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Old 11-11-2014, 07:02 AM
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jakertanner jakertanner is offline
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The price point of some pastels

Hello,

As I am getting ready to spend about $50 or so on a set of pastels, comparing prices from various sites, as I am sure most of you do, I was a little taken by the price point of Art Spectrum pastels compared to other "higher quality" pastels.

I noticed that AS pastels, are MORE costly for the same amount of sticks in a set than TLs, MVs. and a few others. I like AS, but are they worth more than TLs?

Any thoughts on this? Corrections? Justifications? Only thing I can think of is that maybe in the U.S. AS are considered imports and carry a higher price tag?
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Old 11-11-2014, 10:37 AM
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Equus Art Equus Art is offline
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Re: The price point of some pastels

You didn't say how many sticks were in a set or how much per stick that averaged out to be. Or which of the AS pastels you were interested in.

It seems to me that deciding how "worth it" a pastel can be compared to other brands would depend on how much an individual liked that particular brand. I have my own particular brands that I find work well for me. Are they worth more than any other brand? Hard to justify that when you really love the feel and workability of the brand you bond with.

I am in love with Giraults and the lowest price I have been able to find them is $4.39 per stick. They are imported as well. They are more than TL per stick but to me YES, very worth it as they have made a difference in my painting.

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Old 11-11-2014, 11:38 AM
Barbara WC Barbara WC is offline
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Re: The price point of some pastels

I agree with Cat, only you can decide if the cost of AS is worth it to you. AS sticks are quite densely packed with pigment and nice sized sticks, giving you a lot of pastel per stick. Girault is probably one third to one half the size, but like Cat said, to me they are worth the cost, others don't find value in Girault, but some of the colors have become staples in my portrait work.

If you are looking for good value, I might suggest the Dick Blick brand of artists soft pastel. I am pretty sure the sticks are made by Daler-Rowney for Blick. They only limitation in that line of pastels is they don't have any good darks, but overall, the color range, texture and pigment load is good...
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Last edited by Barbara WC : 11-11-2014 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:20 PM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equus Art
You didn't say how many sticks were in a set or how much per stick that averaged out to be. Or which of the AS pastels you were interested in.

It seems to me that deciding how "worth it" a pastel can be compared to other brands would depend on how much an individual liked that particular brand. I have my own particular brands that I find work well for me. Are they worth more than any other brand? Hard to justify that when you really love the feel and workability of the brand you bond with.

I am in love with Giraults and the lowest price I have been able to find them is $4.39 per stick. They are imported as well. They are more than TL per stick but to me YES, very worth it as they have made a difference in my painting.

Cat

I didn't mention a set count because ALL sets no matter how many are more across the board. Overall, they cost more.
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:26 PM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara WC
I agree with Cat, only you can decide if the cost of AS is worth it to you. AS sticks are quite densely packed with pigment and nice sized sticks, giving you a lot of pastel per stick. Girault is probably one third to one half the size, but like Cat said, to me they are worth the cost, others don't find value in Girault, but some of the colors have become staples in my portrait work.

If you are looking for good value, I might suggest the Dick Blick brand of artists soft pastel. I am pretty sure the sticks are made by Daler-Rowney for Blick. They only limitation in that line of pastels is they don't have any good darks, but overall, the color range, texture and pigment load is good...

Actually Barbara, it was a generalization. AS is more money than Terry Ludwig's which are considered higher end. The one stick of AS I do have, is great, but I am not experienced enough with them that I can say they are worth it, but perhaps they are. To me, they are about the same as Rembrandts, but if I had to choose between Rembrandt and TLs, I would buy TL.
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:46 PM
Barbara WC Barbara WC is offline
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Re: The price point of some pastels

One thing to be aware of TL's: since they are handmade, the size does vary, more than they used to. AS stick sizes are more consistent. Some of the TL sticks are half the size (I have weighed them) of other sticks, so expect some small sticks if you order a set. This is not a problem, over a set, the sticks "even out" so you get an average- some are larger, some are smaller. It is a disappointment though in my last order that on of my favorite colors (a replacement stick of a color that I use often) in my order was the smallest- it weighed at tiny 0.25 grams, versus the largest stick, 0.65 grams...
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:50 PM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

I lucked and got a set of 60 Art Spectrum Pure Tones at the point they added more colors and needed to replace the Pure Tones set - it was all their pigments with some added extra lights and darks to fill out the set. It was on a deep discount sale and so I got to try them in a nice range. I do love them. Great texture, very heavy in the hand, medium soft, very pigment rich. I think they'd be worth it but that's me.

Rembrandt are comparable in texture though and handle well. I'd try a sample and decide for yourself. One thing Art Spectrum offers is the six pack sets with which you can build up a nice 72 color range. Their near-whites are softer than their regular ones and very useful, but for a six pack to add into a general collection the darks would be a good one. With a $50 budget there are other pastels you could try, with the sets advantage, and get more sticks for your money.

I found that with more expensive brands, it turned out to be worth it for their unique texture and sometimes unique colors. If you choose some open stock, AS has some Australian pigments unlike those from other continents with place names in the color name. Those might be useful. There's also one specific Art Spectrum half sticks set that's quite useful as itself - the 20 color Colourfix set. I think all those colors are included in the 40 color half stick set too. The advantage there is that if you're using Colourfix paper, you have exact match to the sanded paper color and could use the paper as background, dash in "Sky holes" matching paper color right in the middle of an already worked area.

So if it's an adjunct set, I'd suggest 20 Colourfix half sticks. If you don't get any more of them than that, it gives a specific effect on a reasonably priced sanded paper and the Colourfix primer comes in the same exact colors. I collected them a few at a time and used to have the full set of 20 Colourfix primers so I'd always have a supply of all the colors of sanded paper even if money was tight - because I also had a lot of watercolor paper pads around to use it on that I got on sale.

Since those colors are among their other colors, there would be overlap with other sets but they're a specialty set usable as itself whenever using Colourfix paper. Other than that, you could get a couple of six-packs or 15 full sticks. I just checked the Blick prices within your range. Darkest Darks or Lightest Lights or anything that fills a gap would work with the six packs. It's not a full range but it'd be a useful specific range whether you went on to get more Art Spectrums or not.

I like them enough that someday their full range set is on my wish list. It's just not that high on my wish list because I do have the big set of medium soft ones already.
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:20 PM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara WC
One thing to be aware of TL's: since they are handmade, the size does vary, more than they used to. AS stick sizes are more consistent. Some of the TL sticks are half the size (I have weighed them) of other sticks, so expect some small sticks if you order a set. This is not a problem, over a set, the sticks "even out" so you get an average- some are larger, some are smaller. It is a disappointment though in my last order that on of my favorite colors (a replacement stick of a color that I use often) in my order was the smallest- it weighed at tiny 0.25 grams, versus the largest stick, 0.65 grams...

Barbara, perhaps you could ask them about that because they have this on their website:
Additional Information

Weight .0625 lbs Dimensions 1.5 x .5 x .5 in

I mean, I don't know how to convert lbs to grams but they do have set some standard.
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Last edited by Nick7 : 11-11-2014 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 11-11-2014, 05:21 PM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

One angle not being addressed . Some companies have a higher pigment load compared to others . Using A white Nupastel or a Art Spectrum ,Dick Blick, or a Schminckie one end it blends in like not even there to the other end where it would dominate the mix due to such high pigment load. A single stick at $6 with high pigment load is better than 2 times size or 2 times as many of the other even at half the cost. I havent tried TL I cant chime in . I like AS, MV and Dick Blick soft pastels To me they seem kinda on par with each other in quality.
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Old 11-11-2014, 06:23 PM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

I have nothing against AS as a brand, but as a whole, i was curious how they can be more money than TLs or MVs, because I don't hear many pele say they use AS a whole lot. Certainly they don't come up in conversation as often as say Rembrandts do, which are similar. So my guess is perhaps because they are imported? Giraults are more money as are Unisons. TL and MV are within the U.S. but I do know that Girault and Unison are worth the price...pigment rich. Are AS equally pigment rich?
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Old 11-11-2014, 06:29 PM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

I also feel that weight doesn't really mean much in terms of how much pigment they release. The weight doesn't always add up to the size. But I see that if within a brand, there are such big weight differences, then standards are not being met. Even Unison pastels have a big size difference between sticks..I understand handmade, but the starting weight before they are rolled isn't eye-balled...its weighed out, then rolled. Not sure how they get such a vast size difference.
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Old 11-11-2014, 07:20 PM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

I believe the biggest reason is the cost of production within any company in any given country plus the cost of distribution. The other reason is that the US dollar isn't worth as much as it used to, thus the purchasing power is less causing the prices of the products from other countries to increase at a faster rate than the US made counterparts.
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Old 11-12-2014, 07:53 AM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

Pigments vary greatly in density. One pound of Titanium White is a much smaller volume than a pound of Raw Umber. So pastels of equal size may not be any where near equal weight depending on the pigment used for the color.
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Old 11-12-2014, 08:37 AM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

Is there anyone out there that uses AS pastels as their main pastel? If so, would you be so kind to post a picture? Very much appreciated. I am still on the fence if I am to invest into a new brand as add-ons, or try and build pastels sets that I already have.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:21 AM
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Re: The price point of some pastels

Ok, so upon doing further research for best prices for AS, it seems Blick has the lowest and on sets they are average of $10 cheaper...so if on a budget, Blick is best choice. The funny thing when I went to one pastel site, they had the product code for AS as: ASS...thought it was an over site, but a bit comical.

I may just get a few, based on the one Caput Mortum color..its quite nice.
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