PDA

View Full Version : Which brand of pastel pencils


GrammyJ42
08-02-2012, 01:14 PM
I'm learning to use pastels and currently have a set of 24 student grade sticks, which is my workhorse set, a set of Prismacolor (24) when I need more detail, and a set of Giaconda pencils, which I purchased at Michaels. I'm adding to that collection bit by bit, as my retirement income will allow, and most recently added the Blick artist grade portrait set. My question concerns the pencils. When I am ready to replace them, what set should I get? Or should I just get a few individual pencils -- assuming they can be purchased that way -- and thus have the specific colors I need. Opinions and advice appreciated.

Sorry, I just noticed that I posted this to the wrong forum -- should have gone to the pastel talk. Please forgive a newbie mistake -- I am just learning to navigate this site.

allydoodle
08-03-2012, 11:10 PM
If you're not sure what brand to try, Dakota Pastels offers a pastel pencil sampler. Take a look here, (http://www.dakotapastels.com/pages/index-pencils.aspx)it's a pretty inexpensive purchase to try six different brands. I have Conte, Carb Othello, Derwent and Gioconda. I like all these brands, it really just depends on what color I'm looking for. I don't care what brand I pick up, it's all about the color. Each set I have has different shades of colors, I don't find I have many duplicates and I have full sets of the four brands I have.

Studio-1-F
08-04-2012, 10:14 AM
I don't care what brand I pick up, it's all about the color.
So there are no pigment density differences or harder/softer differences among all those four -- Conte, Carb Othello, Derwent and Gioconda -- brands? If so, can you summarize?

Thanks in advance for your advice, Chris!

Jan

GaryNorthants
08-04-2012, 09:15 PM
I have either full sets or very close to full sets of Derwents old and new, Faber Castell, Carbothello, Gioconda, Conte, Cretacolour and Rowney. They all have their uses and almost no duplication of colours. Of them all I find the Fabers are the most consistent across the range with Derwents excelling at the more neutral colours.
Best wishes
Gary

JPQ
08-04-2012, 10:43 PM
To my eyes Faber-Castell is best for landscapes for my taste anyway. they really understand greens and darks/deeps i think. but some brands have better hues some other uses. i have only two sets Faber-Castell 60 colour set and 24 colour Talens Van Gogh set which is clearly harder but have some good flower hues and different light blue for example. and fixes few gaps at least light turquoise. only few areas in faber-castell lightfastness is reason why i have another set.

allydoodle
08-04-2012, 11:20 PM
So there are no pigment density differences or harder/softer differences among all those four -- Conte, Carb Othello, Derwent and Gioconda -- brands? If so, can you summarize?

Thanks in advance for your advice, Chris!

Jan

Honestly, the brands I have work so nicely together I really don't think about softness versus hardness. The Gioconda pencils are the softest though. I think the quality of all four brands is pretty much equal, and each set has their own quirky colors, so I don't have too many duplicates. Maybe some yellows are duplicates. I've been using a very old Derwent set that has a nice selection of neutrals, great for portraits. The Conte pencils seem to have some very nice bright colors, the Carb Othellos are a great all around pencil with some really nice bright colors, as well as an indispensable Paynes Gray (a really nice dark).

Sharpening pastel pencils is a real pain. The Conte pencils are very thick and will only fit in one sharpener that I have. The Derwents fall into that same category. The Carb Othello and Giocondas are a bit better for sharpening, they are a standard size width and are easier to sharpen.

I only use pastel pencils for my commissioned portraits. I much prefer my sticks, but for commission work I like the control the pastel pencils give me. When I paint for myself I feel less pressure and I don't mind experimenting, then I pull out the sticks for portraits.

Hope this helps!

sketchZ1ol
08-05-2012, 12:36 PM
hello

i work on paper only .

the pencils/brands i tried all needed more pressure than my Nupastel sticks
( which are considered a ' hard ' pastel )
to get the pigment onto the surface .
> the tooth of the paper was flattened , and the pencils won't ' stick blend ' .

as far as budget/efficiency , 2/3 of the thing is useless for painting - it's not colour !

techniques for coloured pencil , charcoal , or graphite pencils didn't adapt for me .

a full 96 piece set of nupastels is usually available for less than 100 clams ,
often discounted further .
they have firm edges/points to start with .
( kinda like re-faceting a gemstone as you use them )

depending on how you hold a pencil , and make a broad mark ,
sharp edges will be re-formed .

if you want to make a ' pencil point ' ,
they can be shaved with a sharp knife and pointed up with sandpaper .

this is true for any ' hard ' pastel .

... my personal experience .

Ed :}

ps. student grade sticks are fine for learning !
there is a lot to discover from a limited range of colour and values .

Studio-1-F
08-05-2012, 01:27 PM
Thanks, Chris! That does help a bit.

Jan

Dcam
08-05-2012, 01:29 PM
I have slowly collected all the major brands and they all have various characteristics that are beneficial for various uses.

I agree with Ed on the nupastels and I like to sharpen them with a drywall sander sheet ( a kind of metal mesh which cleans very easily). (Home Depot, Lowes)

derek

Cieljaune
08-11-2012, 02:35 AM
I like the softness of Gioconda, and the Faber PITT pencils are well made, beautiful colors for "trois crayons" drawing/painting (black, sanguine red, white on toned paper). Contes have nice large leads and rich colors, but they feel hard and gritty. Their white pencil, however, is nice and opaque.

For a black pencil (if your pastel morals allow using black), you can't do better than the smooth, dense Wolff Carbon pencils. The 2B Wolff is like a hard pastel; the 6B is like a soft pastel.

Whatever brand you use, be sure NEVER to drop a pastel pencil on the floor or even on a tabletop. The lead will break internally, and you will have a sick pencil that can never be sharpened well. Sharpening carefully with a very keen knife (I prefer the flat hardware store ones with break-off blades) will expose the lead of a pastel pencil that doesn't want to work in a regular pencil sharpener, but once a pencil breaks internally and becomes sick, even that will not work. It's best just to throw it away and vow to be more careful in the future.

You will eventually find brands that you prefer. Everyone has different preferences. Enjoy your search for your favorite!

-- Ciel

Moises Menendez
05-23-2017, 04:40 PM
I have seen several European artists using the pencil pastel more than ever. I may say, I have seen more videos of artists using pastel pencils to a great detail and performance. In fact I have seen a video of an artist from the west coast, Cuon Nguyen achieving super realism by using only pastel pencils and a limited palette. Is this a new thing or I am not aware of the use of pastel pencils ? They differ significantly from their cousins, the stick pastels.
Appears to be that the German pastel pencils may have an advantage over the Italian, English, or French pastel pencils.

robertsloan2
06-03-2017, 08:42 PM
I have Carbothello and Cretacolor, really like the Carbothello a lot. They're all good though. If you get multiple brands you've got a better color range. Derwent, some may not be lightfast.

ScientistChic
08-06-2017, 09:38 PM
What about the HARDNESS versus SOFTNESS of differing brands? That would make a difference to me and creating details.

Any ideas how brands of pastel pencil rank in order of Hard to Soft?

Does anyone know about the different fillers different brands use, and how much actual pigment different brands use in their pencils?

I am curious about these things, and greatly appreciate any experts knowledge about these subjects.
Thanks bunches!!!!
Smiles

VeruveeH
08-07-2017, 07:51 AM
I can only share my experience with Carbothello and Gioconda. Carbothello has 60 colors, Gioconda only 48. But the use of these tho brands are very different for me. Carbothellos are harder with more earthy tones. So they are good for tiny details, animals, wildlife... But Giocondas are softer with vibrant colors, I can use them when on the picture, there are too many layers for Carbothellos - thanks their softness I can add one or two layers or some final highlights.

KJSCL
08-09-2017, 09:15 PM
Everyone will have their favorites. This is how they rank for me
#1 – CarbOthello (60) – great overall, relatively soft, good consistency, tend to sharpen well, nice color range
#2 -Derwent (72) – good color range , bit harder than CO, tend to sharpen well
#4 – FaberCastell Pitt (60)– harder than the other two but great for glazing and blending. Very good portrait colors, sharpen very well
#5 – Bruynzeel (48)– harder than the first two but are also great for glazing and blending. Sharpen well
#6 – Caran D’Ache (84) – very nice colors and quite soft. Break much easier when sharpening. Incredibly expensive.
#7 – Gioconda (48) – very similar to the new Bruynzeel (they could be the same manufacturer but I’m not sure). Like them but they aren’t readily available as open stock
#8 & 9 – Cretacolor (72) and Conte (48)– with the exception of a few pencils, I find them quite hard and sometimes gritty. I use them sparingly. I find Conte to have an unusual texture

Most brands don't state what binders they use or the amount of pigment. From what I've been able to find, kaolin clay seems to be the binder used in pencils.

stapeliad
08-10-2017, 10:30 AM
I have slowly collected all the major brands and they all have various characteristics that are beneficial for various uses.

I agree with Ed on the nupastels and I like to sharpen them with a drywall sander sheet ( a kind of metal mesh which cleans very easily). (Home Depot, Lowes)

derek


Derek!! you are back to pastels again? :D :heart:

JustinM
08-10-2017, 12:41 PM
What about the HARDNESS versus SOFTNESS of differing brands? That would make a difference to me and creating details.

Any ideas how brands of pastel pencil rank in order of Hard to Soft?

Does anyone know about the different fillers different brands use, and how much actual pigment different brands use in their pencils?

I am curious about these things, and greatly appreciate any experts knowledge about these subjects.
Thanks bunches!!!!
Smiles

In my own experience (I own full sets of every major pastel pencil except creatacolor) I dont find a massive difference in hardness and softeness between brands. Definitely some feel softer than others but its not like the difference between nupastel and schminke. In fact, these days i just have all my pastel pencils in one huge stand separated by colour & I grab them as needed, disregarding brand.

I mostly use CarboThello, Gioconda and Bruynzeel and find them pretty interchangeable.

I do like Conte - and, funnily enough, unlike some, i find them to actually be softer than most other brands (although a few of their colours are gritty, for sure). But i hate sharpening them. They kill any pencil sharpener you try and must be sharpened by hand which is a real pain based on how i work.

The nature of pastel pencils means they all have a decent amount of filler in them (compared with sticks) simply because if they were as soft as most sticks, you'd never be able to sharpen them, they would crumble as you tried to remove wood.

Hope that helps.

palettetalk
08-20-2017, 06:08 PM
I only use a 60 set of CarbOthello and love them.

SilviaS7
08-30-2017, 08:00 PM
I have Faber-Castell, Derwent, Caran d'Ache, Cretacolor, Conte, and CarbOthello pastel pencils. For me personally, the Caran d'Ache are the best. I love the intensity of the pigment and how they lay down and blend. They are the most expensive so that stinks, but they are all pretty lightfast. Second for me is the Faber Castell, and third is the Conte. I like the Derwent colors I have so I will pick up more of those. I don't really care for the Cretacolor, which is sad because I wanted to love them, and I kind of hate the CarbOthello pencils. They're not bad pastel pencils, I just do not like them. However, I feel the CarbOthello range has some of the brightest colors in it of all pastel pencil sets, which tend to be more muted. So I'd have to recommend any pastel pencil artist have a full set of the CarbOthello just for some of the color variety they provide.

ScientistChic
08-31-2017, 12:25 PM
LOL - I really appreciate your views, and the time you took writing. I too, LOVE Caran d'ache - but alas the price. I just cannot afford a full set of their pastels and then replacing them too. I only dream of the day. SMILES.
I went ahead and did order Faber-Castell.....which I really like too. They sem to keep a sharper point and are less dusty. The Derwent that I ordered to sample were too soft and dusty for me - but the colors are lovely. I also received a set of CarbOthelo's - which I like for wildlife pastels. The colors between the Faber and Carb are different enough that I am glad for the two sets. Of course, I have my Conte pencils which I have used for years and will continue to use.
There is another set I would like but again the expense - I think they are Japanese made? But I cannot get any of them in open stock only the full sets. Forgot the name. So I will never purchase them.....but the colors are like angels. I only wish I could try 5 or 6 of them.....
I just received some PastelMat - Love it! What are your favorite papers?
I will check out the paper page - I know there must be one.
I am trying to become more abstract and just let things flow.....
Thanks again and Kind Regards.

Grinner
09-09-2017, 12:38 PM
Pastel pencils work beautifully on PastelMat - I just recommend using it in white (or at least a lighter color) to ensure that the colors pop as much as possible. Pencils are less color-rich and more transparent than your fabulously softer sticks, so to get the most bang for your buck with pieces done in pastel pencil, avoid darker surfaces.

Also, use a light touch with pencils. Because they are the hardest of your pastel options, and they are sharper, they can scratch/indent your surface if you press too hard. Go easy and then layer to get more intense color. And if you need precision but something softer/more intense than what a pastel pencil can offer, that's when you step up to a sharpened Cretacolor or Nupastel stick. They are hard enough to hold a point, but soft enough to give more payoff per stroke than a pencil can. You can always layer softer over harder as needed in pastel, and since pencil is the hardest, any other pastel can go overtop. Have fun playing! :)

Here are two of my favorite examples of what pastel pencils can do:

Tanya WIP (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1310315) (by plt8769)

Playing with the Angels WIP - finished piece (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15098772) (by Allydoodle - the full WIP thread is available via link on the top right of this linked post, but this is the finished piece)