View Full Version : Can anyone tell me why my white pastel

10-01-2014, 09:09 AM
looks yellowish/cream colored on a piece of white velour paper? I tried a couple of different pastels and none of them look pure white on this paper.

10-01-2014, 09:34 AM
Welcome to our forum! Without having the pastel in my hand, I can think of a few possibilities. The most likely is that the pastel isn't pure white, but is actually slightly cream colored. Lots of pastel makers make colors that are 'near" white, but have a little color. Another possibility is that the white paper isn't actually white. If it is slightly on the blue side that might make the white pastel look like it has a slight color in the opposite direction. Color is always influenced by what color surrounds it. Have you tried the pastel on another paper?

Another possibility is that you are looking at the white pastel in the "yellowish" light of warm light bulbs - although it would look different again in daylight.

Personally, without knowing, I would imagine that the first possibility is the most likely. Let us know what brand you are using!


10-01-2014, 10:48 AM
Here is another possibility. I have read that most manufacturers do not use pigment, such as titanium dioxide, in making their tints. Instead, they rely on the fillers (chalk, talc, or clay, usually, or a mixture of these), which are very cheap compared to the cost of pigment, to provide the necessary lightness. It is possible they also use only the fillers to make the white pastels. If so, from what I've read, those will not produce as pure a white as a white pigment would.

10-01-2014, 01:59 PM
That sounds interesting. Is it the white pastel from a set? I can see that some manufacturers would give a warm white as the lightener in a general assortment because that is generally more useful.

I have a half dozen near whites that go around the spectrum and use those instead of pure white almost all the time. It's not necessarily a bad thing - having multiple "white" pastels also helps keep the white from wearing down too fast making tints. I try to use the one that goes with the hue I'm using or use them to represent the temperature of the light.

Cream is a dead useful color, seriously.

If you want to get a pure white pastel that is pure white, check out lists of open stock and find one that's got titanium dioxide as its pigment. The more expensive pastels do use titanium white and that is a cold white, like fluorescent light rather than incandescent. I'd still keep and use the cream.

Also Don's right, it could be the paper's hue. I've seen so many subtle differences in "White" papers that it boggles me.

10-01-2014, 03:37 PM
I know you are right Blayne about the titanium dioxide in the tints, but most manufacturers I know of use it in their white sticks. If they don't, the results can still be pure white, but will be too transparent. Even Terry Ludwig, who shies away from potentially harmful ingredients, uses titanium in his white sticks to give them covering power. I have also seen zinc white in the Blockx line for example, and that is slightly less opaque. But it's white.

I have a Great American Artworks white pastel in front of me, and that one is pretty darn white. Some of my other whites are near cream, as has been mentioned.

10-01-2014, 07:29 PM
Thanks, Saskia, for the info that most manufacturers do use pigment, and also for the info about how zinc white differs from titanium white. If I get sous about making lots of tints, I will need to order more white pigment, and I really didn't know the difference between those two. Regarding fillers, I have read that one of the reasons why pastel paintings darken is that moisture causes the fillers to become transparent, which makes a lighter top color made of fillers disappear into the darker color underneath. I also read, but haven't tried, that spraying the back of the paper sometimes works to fix pastel to some degree without wetting and darkening the top layer.

10-01-2014, 08:10 PM
WOW! Thanks for all the replies! I will try to answer the questions but if I miss one..please ask me to clarify.LOL This mother of 4 is tired tonight HA!

Ok...first, Yes this is a white from a set of Rembrandt soft pastels.

2nd..I took the paper outside in natural light to check that out yesterday..and yes you can still see it in natural light. There is definitely a color difference.

3) ..I did try it on other papers and it still appears creamy ..not exactly yellow..but more creamy. Or light beighy ( not a color I know..but it works here LOL)

4) It has really umm changed the drawing to be honest. I am not sure I like it..I don't dislike it..but I had to rethink the shadows so it isn't like the reference pic in that regard. Not awful..but not what was in my mind either.

This was my first time using velour paper. I am not sure I really like it to be honest. I am having a bit of trouble blending and I like to blend with other things besides the pastels themselves.

I haven't used my pastels in a long time. I worked in acrylics and water colors for a few years and wanted to play with the pastels again. I am afraid this isn't just an issue with the pastel tint but the age of the paper as well. I have had it for several years. It has been kept in the box it was shipped in, so it wasn't exposed to light or any other elements, but not sure it that had changed the papers "color" or not.

Thanks for all of the ideas though! I am going to pick up a few open stock whites from other brands and see what the difference is.

10-05-2014, 12:19 PM
Interesting. I hadn't noticed if the Rembrandt white was a warm white, but that's what it sounds like. Check the label if it has one, if you haven't peeled it off. It might have been a mistake in the set if you were supposed to have a white and got a near-white tint. Sometimes stores will give you the missing color if a set has a color mismatched, that happened to me several times with Blick orders and that kind of factory error does happen.

I checked mine and it's very bright white, brighter than the printer paper I tested it on. That made me curious to see if Rembrandt's white was warm. My set is half sticks without labels but a full sticks set they'd have them, with the color number and other information on the label.

10-07-2014, 04:21 AM
I think you should try that white pastel on different coloured grounds. Not sure of a good reason for using WHITE VELOUR anyway...........velour is tricky, the pastel does not always adhere well, and as you say, it is not easy to blend on a velour surface. And white will show thro the pastel marks far more than most other colours.

I recommend you try a grey-pearl coloured Canson Mi Teinte - it will provide you with a neutral colour to work against, rather than use anything white for pastels.

10-07-2014, 09:07 AM
The paper could be treated with optical brightener, which gives a look of pure white but it is in reality reflecting blue. A neutral or slightly warm white on top of it would look very warm indeed.

Or, you're not using white, but a nearly white beige or yellow.

Or, the white pigment in the stick is Titanium plus chalk, which is slightly warm.