View Full Version : need help for picking panpastel colours

11-16-2011, 12:01 AM
of course i'd like to go with 80 colours set if i dont need to worry about the money, sadly, my budget is a bit shot, so could you please help me to pick some good panpastel colours; also like to know just how blendable are they, are they really like paints so you can have a minimal amount of colours and still be able to blend them just fine? thanks!

11-16-2011, 04:13 AM
They really are like paints in terms of blendability. Minimal budget, I would suggest getting the 5 color Painters set - primary triad, black and white. You can mix almost anything with that because they are good mixing primaries.

Also, the sets will give you one or two colors free versus the cost of buying colors individually.

If your budget is a bit larger, the 10 color Painters set is a very good general palette. You get primaries, secondaries and a couple of useful earths. With that, I really can mix anything. I'm considering getting an extra 10 color Painters set and 10 color tray to use as a plein air Pans setup, even though I have the full 80 color set.

You could also expand on that with 5 Tints and 5 Shades too or 5 Deep Darks and 5 Tints. It's easier to mix Deep Darks with full color pigments than it is to darken the Shades with black.

I started out with the 20 color Painters, which gave me all but one of the pigments used pure. I didn't regret it, because later on I was able to add the Tints and Shades 20 colors sets and a separate pan of chromium green, which wasn't included in 20 Painters.

So that's my recommendation - the Painters sets have the most versatility. 20 color sets are a way to get the whole 80 color range more gradually, together all four of them do make up more or less the full range. Tints 20 has no black in it so they included Chromium Green, while Shades has no white so they included Chromium Green. Deep Darks gives an extra black.

So you wind up with extra white and black pans doing that. I gave my extras to a friend in an art supply swap to get her started off in Pans, but now I'm thinking of replacing the 10 extras pans I had with a 10 color Painters set for portability.

At each stage, the sets do cost less than buying 5, 10 or 20 colors separately, so they're a good bargain. I have yet to find any Pans color that I don't use, but think the Painters sets are well chosen for versatility.

Tints, Shades and Deep Darks are convenience colors. The pure tones and white and black are all that's really needed. I splurged because I like convenience colors and sometimes mixing three tints is easier than mixing white and dabbing into all those other colors and back to white. They really are convenient. However, you may not need all 20 hues in the tints and shades or deep darks.

5 Tints gives you Hansa Yellow Tint, Permanent Green Tint, Ultramarine Tint, Violet Tint and Permanent Red tint. You wind up mixing orange tints but that's very convenient for highlighting and I'd have no trouble doing clouds with it.

5 Shades gives you Chromium Oxide Green Shade, Hansa Yellow Shade, Permanent Red Shade, Violet Shade and Ultramarine Shade - same colors. Again, you mix orange but it's all right.

5 Extra Dark Shades is the one that has the same colors in Deep Darks. This is the one I'd consider most useful along with Tints and a 10 color Painters if you want a versatile twenty colors. The regular 5 Shades are good but it would be easy to dab some of the pure color into the Extra Dark Shades to approximate them.

10 color Painters set has Black, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Hansa Yellow, Permanent Red, Violet, Ultramarine, Pthalo Green and White. These are enough to go on for a start or for plein air.

Definitely pick up the trays if you can though. Either a 10 color tray for the 10 color Painters by itself, or a second one for tints and deep darks, or a 20 color tray for the lot. The trays make them much easier to use. But if you'd rather get more colors, I did all right just screwing columns together organized by hue and stacking them with the color in use on top of short 5 or 6 color stacks while painting in a limited space.


Manageable stacks when I had Tints, Shades and Painters sets plus Chromium Oxide Green pure tone.


The minimum useful set, 5 Painters Colors. These are good primaries and if that's all you can afford, you'll just be doing a whole lot of mixing. The pans clean off well with a paper towel or just wiping them off with a sponge after having smeared different colors into them.

I like my trays better but I really am tempted to that 10 Painters for convenience, it was compact and easy to grab for those days I don't want to go moving everything around and finding a place to put four big trays.

Hmm... been window shopping at Blick anyway since I'll have money when I get out doing street selling. I went ahead and put it in the cart for "get it soon," since it'll be that convenient. Though if things are tight I'll leave the tray out and just use it as a stack or two.

11-16-2011, 10:10 AM
The 20 Color set is *very* usable and well chosen.

Deborah Secor
11-17-2011, 12:24 AM
A student ordered the trays and THEN found out the set came with them--I'm not sure what size set. Ask before you order them separately.

Pans work a lot like paints. You really can layer and blend and make some very subtle colors! Do try them on Pastelmat--the BEST combo I can think of.

11-17-2011, 01:19 PM
Oh wow, that's great if they're starting to include the trays with the sets. I didn't know that, Deborah. Awesome.

11-17-2011, 08:47 PM
thank you so much guys, i'll probably go with 20 paint colours set;
2 more questions though, do they really feel like paint in terms of blendabllity will you be able to, for example, get white out of blending several colours like traditional paints, this is followed by another question, how do you do the blending since you are not supposed to use normal mixing tray to blend, do you just rub the paint off each tray (i mean the container) and blender on the top of it? will the colour get muddy then in this way, or you work like with coloured pencil, 'drawing' layers upon layers directly on paper? it's such an intriguing media I just keep coming questions until i get my hand on them.

Deborah Secor
11-17-2011, 09:27 PM
You might go watch my PanPastel video to see how they blend. http://vimeo.com/7336736

11-17-2011, 11:30 PM
You can get gray by mixing complementary colors and a lot of white. Yay for the 20 color Painting set. That's the most versatile one, with it you can mix any of the other hues. Everything in that set is single pigment colors!

For doing white in a painting, I'd only use the white pure on the one brightest highlight in a white area like snow or white fur. Everything else, mix some other colors with it. You can mix either on the paper or by dipping your sponge or tool into more than one color. Since you have to dab it in color about three times to fully load the sponge, there's no reason that can't be three different colors. White, touch of red iron oxide, touch of orange, white again, there's a nice skin highlight color.

Test mixtures on scratch paper until you're used to them. Some pigments overpower a 50-50 mix and others don't, as usual you want more yellow than red in an orange mix. With the orange pigment that gets easier though!

Watch all the videos on the Pan Pastels site. They're tremendously useful. Also try that sketching technique with black or a deep color like Raw Umber, it's a lot of fun to use the first stroke for dark, then successive strokes for medium and light values and do an entire sketch on white paper that way. That's a good way to sketch in for a painting too - a tonal painting in monochrome black, Paynes grey, violet or brown can be great to work over.

11-18-2011, 06:15 AM
When you mix coloured light, you get white. When you mix many colours consisting of pigments, you get greys, browns, and blacks.

11-19-2011, 10:08 AM
and i suppose the 20 colours set's got all the paint tools you need? (those sponges and knife like 'soft tools')

11-20-2011, 07:12 PM
sorry for the bump, but i need to know whether i need to buy an extra package for softt tools or not? the 20set's got some softt tools, just not sure if they are enough to kick around, thanks.

Deborah Secor
11-20-2011, 11:29 PM
You know, I think you can go out internet shopping and look at the sets available at different online retailers to see exactly what's included. I think they'll get you started with some tools. Where do you plan to buy the Pans?