View Full Version : Beginners - Soft and hard pastels

09-09-1999, 04:28 PM
Hi! First want to say this is a great website....eagerly awaiting the pastel lessons!! I have just started using pastels and am loving it so far, but still lot of learning to do.....Does anyone have any recommendations/suggestions on using both hard and soft pastels? I have read that many artists use hard pastels to block in shapes, then use soft towards the end of a painting. My experience so far is with the soft only. Do most pastel artists use both?

anita Stewart
09-09-1999, 10:32 PM
Good to see you so interested..I've used pastels for over 15 years now..I do use both..hard and soft.The main problems I have are: soft ones-hard to press down very hard without breaking them/hard pastels- I wish I didn't have to press so hard to get the color on thick enough..They are great for thinner applications
.I like the softer ones better,even though they crumble so bad because for the most part they are easier to work with-to get a lot of color down easily..They also make pastels in huge sticks for really large paintings.The one thing I try not to do is overload my paper.When you get the colors on really thick,the pastel doesn't stick as well any more and the marks don't look as fresh and marks are much harder to make.

Drew Davis
09-12-1999, 11:44 PM
I find that hard pastels are nice for blocking in, simply because they don't leave as much color behind. So, it's easier to make adjustments, and the tooth of the paper doesn't get filled in prematurely. Softer pastels will glide on over the harder ones without disturbing them as much as soft-on-soft. (All pastels are soft, but it's a relative thing.) Hard pastels are also good for lines, so I use square hard pastels (NuPastel) along with the softer round ones. The sharp corners and hardness both aid precise placement, where that's useful.