View Full Version : Opaque pastel pencil brand

05-18-2016, 10:45 AM
Dear Artist fellows!

I am a hobbist artist myself, most of my pieces are in graphite. I like portraits, architecture and landscape as well. I like to draw the details.

I always wanted to work in colors, therefore I was struggling with watercolor and acrylics for a while and came to hate those mediums.

I recently bought a 36-piece Fabercastell Polychromos colored pencil set. I like the colors and I like the amount of detail I can put in to my pieces with these. However, I hate that they are not opaque, they are slow to cover bigger areas and working with them doesn't feel like painting.

Therefore I want to try pastel pencils, which I hope will solve these problems. I want pencils, not sticks, because I want to work in details. I have two questions regarding this:

1. Would pastel pencils be adequate for my needs? Can I work with them in details, like my colored pencil, and are they opaque?

2. If yes, which brand you recommend? And which set? I am considering the 36 Carbothello pastel pencil set. I've heard they are the most opaque! The ones I tried (Bruynzeel, FB Pitt) were not opaque at all. :(

I am obsessed with opaqueness, because what I dislike in pencils is that I have to work from light to dark with them and not vica versa. I would like the ability to draw the highlights in the end, and be able to put light colors on darker ones.

I want to do landscapes and portraits in pastel, on soft-toothed paper.

Thank you for your help and input in advance!

05-19-2016, 06:25 AM
This painting is about 15in x 15in and painted with hard pastels, not pencils...so you can actually get fine detail with pastels


05-19-2016, 07:51 AM
You can definitely get fine detail with pastel. I use pastel pencils, very fine stumps and blenders or erasers to do detail work. I would recommend trying a variety of pencils; I like Pitt best but also use Conte, Derwent, and Carb-Othello. There are certain pencils I like best from each brand depending on colour. I think you can order individual pencils from Dakota Supply.

I often use a soft pastel like Sennelier to add really bright highlights over darker areas.

05-19-2016, 05:40 PM
Fine detail work can definitely be done with pastel pencils. Check out the art of automotive artist Dave Kurz


He uses only pastel pencils. The surface can be important too. He uses fine sanded paper, either 800 or 600 grit I believe.

05-19-2016, 10:06 PM
All of my pastel artwork is done with pastel and I never ever use pastel pencils because they are gritty, to hard and mark the paper if you push to hard. I only use sharpened Faber Castell polychromos pastel....no pastel pencils or fixative in my art room!

05-20-2016, 02:18 AM
Gaka, thanks for posting your work! I have had a set of hard pastels for a long time but I never knew what to do with them. Only sometimes I use them for underpainting. Thank you for encouraging me to experiment!
Do you use sanded paper?

05-20-2016, 04:57 AM
No I have never used sanded paper Nick7, I use the back side of Canson pastel paper. If you search Gaka's post there is a couple of WIP's (Gaka's Swallows WIP) and threads on how I use my hard pastels and other info etc. There are also many other examples of my photorealism pastel wildlife art.....enjoy your art :)

05-20-2016, 06:06 AM
Thank you very much! :)

05-20-2016, 10:40 PM
It's very rare for me to post on here and the reason I don't post on here is because of the ignorance and lack of appreciation for those who comment on their post and give information to their question or artworks. They are just selfish and disrespectful.

05-23-2016, 04:29 PM
I work mostly in pastel pencil and I LOVE the Caran D Ache pencils. I also use Carbathello and Conte. I work on Pastelmat papar and love my detail! as you can see here.
The Caran D Ache are pricey but so worth it!

06-09-2016, 03:42 PM
Beautiful examples, Gaka and Laurie!

I use CarbOthello Stabilo now and these are great, they were also my first pastel pencils. I also have a set of Cretacolor ones somewhere in the stored supplies that is an exact match to Cretacolor Pastels Carre' hard pastels. I use either pastel pencils or hard pastel for fine detail work or sketches under soft pastels, the core material in pastel pencils seems similar in texture and opacity.

I love using either on PastelMat, it's so easy to get detail and also layer using it. Like drawing or paiinting on the sticky side of tape. Otherwise the smooth side of Canson Mi-Tientes or very fine grit sanded paper.

I have not found so much difference between the brands that I'd throw one out, but colors in the range vary between brands and a multi brand collection can give a bigger range. I sometimes combine them with Pan Pastels using Pans for painterly broad areas and pastel pencils/hard pastels for details.

Or just use them working small on ATC size artworks, 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces.

The advantage of the pencils is that they keep my hands clean and encourage blending with blending tools rather than fingers. They're great for sketching in places I don't want to have dusty hands when called, like waiting in a doctor's office. They are lots more opaque than wax or oil based colored pencils. Light can go over dark, especially if that dark is rubbed in before the light accent. Some if not all are watersoluble, so working on watercolor paper or water friendly sanded paper a wash can dissolve the first layer to a good underpainting and dry pastel pencil over that covers well without lifting.

They've got a lot of uses including sketching under soft pastels while sketch lines blend smoothly up into the softer pastels over them. I don't like to be without them in my kit. I'd say they're worth getting.