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Old 12-15-2019, 01:29 PM
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Frederique Frederique is offline
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Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Hi everybody !
I haven't painted with pastels since... about 15 years, and I'd like to return to this medium.
I've a couple of dry pastels left, they are very hard (I don't remember if they were like that when I bought them, but fully usable, but I've only 8 colors left

I don't remember which brand it was. I'm in France, and I bought them in an Art shop, so probably Rembrandt or something similar. It really was a long time ago, more than 20 years.

I'm reading all I can find about the brand one can find these days, but I'd prefer not to explode my budget, lol

I've read about "Koh-I-Noor" pastel (sticks) but it seems there are different softness or I don't know what.

Could a kind pastellist help me to choose please ?

My favorite subjects are
1) human portraits
2) still life
3) pets/animals portraits

Generally speaking, I don't like landscapes.

I'm thinking perhaps of a 48 sticks set, but I found several versions on Amazon with a slight difference in pricing, and I don't understand if these are the same or not...it seems it's about softness.
- Which one will be best for me ?
- Is 48 colors too much ?

Here are the links :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...SJHJVVT8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...SJHJVVT8&psc=1



HELP please !

Thanks in advance !
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:54 PM
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water girl water girl is offline
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

I will defer to others on the Koh-I-Noor, as I've not used them. Would you consider a set of Rembrandt half sticks? They are of medium softness, professional quality and the ones I use frequently.
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:57 PM
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Hi Karen, thank you !

You know I'm not obsessed by any brand, just by a good ratio quality-price ! How pricey are the half Rembrandt ? I'm going to check...
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:06 PM
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

They are reasonably priced. If there are Jack Richeson's 1/2 sticks for his soft pastels, not hand rolled, they are resonable as well. Starting out, you only need 1/2 sticks. My first set was a 90 1/2 stick set of Rembrandt and it lasted for years.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:17 PM
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Frederique Frederique is offline
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

In my shop, according to their web site, the 1/2 rembrandt are about 27 euros the set of 30.

Are these pastels soft, medium, or hard ? I didn't find any details about them...

I hope someone who knows the "Koh-I-Noor" will answer my questions too...
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:37 PM
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Rembrandts are a very nice medium soft.
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:11 PM
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Thank you Karen.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:26 PM
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Don't know about Koh-I-Noor, but if you are in France I would definitely look at Girault pastels (a medium softness) or Sennelier (very soft). I know Sennelier has had some half-stick sets in the past which were a pretty good value. Girault may also have sets that would be good to have. Most pastellists have a variety of soft, medium and harder pastels, but it very much is an individual preference depending on each person's techniques and the papers that they use.

If it is possible, the best thing to do is actually visit an art store that sells pastel sticks individually. Usually those stores will have some pastel sticks that you can try so you can see what you like.

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Old 12-15-2019, 11:39 PM
DBfarmgirl DBfarmgirl is offline
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Arrow Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Hello, welcome.

I have a small set of kohinoor, i dont like them. They almost seem greasy, and don't dissolve with water to do an underpainting. They crumble easily and don't seem to mix well with other brands. I set mine aside, I'm glad I only tryed a small used set and spent very little on them. I have many other brands, these are my least favorite.

I agree with Don, if you can try different brands it will help you decide. You may like the kohinoor more than me. Karen's suggestion of half stick Rembrandt set is a great start.

Sharen
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:33 AM
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Thank you to all of you. I can't buy a set of expensive pastels like Sennelier right now, so I have to make a choice between a Rembrandt set as Karen showed me, or I should buy 5 sticks each month in open stock in my art shop...

It came to my mind that a set wasn't the best for me, perhaps, because there are some colors I'll rarely use and others which are at work all the time.

Evidence (photo of my very old and very hard pastels):


First I'm going to follow Don's advice and go to my shop to try what they have...


I've never heard about Giraud before and I've just have a look with Google, and they are more than 3 euros per stick... oopps !

Last edited by Frederique : 12-16-2019 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 05:10 AM
kcwhitney kcwhitney is offline
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Girault are great but quite expensive. I would consider his other suggestion of a set of Sennelier half sticks more closely. I would think they would be ideal for you. Artist quality, very soft, somewhat reasonably priced, and French!

I bought their 120 stick "Paris" set as a starter kit, and loved it. They have smaller sets as well. They are about a euro a piece

I don't know any French vendors, but here is a link to Jackson's in the UK.

https://www.jacksonsart.com/sennelier-soft-pastel-sets
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:16 AM
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcwhitney
Girault are great but quite expensive. I would consider his other suggestion of a set of Sennelier half sticks more closely. I would think they would be ideal for you. Artist quality, very soft, somewhat reasonably priced, and French!

I bought their 120 stick "Paris" set as a starter kit, and loved it. They have smaller sets as well. They are about a euro a piece

I don't know any French vendors, but here is a link to Jackson's in the UK.

https://www.jacksonsart.com/sennelier-soft-pastel-sets
Must be nice to be there (not just for the pastels!) Here those Sennelier sticks go for $6.80 individually, with lowest prices sans shipping online at about $5.

I'm enjoying my set of Sennelier half size landscapes (I do mostly landscapes), which came as 80 for about $125 USD. They have smaller half stick sets for specific purposes. Soft mostly (not every one), lush and wonderful to work with.

Loving pastel work, but hating the cost/challenges of transport, storage and framing.
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:15 AM
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Hi, Frederique!
Do be sure to compare prices at Jackson Arts. They have many to choose from and are often less expensive than buying through Amazon.

Best of luck to you in finding a good beginner set of softs for portraits!



https://www.jacksonsart.com/en-us/co...el/soft-pastel


Mike
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:52 AM
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Frederique Frederique is offline
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

Thank you Mike ! I'm not a true beginner, I'm just "out of the pastels" since about 2000... :-) but I've done a lot of paintings before. I was very young, so it was quite "childish", most of them were some copies of my favorite painters or paintings (see the pictures in my signature : the first one is Blaise Pascal, copy from Philippe de Champaigne, the second is W.A. Mozart I don't remember the painter... both originals were oils).


Mozart in bigger size (my original pastel is 24x32 cm)
Be indulgent, I was 16 when I did this one :-)




It's been 1 month since I turned to OIL pastels, and then, while trying to learn this new medium, I suddenly had the desire to reconnect with DRY ones.
The technique is absolutely different, by the way...

I'm going to try the sennelier which are available in my shop, then I'll see if I like them or not. I see that prices are interesting on Jacksonart, but one can't "try" the pastels. I don't want to buy too soft sticks because I'm afraid they won't allow me to achieve the amount of details I love, especially in portraits. I'm thinking about pastel PENCILS too... they didn't exist (or it was in a confidential way) when I began, in the late 80s. Perhaps they'll be better for portraits ?
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Last edited by Frederique : 12-16-2019 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:32 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Koh-I-Noor soft or extra-soft pastels

If I can chime in here, I have tried the Koh-i-noor pastels and didn't like them much either. Mostly because they don't work well with other pastels, they don't seem to mix or layer well. The performance is so-so, the colors tend to be dull and they don't work down into the surface well. I think it's important to know what surface you plan to use too. If you want to work sort of small, and you use textured pastel paper instead of a sanded ground, you may be better off using harder pastels and pastel pencils, and blend with torillions or stump tools. Judging from your portrait you posted, which is very nicely done and detailed, you may want to concentrate on trying the harder pastels. The softer pastels work best when you are applying with broad strokes and blending with fingers on sanded surfaces, so they tend to work great for larger work which is done more loosely. Getting those fine details with the soft sticks may be tricky. Totally depends on your taste and style though!
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