View Full Version : How did you get involved with soft pastels?

10-19-2012, 04:00 AM
I'm curious how folks have gotten hooked on pastels. It doesn't seem to be a popular medium for people to be serious about. I stumbled upon them myself...first got started with card making and did that for 7-8 years. Last year I got hooked on Copic markers for coloring stamped images with more depth. then I wanted to figure out how to make colored backgrounds that were smooth so tried the Copic airbrush system. saw a tutorial of pan pastels on a paper crafts website and thought I could try those instead. Then I saw a video by Deborah secor using pan pastel and was impressed by her painting and got interested in pan pastels themselves. Finally I started researching regular soft pastels and a few months later I was excited about this new medium...not at all like the chalky weak toned powder I used as a paper crafter!

10-19-2012, 12:51 PM
Oh dear...you're definitely hooked aren't you?:D We should have a warning on every box of pastels...be careful, these are addictive!
I got hooked when I was studying for an art exam, my chosen artist was Toulouse Lautrec...so I soon realised there was a fascination for dry media among the French artists...being curious and loving to draw, my first attempts were nothing like theirs! Shame eh? But I remembered the medium fondly, and when I got the chance later on in life - I bought another set and another....and another...well, you get the picture?:lol:

10-19-2012, 01:30 PM
No exciting stories from me. Pastels were part of the supply list when I went to study Art in college. Nupastels and Alphacolor were the brands. I used them primarily - and also conte sticks - for all my figure drawing classes. Despite using hard and/or student grade pastels on newsprint, I still loved them!


10-19-2012, 03:02 PM
Pastels have more or less always been a fine arts medium for me. Drooling over the beautiful pastels from the 18th century, feeling glory over the impressionist pastels at the museums -- well, what was a woman to do? My first efforts were truly awful (while my oils and acrylics were OK-ish). So from the start I was clear over the fact that pastels are no easy medium. The only artist's quality brand available was Rembrandts when I started, and only Canson Mi-teintes paper...

Now I really prefer the medium, but I'll try watercolour next, as they go well with pastels.

CM Neidhofer
10-19-2012, 03:44 PM
I started with a drawing class in charcoal. Quickly reazlized I wanted color! I found a colored pencil class and loved that. That same instructor taught a pastel class after that and I was hooked! I still like colored pencils, but they take so long. Pastels are fast and immediate and very forgiving!

10-19-2012, 03:48 PM

pencil , charcoal/value , pastel/colour .

there is line , mass/colour , and gets immediate results .

Ed :}

10-19-2012, 04:20 PM
The second week of an evening class I did in 2007 we used charcoal and sanguine. Having made a real hash of my watercolour attempt the week before, I enjoyed it. The following week the tutor introduced us to pastels. I thought, hmm, I prefer the charcoal, at least I know where my mark is going to land on the paper with that!
Then I did a course which required experimentation with pencil, coloured pencil, pastel, acrylics and oils. I liked all of them because I was hooked on art. Gradually though I realised that my preference was for pastels. I got a set of faber castell half sticks for Christmas, threw away my student grade sticks and persevered with learning how to control the marks I made with these sticks.
Then I left a job and as a leaving present I got a set of Unison darks and a voucher with which I bought a Unison portrait set. That was it! I was in love! And with every new pastel and every new experience with different papers that love has deepened <3

water girl
10-19-2012, 04:22 PM
I had painted with oil for a number of years, then landed in an adult ed. class taught by a lady who primarily used pastels. I held off for a year, trying my hand at colored pencil and continuing to use oils. One day I bought a small Rembrandt set, a piece of Canson, and never looked back. Yes, Deirdre, there should be a warning on each box. I liked the fact you didn't need to carry solvent to class, and for me, pastels were like fingerpainting...yes, I finger blend.:angel:

K Taylor-Green
10-19-2012, 05:28 PM
I have painted in several mediums over the years, but none of them "called to me" as it were. My mother in law asked me if I had ever tried pastels. Well, not since high school, many years ago! They were just too messy.
Then I saw work by Leslie Harrison, jaw dropping realism, rendered in pastels. I said if she ever put out a book on technique, I would try them.
Well, she did. And I did. And the rest is history. They called to me as the wet mediums never had. Perfect fit!