PDA

View Full Version : Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels


Frederique
12-15-2019, 01:29 PM
Hi everybody !
I haven't painted with pastels since... about 15 years, and I'd like to return to this medium.
I've a couple of dry pastels left, they are very hard (I don't remember if they were like that when I bought them, but fully usable, but I've only 8 colors left :lol:

I don't remember which brand it was. I'm in France, and I bought them in an Art shop, so probably Rembrandt or something similar. It really was a long time ago, more than 20 years.

I'm reading all I can find about the brand one can find these days, but I'd prefer not to explode my budget, lol

I've read about "Koh-I-Noor" pastel (sticks) but it seems there are different softness or I don't know what.

Could a kind pastellist help me to choose please ?

My favorite subjects are
1) human portraits :heart:
2) still life
3) pets/animals portraits

Generally speaking, I don't like landscapes.

I'm thinking perhaps of a 48 sticks set, but I found several versions on Amazon with a slight difference in pricing, and I don't understand if these are the same or not...it seems it's about softness.
- Which one will be best for me ?
- Is 48 colors too much ?

Here are the links :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0017R3GQ0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3SVXWSJHJVVT8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0052Y08QU/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=A3SVXWSJHJVVT8&psc=1



HELP please ! :lol: :wave:

Thanks in advance !

water girl
12-15-2019, 02:54 PM
I will defer to others on the Koh-I-Noor, as I've not used them. Would you consider a set of Rembrandt half sticks? They are of medium softness, professional quality and the ones I use frequently.

Frederique
12-15-2019, 02:57 PM
Hi Karen, thank you !

You know I'm not obsessed by any brand, just by a good ratio quality-price ! How pricey are the half Rembrandt ? I'm going to check...

water girl
12-15-2019, 04:06 PM
They are reasonably priced. If there are Jack Richeson's 1/2 sticks for his soft pastels, not hand rolled, they are resonable as well. Starting out, you only need 1/2 sticks. My first set was a 90 1/2 stick set of Rembrandt and it lasted for years.

Frederique
12-15-2019, 04:17 PM
In my shop, according to their web site, the 1/2 rembrandt are about 27 euros the set of 30.

Are these pastels soft, medium, or hard ? I didn't find any details about them...

I hope someone who knows the "Koh-I-Noor" will answer my questions too...

water girl
12-15-2019, 05:37 PM
Rembrandts are a very nice medium soft.

Frederique
12-15-2019, 06:11 PM
Thank you Karen.

DAK723
12-15-2019, 07:26 PM
Don't know about Koh-I-Noor, but if you are in France I would definitely look at Girault pastels (a medium softness) or Sennelier (very soft). I know Sennelier has had some half-stick sets in the past which were a pretty good value. Girault may also have sets that would be good to have. Most pastellists have a variety of soft, medium and harder pastels, but it very much is an individual preference depending on each person's techniques and the papers that they use.

If it is possible, the best thing to do is actually visit an art store that sells pastel sticks individually. Usually those stores will have some pastel sticks that you can try so you can see what you like.

Don

DBfarmgirl
12-15-2019, 11:39 PM
Hello, welcome.

I have a small set of kohinoor, i dont like them. They almost seem greasy, and don't dissolve with water to do an underpainting. They crumble easily and don't seem to mix well with other brands. I set mine aside, I'm glad I only tryed a small used set and spent very little on them. I have many other brands, these are my least favorite.

I agree with Don, if you can try different brands it will help you decide. You may like the kohinoor more than me. Karen's suggestion of half stick Rembrandt set is a great start.

Sharen

Frederique
12-16-2019, 04:33 AM
Thank you to all of you. I can't buy a set of expensive pastels like Sennelier right now, so I have to make a choice between a Rembrandt set as Karen showed me, or I should buy 5 sticks each month in open stock in my art shop...

It came to my mind that a set wasn't the best for me, perhaps, because there are some colors I'll rarely use and others which are at work all the time. :rolleyes:

Evidence (photo of my very old and very hard pastels):
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Dec-2019/2228017-IMG_20191216_0930495001.jpg

First I'm going to follow Don's advice and go to my shop to try what they have...


I've never heard about Giraud before and I've just have a look with Google, and they are more than 3 euros per stick... oopps ! :evil:

kcwhitney
12-16-2019, 05:10 AM
Girault are great but quite expensive. I would consider his other suggestion of a set of Sennelier half sticks more closely. I would think they would be ideal for you. Artist quality, very soft, somewhat reasonably priced, and French!

I bought their 120 stick "Paris" set as a starter kit, and loved it. They have smaller sets as well. They are about a euro a piece

I don't know any French vendors, but here is a link to Jackson's in the UK.

https://www.jacksonsart.com/sennelier-soft-pastel-sets

bartc
12-16-2019, 09:16 AM
Girault are great but quite expensive. I would consider his other suggestion of a set of Sennelier half sticks more closely. I would think they would be ideal for you. Artist quality, very soft, somewhat reasonably priced, and French!

I bought their 120 stick "Paris" set as a starter kit, and loved it. They have smaller sets as well. They are about a euro a piece

I don't know any French vendors, but here is a link to Jackson's in the UK.

https://www.jacksonsart.com/sennelier-soft-pastel-sets
Must be nice to be there (not just for the pastels!) Here those Sennelier sticks go for $6.80 individually, with lowest prices sans shipping online at about $5.

I'm enjoying my set of Sennelier half size landscapes (I do mostly landscapes), which came as 80 for about $125 USD. They have smaller half stick sets for specific purposes. Soft mostly (not every one), lush and wonderful to work with.

Loving pastel work, but hating the cost/challenges of transport, storage and framing.

franglais
12-16-2019, 11:15 AM
Hi, Frederique!
Do be sure to compare prices at Jackson Arts. They have many to choose from and are often less expensive than buying through Amazon.

Best of luck to you in finding a good beginner set of softs for portraits!



https://www.jacksonsart.com/en-us/color/pastel/soft-pastel


Mike

Frederique
12-16-2019, 11:52 AM
Thank you Mike ! I'm not a true beginner, I'm just "out of the pastels" since about 2000... :-) but I've done a lot of paintings before. I was very young, so it was quite "childish", most of them were some copies of my favorite painters or paintings (see the pictures in my signature : the first one is Blaise Pascal, copy from Philippe de Champaigne, the second is W.A. Mozart I don't remember the painter... both originals were oils).


Mozart in bigger size (my original pastel is 24x32 cm)
Be indulgent, I was 16 when I did this one :-)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Dec-2019/2228017-Mozart.JPG


It's been 1 month since I turned to OIL pastels, and then, while trying to learn this new medium, I suddenly had the desire to reconnect with DRY ones.
The technique is absolutely different, by the way...

I'm going to try the sennelier which are available in my shop, then I'll see if I like them or not. I see that prices are interesting on Jacksonart, but one can't "try" the pastels. I don't want to buy too soft sticks because I'm afraid they won't allow me to achieve the amount of details I love, especially in portraits. I'm thinking about pastel PENCILS too... they didn't exist (or it was in a confidential way) when I began, in the late 80s. Perhaps they'll be better for portraits ?

Richard Barrere
12-16-2019, 02:32 PM
If I can chime in here, I have tried the Koh-i-noor pastels and didn't like them much either. Mostly because they don't work well with other pastels, they don't seem to mix or layer well. The performance is so-so, the colors tend to be dull and they don't work down into the surface well. I think it's important to know what surface you plan to use too. If you want to work sort of small, and you use textured pastel paper instead of a sanded ground, you may be better off using harder pastels and pastel pencils, and blend with torillions or stump tools. Judging from your portrait you posted, which is very nicely done and detailed, you may want to concentrate on trying the harder pastels. The softer pastels work best when you are applying with broad strokes and blending with fingers on sanded surfaces, so they tend to work great for larger work which is done more loosely. Getting those fine details with the soft sticks may be tricky. Totally depends on your taste and style though!

Frederique
12-16-2019, 02:40 PM
Thank you Richard, very useful help. And the portraits I paint now are far more detailed than this old Mozart, in fact !
In conlusion, I have to TRY several pastels by myself in a shop to know which brand I prefer...
And I promise, I let down the Koh-i-noor ! :-D

tiago.dagostini
12-17-2019, 10:05 AM
In my shop, according to their web site, the 1/2 rembrandt are about 27 euros the set of 30.

Are these pastels soft, medium, or hard ? I didn't find any details about them...

I hope someone who knows the "Koh-I-Noor" will answer my questions too...



Koh I noor pastels with SOFT in the box name are very very soft. The ones without soft ( sometimes branded Toison'dor, or somethign like that) are medium.

franglais
12-17-2019, 11:39 AM
Your portraits are beautiful, Frédérique, so there is no need to "be indulgent." I have yet to even attempt a portrait with pastels. I would LOVE to do a portrait of my two granddaughters, but I procrastinate because I just don't have enough confidence yet. I do have some Stabilo Carbothelo pastel pencils, and I'm sure they would help with fine details in a portrait. But I've also see very loose, painterly portraits that I love. In any case, I wish you well with your return to the dry pastels!
I just noticed that you live in Auvergne. My wife is French, and my late father-in-law grew up in Lavoute-Chilhac. He was Auvergnat through-and-through. :) But he spent most of his adult live in Touraine, home to his wife and her family.
Bonnes fêtes de fin d'année!!
Mike

Mario_K
12-21-2019, 08:38 AM
I just recently purchased my first ever soft pastels.
I bought Koh-i-noor in a box of 12.
The guy at the art shop drew lines and smudged on a test paper using both Koh-i-noor and Rembrandt, they appeared very similar. I went with these as they are more affordable for me.

franglais
12-22-2019, 08:56 AM
I just recently purchased my first ever soft pastels.
I bought Koh-i-noor in a box of 12.
The guy at the art shop drew lines and smudged on a test paper using both Koh-i-noor and Rembrandt, they appeared very similar. I went with these as they are more affordable for me.





I, too, started with a small set that was affordable. Six months later, my collection of pastels has grown ... and continues to grow! I'm just warning you, Mario.... they are addictive! HAHA



I hope you will share some of your work with us in the pastel gallery!



Happy Painting and Happy Holidays!
Mike :)

Tracy2000
12-30-2019, 02:38 AM
Frederique, this comparison of softness from Dakota Pastels might be handy for you in the future: https://www.dakotapastels.com/files/pdfs/Pastel-Lineup.pdf The Koh-i-noor of course fall into the "hard" category. Dakota hasn't updated this with the Richeson soft hand-rolled pastels, but those are generally considered to be on par with Unisons for softness/texture.

I bought some half stick sets to start, but am now building my collection by buying open stock pastels. I have a whole big "wish list" and based on what I'm working on, different colors bubble to the top when I'm making a purchase, but it's fun to grow the collection. I found the half stick sets to be a great way to start, but you're right that there were inevitably colors that I am hard-pressed to use up from some of the sets (I may have to do some monochrome self-challenges to use those sticks ;-)

I have to say that a very valuable thing for me starting out was to buy a sampler set where I got one pastel each of about a dozen different brands. You may be able to do the same kind of thing for yourself from open-stock and for some colors, buy the COLORS you want, but across a few brands until you zero in on the brand (or 2 or 3) that you want to collect. While I think it was nice of the guy in shop to show you the two pastels and smudge them out, what you SEE and what YOU FEEL yourself working with a particular brand may be two very different things (as any one brand will also feel different on various kinds of supports/paper).

I love your portrait! And have fun starting your collection - everyone is right about how addictive soft pastels are :-)