View Full Version : The Darks

01-14-2002, 03:58 PM
Even though I own over 500 pastels, ranging in all softnesses and colors and manufacturers, I still don't have dark enough values. I have maybe five that would qualify as good dark colors. I like color in my shadows without compromising dramatic darks.

Who has some great darks. Name of color and

manufacturer, please? Thanks.


01-14-2002, 04:40 PM
I have a box of Terry Ludwig darks I am enjoying them

01-14-2002, 07:38 PM
Hi: I just bought a set of Great American Pastels from Dakota, Dick Blick
doesn't have them, they are very dark, beautiful colors, moderately priced.
They are super soft. I am finding the chroma is really strong.


01-15-2002, 12:35 AM
I know what you mean about the problem with dark pastels. Many times I go with an underpainting of acrylics to get the depth I want. Acrylics mixed with rotten stone and gesso works great. But good, dark pastels are still the best way to go. I am willing to experiment with anything to get the depth I need! Am eager to hear all the replies to your post.

01-15-2002, 12:55 AM
I agree about underpainting. I keep some dark Unison's around (and Sennelier's) and use alcohol to add depth and darkness with detail.


01-15-2002, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by DFGray
I have a box of Terry Ludwig darks I am enjoying them

That would be my suggestion, too. :D

01-15-2002, 07:58 AM

I just received the darks from Terry Ludwig and they would be my first choice for darks - they are wonderful. Other brands do have a couple of darks, but you really have to search for them. Sennelier has some good ones, but they are so thin, they crumble (unless you have some from their 80 half-stick set, which I highly recommend). Terry's are wonderfully thick. The Great American Pastels from Dakota or Unison would be my second choice in a dark set. All of these are very good darks.

But be sure to try combining several colors from other brands to get a more lively dark - such as combining a dark blue, with a dark red, or a dark purple, or a dark green. This is a good chance to expand the range of darks and make it your color! I even put black down, then cover it with one of my dark pastels - works great.

Good luck.

Marsha --
Marsha Hamby Savage Art (http://marshasavage.artistnation.com)

01-15-2002, 08:32 AM
Wow, This is great advice. I have been wanting to try the Terry Ludwig pastels ( they look wonderful, even in the photos) and the set of darks looks great ( I went to the link you provided, Dan, thanks).

Marsha, I , too , have been putting down black as the base, but since, in oils, I always mix my blacks with colors, really would like to do the same with pastels. Looks like that dark set will solve this problem.

Leirem2, I also have been wanting to try the Great American Pastels. Thanks, they sound good, esp. the price.

I spent so much money on the Senneliers and what is up with the crumbling?!!! I am afraid to even unwrap them as they wear down. God forbid you drop one on the floor-it's "goodbye" stick.

Thanks, everyone.


01-15-2002, 09:11 AM
I have some of Terry Ludwig's darks too, and I love them. Just wanted to add my two cents.


01-15-2002, 03:22 PM
Something else I have been trying is grinding the colors I want into powder and adding enough water to make a good clay-like consistency then rolling it to the thickness I want. When it dries its the color I want and the thickness I want. I have found that if I mix real soft pastels with harder ones I get what I want. I wanted a good, light color blue so crushed and mixed different blues and added a good soft white and I like the results a lot. I also take the dust that falls into the easel tray and mix it with water to make a real dark clay and roll it into a pastel. The suggestion of putting black down first and going over it with a color is something I do all the time, too, though I have to be sure I don't muddy my colors.