View Full Version : Handling Pastels

01-03-2006, 12:57 PM
Hi all,

I have just visited a professional pastel artist who has shown me some wonderful work. Unfortunately I have an aversion to handling pastels and its dry chalkiness makes me cringe. Still, I would like to give it a try because I am very much attracted to the purity of color that can be achieved. Has anybody on the forum got the same problem and if so what can be done to overcome it ?

Thanks in advance


01-03-2006, 01:45 PM
Thin surgical gloves! I too hate the dry, chalky feel on my already too dry hands. Hence, I bought a box of disposable gloves such as doctors use for exams, etc. Get the right fit and they're great...I almost forget I've got them on. They also help keep the pigment out of the skin and out from under the nails.

Deborah Secor
01-03-2006, 02:09 PM
Welcome, Ina. :wave: I had that same aversion early on, but over time I've come to rather enjoy it. However, I believe that's a good part of the reason I like the softer pastels such as the Great Americans or Schminckes. They have a gossy softness, with a slippery dryness of silky talcum powder that appeals more than the dry, chalky harder ones. Gloves are a good possiblity for you, as Sooz mentioned, but do try the softer pastels and see if that changes your feelings at all.


01-03-2006, 02:21 PM
I find this fascinating. I decided to try pastels because I don't like the smell of oils, and I can't stand cleaning paint brushes of any kind. I like the feel of the pastels- like baby powder on my fingertips. I am now feeling rather guilty about it.

Another suggestion might be to try a pastel holder:

Or you might try pastel pencils- the wood casing will keep the pastel from your hands, and they're good for detail work.

01-03-2006, 04:41 PM
how about trying Oil Pastels?

01-03-2006, 06:22 PM
Hi Ina

It's funny, that was my first initial reaction to pastels as well. Guess what, you'll get over it REAAAAAAAAAAL quick. Some of the harder pastels can make that awful noise equivalent to fingernails on a blackboard but the softer ones are wonderful, like Deborah already indicated.

To get you over that initial cringing, try gloves (you may not use them for long) and REALLY LOUD music :music: :D . Soon you'll become so addicted to pastels, you won't notice those things anymore.

01-04-2006, 12:58 PM
and if a full glove ain't for you, also try finger cots--little latex-like finger coverings. you can cover just a couple fingers to keep the ick off, but yet have the rest of your hand free.

some use gloves-in-a-bottle, but i dont' like it, and the minute i get too much dust on my fingers, and wipe on a baby wipe, its about gone anyhow. that's another help--keep a wet towel (slightly damp, not drippy) very near, or a bag with baby wipes (my fav.) and wipe often. a cheese-cloth is a good wiper, too, with its rougher weave. but i get the kind of baby wipes that have stuff in them to keep your skin from drying out, and i've never had issues with it effecting the pastels negatively either. then i use udder butter when i am all done to really add back to my hands (mostly the cuticles) what the pastel dried out. very minor habits that don't come close to the fun to be had with PASTELS!!!!!!!

01-04-2006, 08:26 PM
I've tried both kinds. I really like the feel of pastels but, some papers are too gritty if covering a bigger area. I've tried cots and they were funny feeling. I like the gloves (probably from coloring my hair!).
I think the feel of pastels doesn't bother me because I need to feel into it in doing things - like gardening, I love the feel of dirt. With the pastels I feel connected. But, I know some people don't like the feel
What was working with a pro like? A dream of mine is to do a workshop. Tell us more.