View Full Version : More questions about brands of pastels

12-12-2016, 05:23 PM

I am looking for a better option for my hard pastels. I have a small set of NuPastels (and I really like them) but I am aware of the lightfastness issues. I would like to find a set with more colors available and the smoothness of NuPastels. I have Cretacolor pastel pencils but they were purchased second hand the sharpening is a huge issue. I'm breaking them even when I use a craft knife. I like the colors in the Cretacolor line but some of my pencils are too hard to leave a mark and they push the established color around when I try to add finishing details. I tried Conte sticks--a small set off of Amazon, but they are too brittle and have an inadequate lay down of color.

I almost bought the Cretacolor carre sticks but would they be the same hardness as the pastel pencils? I don't know if I should just stay with NuPastels or try a brand like Mungyo Gallery Semi-Hard Pastels.

In addition to the hard pastels, I am looking to round-out my types of pastels with some soft ones for the finishing. I was looking on Mungyo Gallery Handmade but I'm not sure yet.

I have small sets of vintage Rembrandt, vintage Grumbacher, and new Dick Blick for the medium hard pastels. I have found I prefer the Grumbachers to the other two. When I first opened the DB's they seemed nice and smooth. However, a few months later, I find that several colors (so far) are rather brittle and splintering off as I use them (gently). I have stored them in a plastic tool storage case lined with rice.

In regards to softer pastels, I feel I am ready to use them for the finishing step to go over the medium/hard layers. I am looking for suggestions. Mungyo or Sennelier? Or another suggestion?

My husband is looking for gift ideas, I was hoping to give him some concrete choices. I may suggest a lights sampler from Dakota Pastels for the softest but would like to get a larger set of the hard pastels myself.

Any guidance is greatly appreciated.



12-12-2016, 06:51 PM
Good thread here, Renee, including a handmade color chart of the Mungyo Semi-Hard in post #24:


I don't know much about soft pastels, but I'm a big fan of the Mungyo Gallery Semi-Hard. They are almost exactly as soft as the NuPastels.

I like the Cretacolor sticks alot too, but I use them like, and in conjunction with, watercolor pencils (sketch and then waterbrush), so don't know how they stack up for traditional pastel painting purposes.


12-14-2016, 12:46 PM
Thank you, Kos. I am glad you like the Gallery Semi-Hard--I am leaning toward those. I think they will be on my Christmas list. I did order a small set of Mungyo Handmade off Amazon...15pc...$29.85. Should be delivered tomorrow.

12-14-2016, 08:52 PM
Gallery Semi-Hard are a good brand, if he's got the budget to get you the wood box 120 color set you'll be in pure delight. Its range is wonderful and the textures are good. I also like the wood box, it's sturdy and well organized. But those are semi-hard, they are the Nupastels texture.

Sennelier Half Sticks are a good brand for Super Soft, finishing pastels. Thicker half sticks are less crumbly than the full sticks of the same brand and the colors are wonderful.

Mungyo Handmade are awesome. I've got a set of 30 that I love, they sent it to me for review and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Currently buried in my stuff though, till they build my studio most of my pastels collection is stored.

12-22-2016, 12:21 PM
My husband finally ordered my Christmas gifts. (We've both been sick.) I found that the Mungyo Semi-Hard box set of 120 was eligible for their coupon code at Jerry's Artarama. I won't get it in time for Christmas...but the price was reasonable. I'm getting a Soft Lights Sampler from Dakota Pastels too. That should help me decide on the softer ones for now. I got my set of 15 Mungyo Gallery Handmade last week. They are not as soft as I expected but I am happy with them. I will be able to compare the other brands when my Dakota sampler comes in.

12-22-2016, 04:50 PM
Oooh nice! Great combination. You'll have the range with the semi-hard set, the Dakota Sampler will have lots of very useful sticks and let you decide on what to get for a soft-soft set. Lights are always very useful. One of the things I like about the Mungyo Semi-Hard set is the way all the colors in it are so balanced. You don't get lots of near-similar blues and oranges but gaps in light colors and not enough violets or greens. Nothing important is left out.

Rough to get sick around the holidays, but your husband is so sweet getting you all those pastels! Very cool!

The hand rolled ones and Unisons are actually about medium softness, but they go on lighter and easier than the compressed rounds like Rembrandt and so on. They have a unique texture. I like it a lot and like the sparkle of them for final strokes. The pigment crystals aren't as crushed by the process so there's a particular subtle look to final strokes done with those pastels that can give a little extra to a painting, especially used toward the end.

They also have a good texture to use from beginning to end. It takes more work to understand and use a small set like 15 colors but you might try it with some tutorials online, just to see how those Handmade ones handle. There's a YouTube video by Colorix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQgXuMI1eKY) that's awesome for testing pastels.

You can see how the different hardness of pastels work on different papers, also the tomato she paints is a VERY easy project in itself. I've done it several times with different brands just as a baseline and it doesn't take many colors to do it - in fact, the colors are included in nearly all small sets.