View Full Version : Pastel Lightfastness

10-05-2019, 02:06 PM
Hi dusty folk!
I am gathering info about the Lightfastness of pastels. If anyone knows of anyone who has done some more serious tests? I bet some have been posted here over the years. Of course Iíll dig in other places as well but I was just wondering if anyone had done any tests of their own.
Sophie Ploeg

water girl
10-05-2019, 09:11 PM
I think most of your major brands are considered lightfast. There is one simple rule for pastels, watercolors and other mediums....do not hang your artwork in direct sunlight. You could email the manufacturers, but pastels are pure pigment mixed with a binder.

10-06-2019, 06:54 AM
Thank you Karen

My Beloved Muse
10-06-2019, 08:09 PM
If more manufacturers were willing to tell us what pigments they've used in the making of their lovely sticks of color, it might save some of us some concern and possibly the need to do lightfast testing. As it stands, I plan to begin to start making my own, slowly. That way I can be sure of what exactly each stick is made of and make them to my specifications. Guess I'm just demanding. :wave:

Some time ago, I found the following results of lightfast testing of Nupastels:


Good luck with your search, Sophie. I will be happy to see what you might dig up.


10-07-2019, 05:44 AM
Great, thanks for the link John, that is very helpful!
I think we all should be demanding... ;) nothing wrong with that!

10-10-2019, 02:35 AM
Great idea Sophie to gather as much info as possible! Manufacturers of artistsí quality watercolors are very open about this kind of info (pigments, lightfastness) but it is certainly challenging info to find on pastels!

10-10-2019, 09:01 AM
Thanks. Yes, there is little info out there. Time to do my own tests!!

10-12-2019, 11:24 PM
I know Art Spectrum list the pigments they use on their website, my memory is a bit vague but it may be associated with their colour chart. I have downloaded it in the past. I think AS may be singular in this, most colours are comprised of a mxture of several pigments rather than just the one + white or black for tiints.

They also use a star or similar rating system for colour fastness along with rembrandts, schminke and possibly senneliers, which is either on the label (again memory not so great and no sticks immediatly on hand) or definately on their colour charts.

I'm sure other brands have similar information, though as a general rule of thumb fugitive pastel colours are very similar to fugitive watercolours so they could be used as a guide. Some of the yellows and pinks are the worst from memory, hope this helps

10-13-2019, 07:54 AM
Mount vision has the pigments listed, color chart, click on individual color sets. To me, this is a great selling point.

I have some mungyo pastels that faded after a couple months on a window sill, not just reds/purples, but yellow. Only the earth colors fared well. They are now used to mark up drywall, lumber, etc. Or I use them to try out corrections on my dry acrylic paintings. I will never buy them again.

10-15-2019, 11:29 AM
Iíve just started getting into pastels. While looking for affordable brands Iíve come across Jacksonís house brand of soft pastels. They have the pigments listed and lightfast ratings for each stick. Though Iíve been confused and wonder if there are mistakes in the information they have listed. Theyíre listed as Excellent, Good or Fair, similar to their watercolor and gouache ratings. I understand what that means at least in the water media, and am not sure if it is the same for pastels, though I would imagine so. I havenít gone through every color for their pastels, but so many of the pinks, lilac, violets, Carmineís, magentaís are considered fair, which at least for watercolors means not lightfast enough I would use it for any serious works. I understand these are always the problem colors in terms of lightfastness.

Some of the deep dark violets are listed as excellent, for Instance Fade Violet Deep, but then the Fade Violet same color lighter value, has the exact same pigments listed but is rated at fair. Then they have others such as Rose Violet rated Excellent, listed with PR169, and PV3- which I know isnít a very lightfast pigment and all the other sticks listed with PV3 are listed as fair, but then they have lilac pink rated fair, pigments PR169 and PB 15:3, which is a Pthalo pigment which I know is lightfast, and again all other sticks which have PB15:3 have excellent ratings.

So there you go...should we just trust the information they give us? I do commend Jacksonís for making this information easily and readily available for us, as so many other Art supply manufacturers are very non transparent when it comes to this info.

10-20-2019, 09:19 PM
Some of the deep dark violets are listed as excellent, for Instance Fade Violet Deep, but then the Fade Violet same color lighter value, has the exact same pigments listed but is rated at fair.

This could possibly be because some colours lightfastness is not necessarily the same in tints, say... your Fade Violet - excellent lightfastness in mass tone but less so in tints with white, or calcium carbonate, or whatever they add to create a tint.

10-21-2019, 05:28 AM
Thanks for all your help folks!
I am aware, of course, of various manufacterers listing their pigments and some have their own lightfastness rating system. Was just seeing if anyone had any tests to show, so I can include it into my own conclusions.

Thanks again! Will publish on my blog in due course! :)

10-22-2019, 03:56 PM
Yellowfinger, I thought that may be a reason at first as well, as I know like you said, more white, filler or what not can decrease lightfastness, but the color mentioned I donít believe is a tint, but I also looked at other tints, and their lightfast ratings where on par with their full chroma and shaded counterparts. Iím no expert but do understand a lot of factors make up a lightfast ratings, but with my limited understanding I can usually make heads or tails of it, but this time I couldnít with Jacksonís pastels.

Phil Bates
11-01-2019, 11:41 AM
Years ago I did a serious test with multiple brands placing them in the sun for months. Although I don't remember the exact results, most brands were fine. I do remember that Terry Ludwig came out on top. Rock solid, in fact.

Remember that if you frame your pastels under glass that shields UV light, they should last regardless,


11-01-2019, 11:42 AM
Thanks Phil. If you find the results again, do let me know!

12-12-2019, 04:16 PM
Hey, Sophie! 'Just saw your post as I haven't been here in years. I just posted some five year lightfastness test results to the Hudson Valley Sketches blog, and have more to come if folks are interested. The ones I posted about are the Charvins -- the 48 stick Charvin Water Soluble set. I'll be posting some other brands too, which were done at the same time. Here's a link to the blog post. (https://hudsonvalleysketches.blogspot.com/2019/12/lightfastness-tests-charvin-water.html)

12-13-2019, 10:33 AM
Hi Jamie - wow, thank you so much. These tests are great and the results are quite surprising. Thank you for pointing me to your posts. I look forward to seeing the results from the other brands. This is great info!
I am gathering as much info as I can and will do my own tests when the dark winters days have ended (in the UK), but obviously I only have so many brands.
Thank you so much.

I subscribed to you blog via email so I won't miss it! Thanks again.

12-13-2019, 05:19 PM
You're so welcome, Sophie. It's nice to know it's appreciated; takes a lot of effort to post all that. Knowing that others find it useful makes it all worthwhile! I'm looking forward to your results. A friend of mine did a six month test of a lot of the Great American pastels, and in that short period of time, a lot shifted dramatically. If she posts those tests, I'll let you know, or will put up a link on my blog, or both.