View Full Version : Have you tried Schmincke Pastel?

03-13-2003, 11:22 AM
Hi everyone
I have been on my weekly trip into town and tried a small art shop run by an artist. His speciality is portraits in pastel among many other things including oil. My idea was to ask if he would be willing to give private portrait classes but the answer was "NO...I paint from the heart, this does not mean that I can also teach". However he was wiling to chat and pass on lots of useful information...in fact 35 minutes of free advice (good sales tactic). He recommended a pastel that he uses from germany called 'Schmincke', he demonstrated how soft and how superior it was in the palm of my hand. I bought lots of stuff. Came home and noticed that Rembrant pastel was the same in the palm of my hand. Have you heard of this brand? I am just about to try it on paper and see how it handles. I thought it must be good if he goes to the trouble of importing it from Germany...love to hear your ideas on this.

03-13-2003, 11:34 AM
Schminckes are extremely soft pastels. Your Rembrandts will seem like rocks by comparison. :D

I found a very handy reference guide as to the various brands of pastels out there.

Dakota Soft Pastels listing of softest to hardest of the soft pastel brands (http://www.dakotapastels.com/index_softpastels.shtml)

I work on suedeboard for the most part, and I find that the Schminkes are almost too soft for it. But it is excellent for punching out those final whites or other rich colors.

My current favs of "soft" types are Unisons. They're just soft enough without being TOO soft. I like my Rembrandts for general purpose and detailing because they hold a finer edge.

03-13-2003, 11:39 AM
Never tried Schminckes, use Rembrandts in the main, also Winsor and Newton and Daler Rowney, plus pastel pencils for detail work.

Tried Senneliers once, but found some of their colours too gritty and crumbly.


03-13-2003, 12:07 PM
Thanks Mo...I like Rembrant but they are the only ones I had tried until I bought this lot.

Thanks Blackhorsedesign I will check out the site you suggest. I remember quite a few people including Jamie suggested Unison but I could not buy it locally and did not want to wait for snail mail.

03-13-2003, 01:57 PM
Schminke are the Rolls Royce of pastels. They are the softest, most deliciously creamy of all (tho that said, Terry Ludwig's a pretty nice too!). They take a bit of getting used to, if you generally whack your pastels in with a heavy hand. You will find that working gently with the Schminkes, building up colour on colour using a fairly light touch until you are ready to push in those highlights, will work better, because they are so soft that it is easy to overload the paper quite quickly.

They are uniformly soft, which is also good, and easy to clean too. I do use Unisons too, but they are far more difficult to clean, I virtually have to clean each one by hand. I can drop my Schminckes into a tray with some ground rice or semolina, give it a shake, and drop into a sieve. The pastels willbe sparkling clean, back to their original state. Wonderful things, you chose well.


03-13-2003, 06:05 PM
I have to totally agree with Jackie. I have a case filled with all my pastels and when I grab a Schmincke - looking for just that right color - I know I have found the best. They are like butter and just swim across the page. I personally find the color selection excellent and the colors extremely saturated and rich. They are my first choice - though I typically try to fill with my Rembrandts first before layering on with the others.

I don't want to waste those Schminckes and cover them up - they are too precious!


03-13-2003, 06:05 PM
Hi Jackie
Yes I have to agree after trying the Schminke they are very soft and creamy...I used the wrong side of the Canson and you do need a light touch. I think I overloaded the paper a bit to start with because I could not see my pencil markings underneath. Are you supposed to sketch with pencil before using Pastel...I never thought about this before?

Many thanks for another great tip...I never knew you could clean pastels. I see my hubby getting excited when I put semolina on the shopping list...it's one of his favourites LOL :D

03-13-2003, 06:06 PM
I've sketched with both a nupastel which is hard and can give you a better chance at a point - or with a charcoal pencil. Either one work well for me.

I clean my pastels with cornmeal in a ziploc bag and then put them into a sifter so I don't transfer the cornmeal into the pastel case. Works pretty well to clean off the pastels quickly.


03-13-2003, 06:11 PM
Hi Barb
I think we posted at the same time...Thanks for another great tip!
I must be getting a bargain because my Schminke sticks cost 2.40 or $2.64cents and I get a 10% artists discount with my student card.

03-13-2003, 06:26 PM
I was recently in Holland and Germany and went out of my way to find the local art supply store to see what price I could buy them at. The cheapest I found was a clearance sale here in Wyoming (they are done already), where they sold them for .75 USD each. Typically I'll pay $3.25 - $3.75 each - though I look for sales. Well done on your price.


03-13-2003, 07:28 PM
Gina, I use the Rembrandts to lay base colors and finish off with the Shminkes...(the few I have) I love them!
They just dissappear way to fast...lol :D They are exactly as the other have said, and I treat them as such. "Gold!"lol

03-14-2003, 01:51 AM
I found a guy on ebay that sells schmincke for $2.25 or less a stick. I recently bought some from him, I think his website is alliedartstore.com, but he is always on ebay too, just search for Schmincke! He doesn't sell singles on auction, but you can email him and ask him if he has the colors you want in singles.


03-14-2003, 03:20 AM
Just one thing about paper.......there is no right or wrong side to Canson paper, only smooth or rougher. The choice is yours.

I tend to do my preliminary "drawing" with either charcoal, conte, or, for preference these days, a felt-tip pen, which doesn't clog up the paper at all. If you use one of those pens which has a brush tip at the other end, you can even block in some of the darker areas with it, to give your darks a start. Or you can use several colours. It is like doing an underpainting, but it won't buckle the paper in the same way as if you use a water-based paint.

It isn't a good idea to use a graphite pencil because the graphite is shiny and rejects the pastel.


03-14-2003, 04:16 AM
Absolutely love them for final applications of colour. I don't have that many because they are very expensive here, but I do love them.

03-14-2003, 11:21 AM
I think I finaly realised that you can use Canson paper on both sides the hard way. I did another portrait and didn't want to have to fill up the holes on the bumpy side:) I see what you mean about using a graphit pencil...the pastel does not stick. I will use a Pastel Pencil next time!
I am so pleased to have found something that is such a pleasure to use as these pastels.
Pleased the rest of you are managing to find bargains...apart from Lulu, I would post some to you, but I expect postage would eat up the saving!