View Full Version : Pastels or no Pastels

11-03-2017, 12:20 AM
I have a 24 soft pastel set and I like them, but because some troubles with getting paper and fixatif and some worries about breathing the dust (something that irritates my nose even with dustmask), I'm not sure if I want to use pastels anymore, but I can't decide because they were a gift and the box is almost complete, and I cannot only throw them away because they were expensive and I like pastels and I am good using them.

What should I do?

Maybe finish the colors I use more and then throw the rest.

11-03-2017, 08:18 AM
pastels work great to spice up somewhat failed watercolor paintings...

11-03-2017, 11:21 AM
Thats a good idea.

11-03-2017, 11:26 AM
mmm... Can pastels be used wet to paint?

11-03-2017, 03:09 PM
Whether you continue to paint with pastels is a decision only you can make. If the dust is an issue, then that would obviously be a contributing factor in your decision. If you decide not to continue with pastels, then there are better options than throwing the pastels away. You could try to sell them in our swap shop:


or on Ebay other internet sites. Donating them to a local school or community art center or to a local art club (if you have any) are other options.

You can wet pastels - usually to do an underpainting, but the pastels are still applied dry and then wet with a brush.

Usually a dust mask is enough to keep the pastel dust out of your airways. You might also make sure that:

You are using pastels lightly without pressing too hard on the paper and producing more excess dust.

You vacuum the area both while and after you paint so that there is less or no dust around once you take off the mask. While I am not an expert on cleaning and vacuuming, I believe you need to make sure you have a HEPA vacuum bag for your vacuum cleaner.

You might want to try sanded papers that hold the pastel dust better.

Good luck! I won't try and convince you that dust cannot be an issue because it always has been for me, too.


11-03-2017, 03:17 PM
mmm... Can pastels be used wet to paint?

Absolutely, alone or in conjunction with watercolor paint or watercolor pencils.

Scumble dry and dab at it with a damp brush, or work the stick into/onto wet paper, or scrape the pastel onto a piece of scrap and pick up the pigment with a wet brush.


11-03-2017, 07:22 PM
What about oil pastels, are they dusty, difficult to blend, difficult to smudge, what paper to use? what else...

11-04-2017, 10:44 AM
What about oil pastels, are they dusty, difficult to blend, difficult to smudge, what paper to use? what else...

Oil pastels are very different, but there is no dust. They don't smudge like soft pastels, but handle completely differently in terms of blending and layering. They have their own forum here on WC, so you might want to take a look there and ask oil pastel questions to folks on that forum who will certainly know better than I.