08-18-2014, 11:06 PM
Robert- I am really looking forward to your review of the Blue Earth pastels, you always do such a great job reviewing art supplies! :thumbsup:

I've been considering the BE pastels lately- the layout of the pastels seems really nice. I wish that more people would buy the set and post photos here on WC! So hard to see the true colors at the Dakota website...

My favorite pastels are Ludwigs, and I'm curious how BE compares. I have the Ludwig color chart, but often have trouble finding the right hue/value, and have ordered sticks from the color chart which haven't been quite what I was looking for. The chart is on UArt paper, which is a nice paper, but it makes judging some of the colors, especially portrait colors difficult because of the yellowish background (IMO). The Ludwig color chart has many "colors", but the chart is not organized by hue/value ranges, except for their newest colors (grays and brights)- I've worked on putting together an adequate portrait set with Ludwigs, but when I look at the BE line, I see lots of possibilities...

Will be curious what you think of the BE. Right now they seem to have special pricing on their boxed sticks, and the price drops down to below $3 a stick and might be worth the cost.

One hesitation I have is that they do use cadmium- I'm not worried about my personal health, but for the environment. But I did find out the cadmium they use is sourced from Europe, not Asia, and I'm pretty sure that Europe has more stringent controls on mining. That puts me more at ease, enough that I may end up trying them after your review!

By the way, found out that Blue Earth pastels are manufactured here in the US, in Blue Earth, Minnesota! Cool!

08-19-2014, 10:31 AM
I'm looking forward to the package with bated breath, they did seem so interesting in the way they organized the color. Thanks for the tip about the Ludwig chart. I was tempted to get the full chart in order to be able to order open stock easier, but if it's that disorganized it might be hard. Especially if it's harder to judge the color on Uart.

With the special pricing on the boxed sets, the Land-Sea and Portrait-Figure 21 color sets are tempting. It's a nice range and has some interesting hues in it. Full range saves about $200 on the cost of all of them in open stock, but involves juggling 12 boxes on a table and has many more neutrals than I'd normally use. Ever since I first saw them I've been tempted to get just the "A" line and move three cool greens over to swap out the dull darker yellow greens on the Earth Green box.

Agree it's hard to tell from the photos. When I got my Terrages the colors were much brighter than either Dakota or Blick's photos of the set and I was very happy about that since I got them as mixers and wanted full strong intensity. With what I picked out in my custom sampler, I should get strong intense colors if there are any.

08-22-2014, 11:32 PM
They just got here! Took some pictures. Dakota used Priority Mail to ship them and so they arrived very fast. Unfortunately there was a mistake in the phone order so I got a P4A instead of the T4A that I ordered, which they're making good and shipping my turquoise stick right out.

So here's the box I just opened! The two Quinacridone Pinks are both lovely colors but one's going to move to a different box when the turquoise comes. Also I might have to either get a white or use a Sennelier white with them because that light neutral is actually about the same value as the bright yellow. Useful beige, but not a lightener for the other colors.


The box is quite tiny, I could shove it into a jacket pocket easily. That makes this a good choice for painting outdoors or in the field. If I toss it in my backpack as long as I've got something with a white in it too, I could easily combine them.

So I did swatches of all the new pastels on plain paper. I think these might like sanded papers better, they're quite soft though. I liked the Ludwig textures better.


The orange that I chose looks a bit redder than I thought it would be from the color chart, almost a warm red orange more than orange. The green is satisfyingly bright yellow green suitable for "sunlight coming through a leaf from behind." The deep dark violet is a lovely deep dark violet close to TerryLudwig V100 with a different texture.

The texture is very soft and almost a little slippery. I'll need to try it on more other sorts of paper to really know. They seem pigment rich but the darker Quinacridone Pink and the Orange crumbled a bit.

They're not hard to take out of the box. The way the ends are up does save some space in how to carry them, the entire 12 color box would fit in a jacket pocket and a white would make this sufficient to carry for plein air. But I might want to cut small pieces of sanded paper to carry or prime pages in my pastel journal to use with them.

I'll try them in my pastel journal next maybe, and see how well they work with others by lightening with a Ludwig or Sennelier. They are really quite soft yet also very smooth, in a way it was like going back to the smooth softness of student grade pastels. They blend easily and are very fine grained, there's a little variance in texture per color that must come from the pigment and suggests they're not adding extra binders to equalize texture.

Interesting pastels. I'm looking forward to getting the turquoise and now think I might have skipped the orange in favor of a white, since I really thought that light neutral was much lighter. It's darker in person than the photo shows, seems to photo lightly. It'd be a good if cool base for a skin tone, could in a stroke be a distant skin tone light, vs. the darker neutral being much less purplish than it looked in the photo, more a warm brown for dashing in darker people in the distance.

08-22-2014, 11:52 PM
A here they look lovely.

08-23-2014, 12:31 AM
Nice Robert...looks good..but they look tiny. Are they smaller than TLs?

nice flower!

08-23-2014, 01:09 AM
They do. I've got to try them on other papers and try doing something real with them - and dig out a white soft enough to use with them.

Barbara WC
08-23-2014, 02:29 PM
Thank you Robert for the preliminary review! Great flower! :thumbsup:

The sticks are lovely in that box- and quite bright! They do look small, but in a set, they are on "special" right now for $2.50 or less, and open stock, look like they are $3.00. The prices seem reasonable, especially in a set on special. Terry Ludwig's price seems to have gone up- open stock sticks are now $4.15 each!

I'll be curious to know what you think of them on sanded surface. My favorites are Terry Ludwig, but I'm tempted to try the BE portrait set...

I agree with you- seems like the primary sampler should have had a lighter stick for highlights and mixing the others...

08-23-2014, 05:53 PM
Yeah. If I really like them I might get the Land-Sea and Portrait sets, since that's a manageable number. I don't just want to do either and there aren't many warms in the Land-Sea set, but for some reason it appealed to me.

That or get the A line in all the actual colors but substitute the B line for the darkest three greens so that it's seven greens getting lighter and greener. That'd be an interesting palette and less expensive than getting the full range by a lot, but, I'd also wind up having to get it all for open stock price. I'm not sure if I like them enough to get that many, the Land and Portrait sets are cheaper per stick.

I can see one advantage to the size though. They'd fit well in a Single Sketchbox for a good palette for museum sketching or anywhere else I don't want to need an easel!

08-23-2014, 06:40 PM
I've had some for a while, l like them better than my Ludwigs. Agree that the size is off-putting pricewise but perfect for transporting. Having the entire range of color in one box just makes me dance with joy, so for me these are definitely thumb up. No more guessing about whether that's a warm or cool stick.

Barbara WC
08-24-2014, 02:13 AM
Mudfish- Can you elaborate why you like the Blue Earth pastels better than the Ludwigs? Do you prefer the texture, and how do they compare?

I find choosing a gradients of colors in the Ludwig line frustrating, even with a color chart (I should qualify this, the newer sticks in the Ludwig line, like the grays, blues and brights, are numbered in progression from light to dark for the same hue line, but the older sticks are numbered in such a way that they are scattered all around the chart!). And although I've put together a satisfactory box for portraits, I don't like the Ludwig line of colors as much as the Unison, Sennelier nor Rembrandt lines for what I consider skin tone colors..

The systematic color and value progressions of the BE is the most appealing thing to me. The size would be okay to because I break Ludwigs in half...

But, I do love the textures of the Ludwigs, and for some of my complaints about them, the texture, and the fact that they don't use cadmiums, are the main reasons I like them. I also like Ludwig greens, grays and dark choices, although rarely use my greens.

I am not totally against cadmium use though, if the BE have as smooth and buttery texture as Ludwig does, especially on PastelMat, I might have to try the portrait sampler...

08-25-2014, 03:12 AM
Today I gave the Blue Earths another test - this time on sanded paper, I primed another page in my S&B Beta journal with Colourfix primer yesterday to do the Johannes Vloothuis class in pan pastels and ten didn't get going on it. Will do that later.

Decided to use it to try my Blue Earths on a real painting. One of the WDE images looked like I could do it if I used a white Ludwig with them - and by the end I didn't need the white Ludwig. If I just have that little box with me I'll be using the paper to lighten and doing a lot of blending to get values. They are very good for that.

I finally realized what was familiar-unfamiliar about them. They feel like the soft smooth silky Faber Castell or Loew Cornell or Blick Student soft student grade pastels. Super soft. Occasional crumbles. That slick silky texture. More creamy than buttery - there's a distinct feel difference between them and Ludwigs suggesting different binder formula and texture. The pigments are very rich and strong, light values blended out by smudging shade smoothly. They respond well... to ... fingers.

lol I finger blended a lot and just washed up afterward. I'm not too worried about it on my hands.

Down side very, very dusty and crumbly. I had to snap off great lots of dust that was piling up from putting strokes of even fairly light consistency on. They're just different. But that size is quite convenient.

Still not sure if I want more of them, if I do, I may want to put them in with some other pastels. Next step is to go testing them as finishers over other pastels, how good are they at the "final details" use? Senneliers crumbled and got dusty like that too.

Slight variance in texture between colors does betray that these are real artist grade ones where pigments behave differently, not dyed chalk that all has the same exact feel.

I should get a photo of a Ludwig and a Blue Earth sitting next to each other.


Well, there it is! I set the Blue Earth on top of the Ludwig so you could see exactly how much smaller it is. Ludwigs are pretty compact too in a plein air box. But these little Blue Earths have a serious advantage with size and plein air, so I'm going to keep playing with them till I really master them.

I got very frustrated right to the end of my painting - and then I liked it right at the end. I'm not used to that texture any more. Even though every single time I've played with student pastels I've beat my head on the wall going "Why doesn't some manufacturer do artist grade ones with that texture? Some effects just work better in it."

They're not bad for the money. They're good and they're fun. The size is a good thing, I think they'd cost more if they were that finely milled and the size of Ludwigs. But I am beginning to think calcium carbonate may be in the filler giving that texture.

They wear down fast, the corners and edges I used blunted off very quickly. Again like Sennelier, but I was on Colourfix and grit does wear pastels down faster. The pile of dust in the photo is from the Blue Earth not the Ludwig, which I had wiped clean. What I haven't tried are soft smooth coated surfaces like La Carte or Pastelmat. I've tried plain paper sketch paper and now Colourfix. Pretty sure Wallis would eat them alive. But I'll have to see how that smoothness works on Pastelmat.

This is a fun series of experiments.

Ah, one other thought that occurred to me. It's nagged me around the edges. By the chart, the BLUE color looked like it was French Ultramarine with Cerulean as a more green cast blue. It's not. It's something else or mixed with something to green it, maybe Ultramarine Green Cast or something. Because it's somewhere between a greenish blue and a spectrum blue, it hasn't even got the slightest violet cast. The purple is a mid-to-reddish violet and fairly light, not Dioxazine Violet.

This means they may expand of course, go add Ultramarine as itself later on just as they did Turquoise. Or a Blue-Violet which would serve the purpose, the bright blue-violet sometimes seen. I prefer violet-cast blues to green cast blues generally, or to have both. If I've got one, then I'd rather have Ultramarine. It still makes bright enough greens but it does vivid violets just as quinacridones do brighter violets.

The full range would appeal to me more based on a 12 color spectrum or 13 since Turquoise is added and Cerulean neatly between Blue and Turquoise. The deep dark violet doesn't look washed out though so maybe there's dioxazine in the darkeners. They don't talk about what pigments or formulas or binders, so it's all guessing in the dark.

Yet I miss Ultramarine.

08-25-2014, 08:18 AM
I also like ultramarine blue.I have Schmincke ones (which are not real thing fully,and now even synthetic ultramarine is real one i mean is mixture) and which dont have anything else. I somehow based hues they use some most reliable pigments based pics i mean these Blue Earths. But as i know sometimes exactly or almost exactly same hue can made otherways.

Barbara WC
08-25-2014, 02:03 PM
Thank you Robert for a great review, and comparing the size of the BE next to the Ludwig!

I agree with you- you might try PastelMat. I find that Sennelier creates so much dust on most papers for me- except on PastelMat. Ludwigs are similar- on other papers I get a lot of dust, but PastelMat seems to grab the soft pastels well. PastelMat is strange though- when I use softer pastels, like Ludwig, Sennelier, hardly any dust forms at the bottom of my easel. But if I use Unison (slightly firmer), more dust forms, and finally, Rembrandt on PastelMat forms a lot of dust for me. Yet on Canson Mi-Tientes, Rembrandts seem to produce less dust.

Nice review, thanks again! I may have to try the portrait set- I break the Ludwigs in half, and the BE look like they would be a good in between size.