View Full Version : Best way to break Ludwigs

02-14-2010, 03:23 PM
Hi All:

Happy Valentine's Day!:heart: I'm wondering if any of you have "broken" (on purpose) any of your Ludwigs to put them in your plein air paint boxes? I have a Heilman Medium box and find that the full sticks take up quite a bit of room. I'd like to break them in half, but am so afraid that I will destroy the stick in the process, having already done so simply by dropping one or two along the way. I'm going to paint in Arizona later this week and I'd like to get my box all set to go. If anyone has any advice or warnings regarding this, I would certainly appreciate hearing about it!!



02-14-2010, 03:24 PM
O.K. - tried to put in a heart (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/images/smilies/heart.gif) in my post and it just gave the http address - I am hopeless at this computer stuff even with a Mac!!!
If you just get the address...you can make a link


Just insert it using the world with a link icon

02-14-2010, 03:45 PM
Lynn, I just break them in half, leave one half for the studio and take the other with me in my small Heilman backpacker. I know, it's hard to do that to a Ludwig, but it works fine.:D

02-14-2010, 04:09 PM
Thanks Drusilla - they don't just crumble into pieces? Do you use a knife or just simply take one end in each hand and go for it??!!! I'm so afraid!!!


02-14-2010, 04:28 PM
Hi Lynn, They break pretty easy just try to break them in the middle with equal pressure. Have fun painting in Arizona, and don't forget to show us some of you work that you do while you are there, would love to see it.

02-14-2010, 05:38 PM
Thanks Scotty - hopefully I will have something worth showing, and then figure out all of the technical stuff to get it posted!!! Going up to get my box ready. Still scared to break one!!!


02-14-2010, 06:31 PM
Lynn, take the colour you 'never' use, and break that.

Some score the pastel with a knife, so the break is clean. I usually find a sharp edge of a table, 'balance' the stick on it and gently increase pressure till it snaps in half.

02-14-2010, 07:20 PM
some folks have told me they lay down a piece of wire in the middle of the pastel stick and apply pressure on both ends and press down.
This half stick allows for you to take twice as much color in the field.

02-14-2010, 07:26 PM
Lynn it looks like you got some great answers here...and even one 'from the horses mouth' so to speak!....not calling you a horse Terry!:D

02-14-2010, 09:20 PM
Wow - thanks all! Terry - I didn't know you 'lurked about' here! Love your pastels by the way. I have quite a few additions to my 2 sets (both the Maggie Price sets) that I got at several workshops. Terry, thank you so much for being so generous with those who attend workshops!! I certainly love the 'goodies' that companies send out to participants. O.K. what I did was to lightly score one side of the pastel in the middle and then firmly snap it. Did my entire set of essential grays and with one or two minor exceptions, had an absolutely clean break. I am loathe to do the Values set - I may just take them in the fabulous box they come in.

Going to try for the heart - hope this works Deirdre - thanks for the advice!!


02-14-2010, 09:21 PM
I am hopeless - completely hopeless! No heart showed up!!!

02-15-2010, 06:47 AM
:heart: :heart:

Lynne, is it every smiley, or just the heart that is a problem?

Generally, when images and smileys show up as code in a post, click on the "preview post" button. If the preview shows it OK, then the posted comment will look OK (usually).

You can also try to type : and then the word heart, and finish with a : again, the second hart above was typed, not clicked. :+heart+: (leave out the +es, no spaces, I can't show exactly how to type it, as it shows up as a :heart:


02-15-2010, 03:05 PM
you are brave, i've snapped quite a few pastels, but that is one brand i've never done.

terry--i just tried your pastels for the first time just recently and they are now among some of my top favorites. i am finding i am reaching for them more often, and will be adding to my selection of them when i can--the texture of them makes them very useful for me. thanks!

WC Lee
02-15-2010, 03:06 PM
the easiest way to display images from the internet is to enclose the web address of the image within the IMG tags

example: I am using "<" and ">" instead of "[" and "]" so it would show up in the post.


if you replace the "<" with "[" and ">" and "]" this is what will appear


but with the smiley faces that is part of this forum, it isn't necessary to do it this way :)

PS: I forgot to mention I like to score the pastel with an utility knive before snapping it in halves. It makes a cleaner break with little to no crumbs.

02-15-2010, 04:38 PM

I did it!!!

Thank you all for your help and support!!!

Kathryn Wilson
02-16-2010, 09:03 AM
ummm ... just do an "Go Advanced" message box and all the smileys are there right on Wet Canvas - you don't have to go to the internet, it's all right here

:heart: :clap: :wave: :o :( :lol: :p :eek: :confused: :cool: :rolleyes: :smug:

02-16-2010, 12:12 PM
aren't these pastels on the smaller side? I'd just get a bigger box

02-16-2010, 06:24 PM
no, these are bigger square chunky pastels. they are wonderful, not overly soft but not hard either. they have a nice heft to them, and scumble nicely. i like the shape, i can use all the diff. edges for detail, grass, building edges, etc.

02-16-2010, 08:30 PM
Jennifer - I already have the medium sized Heilman and don't want to go any larger than that for plein air - it gets too heavy!!! The Ludwigs are chunky, I love them, but found that my box got very crowded with them all in there. There was too much pressure on them and a few cracked around the edges. So, I either break them in half or take them in the box they came in ... sigh ... it is a tough choice. Certainly if they were the size of the Great Americans I would have no problem snapping them in half or even in thirds.


02-16-2010, 10:18 PM
I have never used the Ludwigs, have only seen them in photos, some pics they look very small. Right now I am trying to decide on a gray set of them or Great Americans, which are also square now, and it is a TOUGH decision. Especially since someone told me that Girault also has a nice grey set....

Anyway, I wince at breaking any good pastel in half....though you have to do it to get the best use out of them, right??

02-17-2010, 12:23 AM
If you have a limited budget, I would recommend either doing a sampler from fineartstore.com, or just buying some single pastels, and see which ones you prefer. I have never used Great Americans, but I love the Giraults and Ludwigs. There are advantages and disadvantages to each - Giraults are usable throughout the painting process, the Ludwigs and Great Americans are softer and so are better suited to later layers of the painting. Just depends on how you paint, what surfaces you are using, etc. I know some artists who use only Great Americans for their entire paintings - I'm sure you can say that for almost every brand. And it is true - for most pastels you have to break them to use them!!


02-17-2010, 04:55 PM
I am hopeless - completely hopeless! No heart showed up!!!

Are you asking how to break Terry Ludwig's heart? I'm not sure how you do that, but you can get him to drool if you offer him a breakfast burrito from the Church Street Cafe in Albuquerque.

02-18-2010, 11:20 AM
Is it possible to break Ludwig's so they are long and skinny rather than short and squat? Every once in a while, my hands cramp up using small pieces of pastels, so if I can keep the length, my hands are happier.

02-18-2010, 07:23 PM
I cut mine in thirds using a utility knife to score, and I save all the crumbles, yes....sorry crumbling a bit is par for the course for lots of pastels. I'll have to adopt Terri's idea using a wire, sounds much better.

I use one third for my studio, one third for my pleinair box, and one third for my reorder box. So when I've used up one I can take the little piece I have left to match it so I reorder the right color.

Oh I save the crumbles by generic color, so when I get enough I reconstitute into a new weird color.

Have fun in AZ!


Tom Perry
04-20-2010, 12:41 PM
I use a very small triangular "needle file". I set it on a piece of sponge rubber with the handle pointed away from me. I place the pastel on the end closest to me and lightly push away and press down on both ends at the same time.

The foam rubber anchors the file and absorbs the shock from the pastel breaking. I like to break about a third of the pastel off so I have different size "brushes" when used on the side. :)

04-20-2010, 06:59 PM
Because I don't like big halves, I break in thirds - almost all brands. Was able to do the Maggie Price Grays by scoring around the edge like I generally do. Not all are perfect, but they are about the right size for my needs.

04-24-2010, 02:27 PM
I've used a toothpick under mine & press down on both ends. Works fine with Terry Ludwigs.