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View Full Version : Holbein vs CrayPas Specialist


Donn
06-23-2007, 11:10 AM
I need your expert advice since I'm new to OPs. DB has a 20% discount going on and I can get the Holbein 15 stick set or Specialist 25 stick set.
I live in Florida and the Senneliers may be too soft and the Neopastels the odor concerns me.
I'd be blending with no solvents as I cannot stand the odors.
Thanks, in advance.
Donn

LJW
06-23-2007, 11:45 AM
Donn, I would vote for the Holbeins as they are very good quality and soft enough for blending but also can be used for scumbling. I use both Sennelier and Holbein Artist OPs and they are both excellent. I have just taken advantage of the Dick Blick 20% off sale myself to order some Neopastels and some Cray-Pas Specialists as I have never tried these. I note that on the Blick site they consider the Specialists to be student quality, whereas the company considers them to be their professional OPs. I did read an old posting about the Neopastels having an odour, but I gather that it dissipated after they were left out in fresh air for awhile. I hope so, because I'm sensitive to odours too. Jane

Donn
06-23-2007, 12:11 PM
Thanks, Jane. I'm leaning that way too. Your input is appreciated.
Donn

laika
06-23-2007, 02:54 PM
i have a few of each, and one thing to consider is that the Specialists are firmer than the Holbeins. that might be something to consider in the Florida heat. they are also physically fatter than the Holbeins (both are squared).

the Specialists also name the pigments on the wrapper, which is nice. but then, the Holbeins are pretty awesome, too. they're made in Japan by a company that's said to be fanatical about color and quality.

Donn
06-23-2007, 03:19 PM
Thanks, Lamar. Are the Specialists as easy to blend as the Holbeins without any solvents?
Thanks.
Donn

Pat Isaac
06-23-2007, 04:26 PM
My vote is for the Holbeins as they are true artist quality and should be fine in Florida. You could pick up some sigle sticks of the others to see how they work for you.

Pat

Donn
06-23-2007, 04:32 PM
Thanks, Pat. Since I like to work on small paper (6 x 9 and less), the smaller sticks make sense too. Just wish the open stock on them wasn't so expensive! Jerry's is the only one that I see that carries them and they want an arm and a leg for s/h! If anyone else carries open stock, please let me know.
Donn
http:www.Flickr.com/photos/waysidejourney

AngelaF
06-23-2007, 05:17 PM
Have you looked at Dakota Pastels for open stock? Angela

Donn
06-23-2007, 06:55 PM
Yes, but they want a $25 minimum order!
Donn

Donn
06-23-2007, 07:10 PM
On the Holbien OPs are there any indication on the individual sticks to tell you what color or number they are?
Thanks.

LJW
06-23-2007, 07:20 PM
Donn, previously the individual Holbein OPs came "bare" without any packaging or labelling. That may still be true in sets. Last fall individual sticks became available here, at least, packaged in plastic with the name and numerical code on the package. At that point, Holbein reduced the value range for the individual pastel colours from 5 to 3. Apparently the complete set will still contain 5 values for each colour. It's hard to know if you order individual Holbeins on-line whether you will get the new packaging or not, perhaps depending on the age of the stock. It might be worth a call to Blick's to find out. Jane

Donn
06-23-2007, 07:40 PM
Thanks, Jane. I sure would seem hard to reorder individual sticks if you didn't know the color number! Yikes. I just may have to go with the Specialists since they are wrapped and have a number on them. Maybe if I was more familiar with Holbein OPs it would be different. Maybe not.
I'll email DB and ask them. Unfortunately they don't sell Holbein on open stock. But will ask them about the 15 color set.
Donn

Pat Isaac
06-23-2007, 07:52 PM
I do know that jerry's has open stock on all their pastels, plus color charts next to the color. You might check them out. www.jerrysartarama.com

Pat

laika
06-23-2007, 08:00 PM
Are the Specialists as easy to blend as the Holbeins without any solvents?

in my limited experience (i have a sampler of five Holbein sticks), i'd have to say no. the Holbeins are firm, but pretty luscious, too. i would say that the Specialists are waxier-feeling than the Holbeins.

Donn
06-23-2007, 11:56 PM
in my limited experience (i have a sampler of five Holbein sticks), i'd have to say no. the Holbeins are firm, but pretty luscious, too. i would say that the Specialists are waxier-feeling than the Holbeins.

:wave: I think I found a way to ID them. I went to their website and downloaded their catalog. On page 14 is this box of 225 sticks all color identified and number identified. It should be easy to match a color stick to the color. I printed the page on photo paper and it looks like it might do the trick, or you could match the colors on the computer screen.
http://www.hobein.com .
Donn

Donn
06-24-2007, 12:00 AM
WHOOPS, GOT THE WEBSITE WRONG. CORRECT WEBSITE IS:
http://www.holbeinhk.com .
Donn

hopalong
06-24-2007, 08:35 AM
Pearl sells open stock of Holbeins too.

Donn
06-24-2007, 11:07 AM
:wave: :wave: :wave: WHOOPS! I GOT THE WEBSITE WRONG. THE CORRECT WEB SITE IS: http://www.holbeinhk.com .

:wave: I think I found a way to ID them. I went to their website and downloaded their catalog. On page 14 is this box of 225 sticks all color identified and number identified. It should be easy to match a color stick to the color. I printed the page on photo paper and it looks like it might do the trick, or you could match the colors on the computer screen.
http://www.hobein.com .
Donn

Donn
06-24-2007, 03:44 PM
Thanks, Lindsey. Even though they also have a $25 min order, their s/h is a big better and the individual stick price is lower than the others.

Donn
06-24-2007, 07:21 PM
in my limited experience (i have a sampler of five Holbein sticks), i'd have to say no. the Holbeins are firm, but pretty luscious, too. i would say that the Specialists are waxier-feeling than the Holbeins.

Well, after much thought, rereading everything I think I'm going with the 15 set of Holbeins. I was playing around with the Expressionists and they seem too waxy and if the Specialists are also waxy (not as waxy as the Expressionists so I've been reading), the Holbeins would be easier to blend.

BTW, the great color "chart" for the Holbeins is at http://www.holbeinhk.com
for the correct web site. Click on catalog, and download it. On page 14 if the 225 color box which has the colors and color numbers. I printed mine on photo paper and hopefully it will help ID the sticks.
Thanks everyone for your help.

Donn
06-24-2007, 07:48 PM
For those who care to look, I put an oil pastel landscape I tried with the Expressionists in my Flickr. I was not happy with it. Too waxy!
Comments more than welcome!
Donn
http:Flickr.com/photos/waysidejourney

LJW
06-24-2007, 07:57 PM
Donn, I read in the other thread that you weren't sure how to upload photos to WC. There is information in the New Member forum to help you. Here is the url for that:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=297697

If you have any problems after reading the thread let us know and we'll sort it out. It's generally easier for people to resond if they have the image here to look at. Why not start a new thread with your painting. Jane

Donn
06-24-2007, 09:16 PM
Donn, I read in the other thread that you weren't sure how to upload photos to WC. There is information in the New Member forum to help you. Here is the url for that:

If you have any problems after reading the thread let us know and we'll sort it out. It's generally easier for people to resond if they have the image here to look at. Why not start a new thread with your painting. Jane

Jane. When I clicked on the add photo icon it asks for the URL and in the blank window it has http:

I don't have a URL. Any photos are on my computer in My Pictures.
So, What do I do? I think I ran into this once before and just gave up.
Thanks.
Donn

LJW
06-24-2007, 09:28 PM
Donn, I think you are encountering the problem because you are using the Quick Reply window. If you click on the Go Advanced button at the bottom of the Quick Reply window and use the insert image icon, you will be allowed to browse your files. When you find the one you want, open it and then click the upload button. Give this a try.

I use the Manage Attachments method. You will find that method available in the Additional Options window located below the Advanced message window. This also opens with a window which allows you to browse your files. Again when you find the appropriate photo file, open it and then use the upload button to upload it. If the file is too big, a message will appear above the window indicating this. This does assume that you have a program in which you can size your file appropriately before attempting to upload it. The file can't be bigger than 500 pixels wide and 600 pixels high at 72 DPI. Do you have a program that will do this for you? Let me know how it goes. Jane

Donn
06-24-2007, 09:47 PM
Donn, I use the Manage Attachments method. You will find that method available in the Additional Options window located below the ususal message window. This opens with a window which allows you to browse your files. When you find the appropriate photo file, open it and then use the upload button to upload it. If the file is too big, a message will appear above the window indicating this. This does assume that you have a program in which you can size your file appropriately before attempting to upload it. The file can't be bigger than 500 pixels wide and 600 pixels high at 72 DPI. Do you have a program that will do this for you? Jane

I have no idea how to even figure out the size of my photos in pixels. I know I scan it at 72 DPI.
Let's see about the method you use.
Nope, it says it is too large, 785 x 399. Have no idea how to change the pixels.
Donn

LJW
06-24-2007, 10:04 PM
Donn, while you were posting I was editing my message to add another method which does attempt to resize your image for you. If you click the Go Advanced button at the bottom of the Quick Reply window, and then click the insert image icon, you will get a chance to browse your files. Choose the appropriate file and open it. Then click the Upload button. This method attempts to resize the file and may work for you. Give it a try and see. The information thread about uploading files that I pointed you to mentions the program GIMP which can be downloaded free and will resize files for you. You might want to give that a try as well. Let me know how it goes. Jane

Donn
06-24-2007, 10:07 PM
Let's see if this will work. Don't know if I got it too small.

LJW
06-24-2007, 10:10 PM
Donn, it appeared but it is too small to see very well. We're making progress though. Here's the WC reference about image manipulation software:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=203090

Jane

Donn
06-24-2007, 10:40 PM
Let's try one more time. After this, I have no idea where to go.

Donn
06-24-2007, 10:42 PM
It's a bit blurry. May delete it all and try scanning it again.
Donn

LJW
06-24-2007, 10:45 PM
Yeah, you did it. :clap: It's a reasonable size. It's clear that these OPs aren't working for you. You'll find the Holbeins much creamier and better suited to what you want to do with them. What some people do with their student OPs is use them to lay in an underpainting, and then add layers on top. So don't throw them out. Jane

Donn
06-24-2007, 11:04 PM
Here's another attempt. See if this is better.

LJW
06-24-2007, 11:12 PM
Donn, this one is clearer. So you're all set and can upload more paintings when you get your new OPs. As I mentioned in the other thread, you could try to add more of the Expressionists on top of this one to see if a thicker layer will make any difference. It's worth a try. My guess is that they're just too waxy. Jane

Pat Isaac
06-25-2007, 07:33 AM
Donn, glad you and Jane figured out the image upload. Another way id to go to quick links in the menu bar and click on image uploader and it will tell you what to do.
I also would try adding some more layers to your landscape and see if you lke it better.
Hope you like your Holbeins.

Pat

LJW
06-25-2007, 10:28 AM
Thanks for the info, Pat. I'm still learning about all the features of WC even after a year and a half membership. Jane

Donn
06-25-2007, 10:42 AM
Donn, glad you and Jane figured out the image upload. Another way id to go to quick links in the menu bar and click on image uploader and it will tell you what to do.
I also would try adding some more layers to your landscape and see if you lke it better.
Hope you like your Holbeins.

Pat

Thanks, Pat. It took a while to figure out what to choose. I use Picture It and its a matter of resizing, cropping, and picking the size for the jpeg image. The original was 9.5 x 12. I usually never go this big. 6 x 9 is my favorite.
Where is this "quick link in the menu bar"? I don't see it.
Thanks again for your comments. I may try it on different paper too. This was cold press watercolor paper. I have a smoother paper, so will try it.
Donn

AnnieA
06-25-2007, 12:40 PM
I hadn't replied to this thread earlier, because I don't use either Holbeins or Specialists, but now I see you've posted something, Donn. Did you do this with a student grade OP? I think there are ways that you might improve it, so you needn't give up on it. The first thing is to simply keep going. I think most important thing I've learned about painting is that there's often going to be an "ugly duckling" stage to a painting, and not to become discouraged when it's reached. If the surface will take it, you could add more OP. With your hot weather, it should be easier to blend even the harder student brands, and to get more OP on the paper.

But if you're having problems getting any more OP onto the paper, letting it set up a bit is always a good idea. Just leaving a painting overnight often results in enough slight drying to be able to add more to it the next day.

Or you could try breaking down the OP that you've already applied to turn it into an underpainting, so you then can add more layers. There are a few ways to do so that don't rely on the use of solvents. The first would be to use alcohol, applied with a brush, to spread the color and work it into the paper. (I don't know if the smell of the alcohol might bother you, but if so, you might consider taking the piece outside for this step. Since alcohol evaporates so rapidly, it ought to be far less bothersome than solvents.)

I know that alcohol works; these second two ideas are more experimental: you might try applying heat in some way, such as laying a piece of waxed paper on top and going over it with a iron (set on the coolest setting). Or try just a very little bit of mineral oil, also applied with a brush. This last method might mean your painting would take ages to get to even a moderately dry stage, but if you were thinking of scrapping the painting anyway, you haven't lost anything. Paintings that you don't think are working are the perfect things to try out new experiments on for just that reason. Experimenting with OPs can be a lot of fun, even if things ultimately don't work, and one can learn a lot in the process. :)

hopalong
06-25-2007, 01:01 PM
Donn, great start on your ops here. This one has a lovely light feeling!
With this media, you have the opportunity to really pile on the media also. Your journey has begun!

LJW
06-25-2007, 01:12 PM
Donn, the Quick Links drop down list is on the second blue bar from the top, below where the "Welcome Donn" appears when you are logged on. The Image Uploader is the last entry in the list. Annie has provided some great ideas about working with the waxier pastels. Jane

AnnieA
06-25-2007, 02:30 PM
Annie has provided some great ideas about working with the waxier pastels...
Thanks, Jane! The thing I didn't mention is that once Donn receieves those new Holbeins in the mail, the chances are he will not want to bother with the waxier ones. :p While it's always possible to get something nice out of the harder brands, and it's great that they're available for those on a budget, the softer ones (artist brands) are just so much easier and more pleasant to work with, and the color selection is generally far superior too.

Pat Isaac
06-25-2007, 04:24 PM
That is true about the less expensive brands, Annie. My first OP was with the higher end of student grade Craypas. That experience atarted a love affair with them. And it true......the artist quality OPs really made me hooked.

Pat

Donn
06-25-2007, 09:33 PM
Annie, Lindsay, Jan and others,
:) Thank you for the suggestions, tips, etc. I'll have to try the alcohol. I do have some walnut oil coming too with the Holbeins. I heard that works too.
I'm not discouraged, just a little disappointed. But after thinking about it, the paper I used may be a problem too. I did a sample of all the colors in my sketch journal and they went on okay and blended okay. But it didn't happen on the cold press watercolor paper I did my sample landscape on. Going to try a smoother paper next time.
OK Lindsay, on my journey is just beginning. I hope so. I do like the concept of the OPs and not having to worry about the dust and fixative for soft pastels in my journal.
Jan, OK on the Quick Links. I found it. May have to see what happens with that one next time.
One thing I have a problem with is I don't take time to experiment with what a media can do. Just want to jump in and paint something worthwhile and that looks like something.
Now, tell me how to break that habit and start experimenting! I'd be welcome to suggestions. Anyone ever have that problem?
Donn

sundiver
06-26-2007, 10:13 PM
Specialists are harder than Holbeins but much less melty in the heat,. I use Specialists for plein airs and blend with a colour-shaper or vinyl eraser. They have much more pigment than Expressionists and layer better.
But Holbeins are so lovely and buttery!

laika
06-26-2007, 10:37 PM
...blend with a colour-shaper or vinyl eraser.

i recently discovered the joys of the colour-shaper; they're like an improved finger :)

that's a great idea about the vinyl eraser, too. those could be shaped to one's needs.

AnnieA
06-27-2007, 01:09 PM
That is true about the less expensive brands, Annie. My first OP was with the higher end of student grade Craypas. That experience atarted a love affair with them. And it true......the artist quality OPs really made me hooked.

I started with Pentels, Pat! (Donn: They're really quite hard.) So I guess I may be lucky that the weather was so hot that they got temporarily softer, because I fell in love with even the lowly Pentels! So you can imagine my delight upon first trying the artist brands.

Donn
06-27-2007, 07:53 PM
Hi all,
Just got word that both Jerry's and DB have shipped the orders so in about a week or so I'll see how the samples are and see which Holbein set I'm getting. I like the square stick rather than the round ones. Easier for me to use.
Will let you al know what my discoveries are and will try to post some samples of each.
Donn

Pat Isaac
06-28-2007, 07:13 AM
Enjoy, looking forward to what you think.

Pat

Pat Isaac
06-28-2007, 07:13 AM
Enjoy, looking forward to what you think.

Pat

Pat Isaac
06-28-2007, 07:27 AM
Enjoy, looking forward to what you think.

Pat

Donn
06-30-2007, 11:07 PM
Hi all,
I got my samples and I found that I like the Sennelier best, second are the Caren D'Ache Neopastels, third Holbein and lastly, Craypas Specialist.
The Senneliers are easy to blend just by the stick themselves, an oil paint brush or a stomp. Same with the Neopastels.
Didn't really care for the Holbeins, at this time, and the Specialists are way to waxy, hard to blend, even with a stomp.

I've attached (hopefully) a sample page that I did. I used the White Sennelier OP on the bottom of each sample. Love this white! I got their giant stick as the regular stick was out of stock. Glad I did.
It looks like I'll be returning the 15 stick Holbein (not the colors shown on their website or catalog) and exchange them for the Sennelier Landscape set. Also will add a few Neopastels to make up the difference.
Donn

Donn
06-30-2007, 11:09 PM
See if this upload is any better.
Donn

Pat Isaac
07-01-2007, 11:10 AM
Looks like you have been really testing out your new OPs. It is good to try them all to see what works best for you. I definitely feel a Senn white is essential. Senns are my favorite, but have been tryiing come Caran D'ache of late and like them also.
Looking forward to some posts with your new OPs.

Pat

LJW
07-01-2007, 11:31 AM
Donn, glad you are having fun trying out your new OPs, and thanks for posting your chart. I'm happy to hear that you and Pat like the Caran d'ache because I ordered a half-set from Blick's on sale. It will take more time to get here due to customs hold-ups. I also ordered a smaller set of Specialists thinking I would probably find them too hard, as you did. I, too, love the Sennelier white and have it in both sizes. When I paint the sky in a landscape, I put down a layer of Senn. white first and then add blue into it (I love Senn. Ash blue for skies). Try some paintings and show us the results. Jane

Donn
07-01-2007, 12:04 PM
Donn, glad you are having fun trying out your new OPs, and thanks for posting your chart. I'm happy to hear that you and Pat like the Caran d'ache because I ordered a half-set from Blick's on sale. It will take more time to get here due to customs hold-ups. I also ordered a smaller set of Specialists thinking I would probably find them too hard, as you did. I, too, love the Sennelier white and have it in both sizes. When I paint the sky in a landscape, I put down a layer of Senn. white first and then add blue into it (I love Senn. Ash blue for skies). Try some paintings and show us the results. Jane

Thanks for your comments. And thanks for the info on the Ash blue. I'll order that one when I send my Holbeins back. Thanks for the tip of laying down the white first. That I haven't tried on any of the colors and brands I got. Will have to try it.
Donn

Donn
07-02-2007, 07:39 PM
Looks like you have been really testing out your new OPs. It is good to try them all to see what works best for you. I definitely feel a Senn white is essential. Senns are my favorite, but have been tryiing come Caran D'ache of late and like them also.
Looking forward to some posts with your new OPs.

Pat

:wave: Thanks, Pat for your comments on the Senn white. It works great on all my test brands.
What I ended up exchanging the Holbeins for was the 25 set of CrayPas Specialists. I tried all of them in my sketchbooks and found the Specialists blended about as easy and the Senneliers. I felt that for the sketchbooks the harder Specialists would be better. However I did order 7 additional Sennelier colors with them, giving me 9. I ordered a small white too.
It really depends on the type of paper you put them on, so I've found out.
Since I work small, 6 x 9, felt the square Specialists would be better too.
Right now wish I had some of the Walnut Hollow pencils. I drew a nice winter mountain scene and need something small to add in the foreground.
Maybe when the Specialists get here I can use the corners of some of the colors.
Thanks again, everyone, for your comments. This has been an educational thread for me.
Donn

Pat Isaac
07-02-2007, 07:50 PM
It definitely does depend on your working surface. You can also use prismacolor for details instead of oil pencils as they work well. that is what I used befor I found the oil pencils. Some people also use regular pastel pencils, though I haven't tried that yet. Probably because I don't have any....:lol: They work too for some effects.

Pat

Donn
07-02-2007, 08:11 PM
It definitely does depend on your working surface. You can also use prismacolor for details instead of oil pencils as they work well. that is what I used befor I found the oil pencils. Some people also use regular pastel pencils, though I haven't tried that yet. Probably because I don't have any....:lol: They work too for some effects.

Pat

Thanks, Pat. I was wondering if they would work. Just didn't know how they would work over oil pastels. I have both, so may give it a try.
The little sketch I did is about 1/3 page as I was trying to do larger samples of the Specialists and NeoPastels. Doing little samples and a larger sketch made a big difference in what type I ended up with.
Donn

AnnieA
07-02-2007, 09:23 PM
I'm glad you found what you wanted Donn. You might be interested in joining us in the Weekly Sketch thread in Pastel Talk: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=430344 (Note, there's a new thread each week, so the link won't be any good after next Sunday.) It's a fun thread and a great place to brush up on one's skills. Some of us also are participating in Wendy's 100 Sketches Challenge: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=395580

laika
07-02-2007, 09:45 PM
Donn,

a while back, like you, i took everyone's excellent advice and got the large white Sennelier. but something else i got at the time was a big, fat colorless Sennelier blender (#221). that might be something to consider if you find yourself doing lots of blending with the harder brands, plus it's useful for protecting areas of paper that you want to keep unstained.

just a thought.

Donn
07-02-2007, 11:16 PM
Donn,

a while back, like you, i took everyone's excellent advice and got the large white Sennelier. but something else i got at the time was a big, fat colorless Sennelier blender (#221). that might be something to consider if you find yourself doing lots of blending with the harder brands, plus it's useful for protecting areas of paper that you want to keep unstained.

just a thought.

Gee, I wish I had known that earlier. I could have added it to the order. I'll look it up and put it on my wish list. Thanks.

Ann, I might take you up on the weekly sketch thread. Will look into it.
Donn