View Full Version : Do you break your pastels?

01-01-2004, 04:29 PM
Do you break your new (and so perfect) pastels? I'm having a hard time with my new Unisons..I really prefer smaller pieces to work with but can't seem to convince myself to break them. What do you do????



Kathryn Wilson
01-01-2004, 05:29 PM
Break 'em!

I know, when I first got my Unisons, I looked at them in the box for 2 weeks - they looked too pretty to use (hence my signature line below) - :D

I still have only broken the ones I've used - the rest are still in one piece.


01-01-2004, 06:14 PM
Thank you for the reply...now for a really dumb question....: just HOW do you break your Unisons, do you snap them in half, in thirds, cut them...what do you do? I must sound really "new"...I AM!!!!! Thanks again...


Kathryn Wilson
01-01-2004, 06:54 PM
I imagine it would be a personal preference - but I snap them in half - they usually break under the lable and then I pull it apart. I don't think cutting them would work - you'd probably get a mess.

And I don't think it absolutely necessary to break them - but for me to get a nice sharp line, I need to.

01-01-2004, 07:41 PM
I break my ops after I've worn the sharp edge off, then I get 8 new sides lol....and can finally side swipe em! I just snap em!

01-01-2004, 07:56 PM
I usually start color block-in with the sides of the pastels, so yes, I always use a broken-off piece for that! With the Unisons, I break off about 1/3 at a time. My half-stick sets of Rembrandts and Senneliers I also break into 1/2-1/3 segments. I even break the Conte sticks.


Deborah Secor
01-01-2004, 08:00 PM
I had to laugh out loud when I saw the subject and answered with a YES! I don't even think about it anymore but I've watched students' faces get that tremor of shock when I break a newly bared pastel as I demo a bit on their painting using their pastel sticks... I try to warn them but... poor things...they shudder so.

I think there was a thread somewhere that showed how to place a toothpick beneath a pastel stick and break it somwhat more precisely...anyone remember that?

I suggest you take every one of your pastels, strip them bare, break them and get to work. Just my way, I guess...


01-01-2004, 08:19 PM
I snap mine into two pieces as soon as I open the box. Put half the stick into my jumbled boxes by color....and keep the other half for later use.

With Unison's, they easily snap from either end making three rather fat thirds.

When painting on location, you need the smaller sizes or the weight of the pastels gets to heavy to carry! :)

01-01-2004, 08:37 PM
Thanks SO much everyone... "I feel MUCH better now"...funny how it can be so intimidating to break a pretty new pastel....

I'm heading into my art room to break em all........


01-02-2004, 09:23 AM
Good thread....good to know other people felt funny about it but eventually did it!
It took me several months before I could do it but now I break them all the time. Both so I can put a small piece into my "travel set" and to get sharp edges.
Besides...if they have to stay whle and perfect looking you'll never use them! :D


01-02-2004, 11:41 AM
Wow...I broke (almost) all of my new pastels....the windsor&newtons, the rembrants (gift from ex husband, funny, they were EASY to break..LOL), some senniliers.....even my much loved ludwigs...just the unisons left to break today. I feel so much better now...it's like I can relax and just use them. They aren't perfect and new anymore!!!

Thanks for the great advise everyone....time to go and play now!


Vegas Art Guy
01-02-2004, 12:29 PM
I guess I'm the only one that does not break their pastels (someone has to be different :D), but I have fairly large hands and I like the bigger size, if they do break... oh well no big deal...

01-03-2004, 09:02 AM
Yes I must admit I break my Unison pastels too.... it was hard to do at first, but I needed to obtain fine lines which can be achieved by breaking them and then getting the sharp edge on the broken side. In fact I tend to break most of my pastels for the same reason... spoils the look, but gets the effects !! LOL !