View Full Version : Seeking advice on pan pastels

10-09-2014, 06:35 PM
So...just ordered a set of 20 pan pastels. I have questions: I assume that sanded surfaces are not "best" for pans. Is Mi Tientes ok or do you recommend other surfaces? Will the set of 20 serve most purposed and what are the advantages of the additional hues? Can pans and soft pastel sticks be used together in painting?


10-09-2014, 07:12 PM
Hi Norma. Congratulations on your new purchase, I'm sure you will enjoy them.

I know people don't like using the pans on sanded surfaces because the sandpaper eats up the sponges (it does, the sponges do get ripped up), but that's the only way I use them. I think because I only use the pans for underpaintings, I really don't care about the condition of my sponges. If I were working on finished pieces using the tools, it would be mighty frustrating to have them so eaten up.

So, I guess it depends on what you are planning to do with the pans. For finished works, they say Pastelmat is a great paper. CansonMT is also good (smooth side), and I've heard suede board is also good. I think Colourfix makes a suedeboard? Look for surfaces that aren't too abrasive, it will be kinder to the tools. Surfaces like UArt and Wallis are pretty rough, they are sandpaper...... UArt makes an 800 grit sandpaper that is pretty smooth, that one might be fine for the tools, or at least not too abrasive.

Absolutely, pans and sticks can be used together. I use the pans for underpaintings, and go over them with my sticks. Works like a charm.

Advantages to other hues...... I guess it's like all other pastels, different colors and values have different uses. If you see you will want a particular color or value of that color, then it's one you should consider. I think I bought painting colors, shades, and tints. I've recently gotten three of the metallic colors as well. I've had most of them awhile, and I know they've changed how they put together the sets. Not sure how they do it now. I particularly like the magenta, violet, pthalo blue, pthalo green, burnt sienna, turquoise, diarylide yellow, bright yellow green, permanent green and chromium oxide green. I've got shade colors of most of these as well as the pure colors, and some tints.

You can mix them similar to painting with oils. They're pretty neat. Enjoy!!

10-09-2014, 07:18 PM
Thanks Allydoodle. I just ordered a pastelmat pad. I'll wait on additional colors until I see what I receive.

10-09-2014, 07:38 PM
You won't regret it. I was going to recommend PastelMat for them, to me it's the very best Pans surface. Canson Suede is similar but PastelMat is still the best out there. The first few strokes will stick and not move at all, it's the second and third layers that start blending. It's like painting on the sticky side of tape - you get immense control, and with later layers colors can blend on the surface. Colors can also blend on the sponge as you dip - up to three colors together on a sponge to make a combination color is gorgeous. Or tip the stroke to one side or the other to have say, yellow ochre and chromium green together for a stroke like those Donna Downey shaded paintbrush strokes.

There's a lot you can do with them. My favorites are the wedge sponge and the round-ended one for clouds, they're wide enough to give a painterly effect but I can get fine details with the edge. It's like using a flat brush. Gorgeous effects.

Load the brush with three strokes in one or more pans per stroke on the paper. Took me the longest time to learn to do that, it's part of the rhythm, otherwise you start getting thin transparent effects or removing color on later layers instead of putting it down.

Lots of fun - and if you got 20 Painters you have all the possible colors, all the pigments except metallic and pearlized. Those are fun too and handle the same exact ways. Enjoy!