View Full Version : NUpastels Equivalent in UK?

Anna Marie
10-03-2002, 03:59 PM
Hi I keep seeing you wonderful Americans raving on about Nupastels and when I went to the Doctors Surgery today I used my Brain for once and took a book on pastels with me.
I was delighted that they were running late as I got 45 minutes of good uninterrupted reading but to get to the point the Artist who was from the US recommended using NUpastels for detail work.
They dont exist in the UK and I dont have enough dosh to buy the wrong ones so what are the nearest that I can buy in England ?

10-04-2002, 04:28 AM
I have wondered about this. So, you US pastellists - can anyone explain whether NUpastels are hard, or soft? Thin sticks or fat ones? Waxy or Crumbly?

Once we know this, I can advise on the nearest equivalent in the UK.


10-04-2002, 07:31 AM
I have yet to use them myself, I can give you some basic info from DakotaArt.com site:
Comparing Soft Pastels
Listed in order of softness (#1 being the softest)
#10. Art Spectrum
#11. Rembrandts
#12.Windsor& Newton
#13. Holbein
#14. Maimeri
#15 Faber-Castell Polychomos
#16 Nupastel
#17 Cretacolor
NuPastel are widely known and used by pastel artists. These semi-hard pastels work well for underpainting, sketching, and for detail work where a hard edge is necessary. The stick is .25" square by 3.5" long.

Sorry I cant give anymore info then that:( Hope it helps some!

10-04-2002, 09:34 AM
Going by the above helpful info, Anna Marie, I would suggest then that Nupastel are probably much like the Conte a Paris "Carres" pastels range of square sticks. Alternatively, they might well be like Faber-Castell's Polychromos pastels, also hard, square stick.

Hard pastels do not come in a huge range of colours like soft pastels. They are good for fine details ... but you can also work fine details with a softer pastel, if you work lightly and carefully. Depends how much detail you want.

If you want a range of ECONOMICAL pastels, which fall clearly between soft and hard, but are not as gritty as Inscribe, I can recomment the JAXELL pastels, which I reviewed recently for The Artist magazine. They can be obtained via the Great Art catalogue, which I recommend you get in any event, because their prices are excellent. It is Europe's largest catalogue of quality art materials, so they say! Call them on 01420 59 3332, and this massive catalogue the size of a telephone directory will come thumping onto your doorstep! Or you could email them for a catalogue - [email protected]

To give you some price comparisons, the Faber Castell Polychromos cost £26.95 for 36, whereas Jaxell cost £10.85 for a box of 36. BIG difference!

Pastels can also be purchased as pastel pencils - quite good for tiny details too, but difficult to work over passages of soft pastel, they tend to "score" into the softer marks.

Hope this helps,

do visit my ebay page and auctions (http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/jackie4art/.)

visit my website which has a “troubleshooter” page of helpful pastel tips and hints (http://www.jackiesimmonds.co.uk)

Also see my posts in The Artists Marketplace here at WC!

10-04-2002, 11:58 AM
Here is a pic of my NuPastels. I have the full set of 96 colors and it was relatively inexpensive. I just purchased a small set of Faber-Castell Polychomos, and as noted in the Dakota information, they are a bit softer than the NuPastel.


10-04-2002, 12:01 PM
Here is the manufacturer of Prismacolor Nupastels www.sanfordcorp.com (http://www.sanfordcorp.com). They are larger than conte crayons but look similar. They are not so hard as to scratch the paper, although I have one dark violet that I can't use over any layer of pastel, only bare paper. Strangely, I have a set of soft pastels (Mungyo) that has the odd dark stick that is harder than any Nupastel I have. The Rembrandts I have don't seem to be much softer than Nupastels. Pastel pencils seem to be much harder.

Part of my collection. As you can see, I use a heavy hand sometimes and they break. I don't realize how hard I'm pressing or even holding the stick. But that's OK since I like using the short pieces. However, when you drop them on a hard surface, they tend to shatter.

10-04-2002, 01:03 PM
Well, I think you have all the info you need now, Anna Marie. I reckon your nearest equivalent in the UK is definitely Conte a Paris Carre range (they do another range, which is softer.) Particularly if Polychromos are actually SOFTER than NuPastel.

the main difference seems to be that Conte only has about 60 or so colours.

Polychromos has 100 colours.

Both ranges are short on subtle colours - blue-greys, red-greys, green-greys, soft umbers.

But then the Nupastel range is quite vibrant too.

Aren't these US Wet Canvas'ers across the pond helpful!!


Rick R
10-04-2002, 02:50 PM
Cretacolor's hard pastels are very similar in shape, hardness, and price to Nupastels, and they are a European brand (Austrian?) I think.

- Rick

10-04-2002, 03:18 PM
The Great Art Catalogue has Cretacolor pastels. Only 48 colours tho they are "softer" colours, more subtle than Conte possibly. Box of 48 - £43.50 or 66p per pastel.

Anna Marie
10-04-2002, 03:19 PM

Yipee Kay Ay thank you Jackie, Rick, Maverick,
Karen, Redsy333.

Brilliant information and I admit I only use my Ingres when I am desperate.

Anna Marie
10-04-2002, 03:24 PM
KarenU - I just noticed your photo has a lovely tray of Unison next to it. Do we need a 'You show me your pastels and I'll show you mine thread ??'

10-05-2002, 04:10 AM
there IS a you-show-me-your-pastels, I'll-show-you-mine thread!!!! I cannot remember which it is, perhaps someone will remember, but it would amuse you - photo after photo of everyone's studio set up! I think it was to do with how do you store your pastels - go back through the forum pages you might find it. You will love it.


10-05-2002, 12:53 PM
Anna Marie...here is the thread that Jackie mentioned:


Yes...I love my Unisons!! And I just recently got a small half stick set of Schmincke...oh my....those are so soft it is truely amazing!

Anna Marie
10-05-2002, 02:22 PM
found the thread glad I'm not the only one who likes looking at trays of pastels.