View Full Version : Good Morning!

07-31-2008, 11:11 AM
Hi Everyone. I just joined this lovely community last night so I thought I'd jump right in with some questions.

First of all I'm saving up to order a good set of pastels. I'll have to order online since there is no wheres really to buy any around where I live. I would love some imput on your favorite brands. Money isn't really going to be a consideration when buying them because I want to have at least $500 saved before I make the purchase.

Second I've always have problems with getting skin tone right. So if anyone has any suggestions or tips or can point me to a good tutorial I'd be forever in their debt!

I'd also love to know what got everyone into using pastels? For me it was after my mom and me moved out of my fathers house. I was never aloud to take after school activities or other classes when we lived at my fathers.... so the first thing I wanted to do was take an art class. Since I loved art since I was 2. So I took a class with a local artist named Maurice Bernard. I tried the pastels there for the first time. It was so much fun. Actually I believe this is the pastel I did. http://hugsy25.deviantart.com/art/Mulder-58414737

Anyways I can't wait to meet everyone.

07-31-2008, 12:29 PM
Phyllis- you can get this really great set of GA 1/2 sticks for under $90. and they are really terrific....I have tried all the brands, and gotten big sets, wood boxes, etc. but this is such a sweet and totally portable set I am loving it....but Great American pastels is by far my favorite brand....


jerry's artarama has a lot of their sets too....dick blick has a few.... Jerry's has a 20% off sale on orders over $150. right now with coupon code N3A2

Adriana Meiss
07-31-2008, 12:49 PM
Hi Phyllis,
The thing that got me into pastels was the bright, vivid colors. I had seen a show where I noticed that the three favorite paintings were all done in pastels. Needless to say I got hooked.

07-31-2008, 03:18 PM
Hi Phyllis and welcome to the pastel forum:wave:
What got me started is the feel of getting my hands into the process more, and...I get bored easily! I need instant(well almost) gratification:evil: :D

I suggest you look at some threads already posted in some of the recent pages of this forum, and you will get a lot of info regarding peeps opinions on pastel brands. Read the info, and then make decisions based on you and your wants and needs. I have my personal favorites, but those may be totally different than what you are looking for, ie...you may paint animals, people, buildings, or aliens from Zoltar...you may like to scrape and grind, or glide like a feather...
If you are seriously considering investing some money, hands on touch is best, but the next best thing is www.dakotapastels.com (http://www.dakotapastels.com) sells a sampler set of sticks and various papers they sell, and you can try different brands without a lot of fuss, cause let me tell you, you will get 10 different answers from 9 of us pastelists:evil: :D

Again welcome to the dustland...

07-31-2008, 06:25 PM

Only you can find out what pastels and surfaces suit you more.
I myself think that some pastels work better for some themes than others and probably also surfaces.
I do mostly landscapes and like Sennelier ( I got the regular 80 half set and the plein air 80 half set) and Schmincke.
However since you seem to enjoy portaiture, I'd check Winsor & Newton, Rembrandt and the portrait sets from Unison. The former brands also have portrait sets.
As for surfaces I advise Canson ( I don't do well on this one, but I belive that is a by default surface to experiment) which you can try on both sides, Pastelmat and Colourfix. You may also try Stonehenge, namely if you use pencils. Ah ! Or course that the list wouldn't be finished without a velour paper by Hanehmuhle (sp?).

Kind regards,


07-31-2008, 06:54 PM
I got started with pastels about a year ago in a drawing class. Even though I was using a small set of Nu Pastels I felt like a kid again. Drawing and painting at the same time. Even better than my crayons. Wow! My oil paints are getting a little dusty.

To start you may want to get a set of Rembrandts for their fabulous array of colors. Easy to draw with and get a feel for the medium. Then of course you'll want to add in several soft ones. Check out eBay. There are some terrific sets available now - Schminkes, Senneliers, Unisons, and of course you can always find a great buy there on Rembrandts. If I were starting my collection, I would get Rembrandts and Unisons. I just picked up a couple of great buys on eBay on some Mt. Visions and Great Americans, plus some excellent paper. Also, many sellers on eBay will ship worldwide.

07-31-2008, 09:14 PM
Thanks so much for the tips! I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on what I decide to finally order. When I unpack my current pastels from the move I'll let everyone know what I am currently using.

Merethe T
08-01-2008, 08:46 AM
Hi Phyllis, welcome to the dusty side! :wave:

What brand to get, uhm.....all of them....?! :D Well, like others have mentioned, this is a personal choice, depending on style, technique...I started with Rembrandts and Faber Castells, and they're still work horses for me. I love Unisons and Great Americans too though (and Ludwigs, gotta have those...) - so there you go...But surfaces do matter to though, a good quality paper really makes a difference (I use La Carte and Colorfix).

How did I get started in pastels? Well, I love to draw - graphite have always been a favorite. Did try oils, acrylics and watercolors cause I wanted to expand and work with colors - but never liked the mixing colors-part...borrowed a 12-piece set of Faber Castell soft pastels&Wet Canvas - tried and was hooked! Never looked back, by far my favorite! But I can thank all the talented people right here for my addiction, I never realized what the sticks can actually do before I saw the works here.

As for skin-tones, there are several portrait-artists who've done great WIP's in this forum, someone should soon come along and give you some pointers...


08-01-2008, 09:42 AM
Hi Phyllis, Welcome. What part of Canada are you located in? Like Tressa I was going to recommend the Dakota Pastels sampler packs - a nice way to get the feel for some different pastels and supports without a big investment. We all have our faves. I still use mostly NuPastels, especially when starting out, but do have some others (Unisons, Rembrandts, Senneliers) that I use for later layers.

How I got started? My mom keep trying to get me into painting when I was kid. She did oils and acrylics and made me try them, but they just didn't *work* for me. I loved art but decided perhaps my way of expressing it was something else. For years I made quilts, but I still yearned for something in the "fine arts". A few years ago I took a watercolor class and hated that too. But in spring 2005 I signed up for a basic drawing class. The class was fun and I loved the instructor. We had 10 sessions, and about the 7th session the instructor said we'd been spending so much time on things like values, negative space, etc - she thought we might enjoy working with some color.

So she brought in some boxes of pastels and set up a still life for us to try. And almost from the very first stroke I fell in love! There was an immediacy there that I didn't have with acrylics and oils, and a naturalness that I didn't have with watercolors. It satisfied my own fairly impatient style of working, and I loved the colors. I've been a pastel fan ever since.

08-01-2008, 12:20 PM
It's nice to meet all of you.
Debbie I live in little bitty Prince Edward Island have you ever been here?