View Full Version : The perfect pastel gift?

10-07-2008, 01:11 PM
I'm putting together a Christmas present with everything needed for pastel art. So far I'm thinking of:

-Sennelier pastels: half sticks? 40 or 80?
-Paper: Wallis? Or Dakota Sampler pack instead?

Do these meet your approval? Is anything else needed for pastel?

WC Lee
10-07-2008, 02:00 PM
the sennelier plein air 80 half stick set and the dakota sampler pack would be a good combination :) Or maybe mount vision, ludwig, great american, art spectrum, unison, ummm ... so hard to decide .... but I think the half sticks would be better since you get to try twice as much colors for around the same price.

though the PERFECT pastel gift would be a complete set of Roche soft pastel :D

10-07-2008, 02:45 PM
wc lee, you are evil!!

that 80 halfsie is a great set, i have one and love it. the sampler would also be good. can i be on your list too? :big grin:

10-07-2008, 04:08 PM
I have the 80 half stick also...it is a great set! Seems like the sampler is a good idea if you don't have a favorite paper.

10-07-2008, 05:06 PM

Just ask for a blank sign check :-)

Kind regards,


10-07-2008, 05:57 PM
I see the set of 80 is more recommended. Why? For a watercolorist like me, 80 tubes of paint would be a staggering number. I guess this many sticks are needed because itís harder to mix in pastel?

Also, do I take it that pastel only requires paper and the pastel sticks? No other accessories?

10-07-2008, 06:43 PM
I also painted watercolor before pastels...the opacity of pastels to me was hard to get used to and a stick instead of a brush is also hard to get used to (at least to me) but other than pastels, paper and fingers I can't think of anything else but some others who are true pastelists may.

10-07-2008, 07:08 PM
Also, do I take it that pastel only requires paper and the pastel sticks? No other accessories?
Well, yes, but . . . . . .

--- a handsome box to hold it all (http://www.heilmandesigns.com/new_page_5.htm)
--- a set of hard pastels (http://www.dickblick.com/zz200/34a/) for your sketching and underpainting
--- a gift certificate for a class or workshop (http://www.artshow.com/workshops/WorkshopDisplay.aspx?MedTheme=Pastels&Location=All)
--- a copy of The Pastel Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist (http://books.google.com/books?id=xu71tfuJcKcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Pastel+Book:+Materials+and+Techniques&sig=ACfU3U0rnCF-AboxtZlU1yDy4y1tTtwUwg), by Bill Creevy (1991)


10-07-2008, 08:44 PM
I think the 80 half stick set of Senneliers, either Landscape or General, plus the Dakota sampler pack would rock as a startup present. I'd throw in a General's charcoal pencils pack with hardnesses of black and a white pencil in it, plus a kneaded eraser, and a set of pastel tools like the one Blick has -- it's got a fan brush, two Colour Shapers and a short blunt stiff scrubby brush for blending and erasing.

If you're getting it for a painter, then another possibility would be a Pan Pastels set with the Dakota Sampler. I just got the 20 color Painters Set, and some extra tools -- but happily discovered that the pans set has two knives, some covers as well as the little applicators included. If you wanted to combine Pan Pastels with the Senneliers, then the 5 color Starter would be an interesting challenge -- and if your friend or relative is already a painter, a "Primaries, white and black" tiny start set could combine well with the Senneliers and act as a bridge between previous techniques and the new medium.

If your friend's used to drawing instead, the pans might be the way out new style!

I might try mixing just the primaries listed in the 5 Color Starter for the Bi-Weekly Challenge to see how good that little set would be for a gift, or as an adjunct to another gift. Those are Hansa Yellow, Permanent Red, Ultramarine with Titanium White and Black.

10-07-2008, 11:19 PM
The 80 half stick set is a good one. The sampler pack is a good idea because it is hard to know in advance what type of paper someone prefers.

I use pastels and paper - no other accessories needed - except maybe a dust mask!


10-08-2008, 01:17 AM
Clarifying my earlier post:

There are two sets of Pastel Tools on Blick.

One is a set with two Colour Shapers, a fan brush and a stiff brush. That set comes either in Size 2 (small) or size 6 (large). I bought this set years ago and found it very helpful with stick pastels, which is why I recommended it. This set was more expensive, I think $27 or $37 depending on which size of set you bought, but I've found every piece in it tremendously useful.

However, the set of pastel tools that's four Sofft painting knives and eight sponge covers to go over them is not very expensive, and may also be very useful to the pastel painter using sticks. When I bought that for myself, I added the extra bag of 40 covers -- ten in each shape -- beacuse I wasn't sure how much abuse would wear out the sponge covers and wanted to keep them organized by color group. They're $4.71 for the knives set and the same for the bag of extra sponges, so it's not that much expense to add into a gift on the scale of an 80 color set of Sennelier half sticks!

An inexpensive tool that combines some of both is listed in Double Ended Colour Shapers. Most are intended for paint mediums and I could not figuer out if Firm or Soft was better for pastels. But the one at the top of the list is "Pastel Shaper" -- it has a sponge applicator on one end and a cup chisel Colour Shaper on the other, and it was only about six or seven dollars for just one useful little tool -- this would be the bargain choice to see whether they like using pastel tools or just getting in there with sticks and fingers. For most of this time I just got in there with sticks and fingers, but recently started actually using the Colour Shapers and now use them all the time.

10-12-2008, 08:14 PM
One additional accessory that you might want to consider is a barrier cream for your hands. Since the only way to keep pastels off of your hands, is to use gloves and a lot of people, myself included, would rather be able to feel the dust, the best way I know of to get your hands clean easily is to use a barrier cream. It also helps to keep the pigments from direct contact with your skin.

10-13-2008, 01:14 AM
That's a really good idea, Kym. Along with soft pastels, hard pastels, pastel tools, Dakota sampler and book... the barrier cream is the sort of thing many artists including me forget to get. I never bothered with it, don't think of lotions or hand creams because I'm a guy. But barrier cream is formulated to keep the pigment out of your pores, right?

This reminder is sending me back to Blick to check...

10-18-2008, 06:49 PM

For the Color Shapers, they are great for some uses, but on sanded paper, they tend to abrade away, but if you need something as a great and inexpensive substitute, get a regular Pink Pearl eraser, and use an exacto knife to cut it into handy shapes. This really works great - I also use a kneaded eraser - it removes a bit of the pastel when doing a bit of blending, but I haven't really found that to be too much of a problem at least for me. :)

10-21-2008, 11:51 AM
Yah, keep it simple. The half-stick sennies, maybe a box of Rembrand basics too for foundation work (you can get them in half-sticks, too, and they are inexpensive), definitely the paper assortment. Barrier cream and a dust mask are good ideas. Creevy's book is excellent.

But I'd suggest leaving off the trimmings until you get a feel for how you (or whoever this is intended for) work- we are all different. For instance, some people really like the color shapers, but I got a set as part of a package of misc pastels, and found I really do not like them. As in Really. Do. Not. :p

Oh, my, makes me remember discovering pastels and unintentionally falling in love with them...

Dayle Ann