Hi all... My SoHo Urban Artist pastels arrived today
Here is a photo of the 120 set. Sorry about the quality; I had to use my iPod camera as my actual camera has decided to see what the afterlife is like... (if I can persuade my old man to let me borrow his camera, I can maybe post a better photo later)
I'll try to post more about them later (have to go run some errands) but after having a quick play with them, I am very happy with these pastels, and glad I got the full set. There are maybe a couple of near duplicates but not many; and since these pastels are slightly smaller than standard half sticks, you'll probably burn through the duplicates fast enough anyway (as far as I know, you can't buy these pastels open stock). The half sticks all have little paper labels, which is unusual for half sticks, but there's no pigment information or colour name on the label; all it says is "SoHo Soft Pastel", "Non-toxic" and something about conforming to ASTM standards.
I got out my Rembrandts and did a few fast test scribbles on a piece of cheap watercolour paper. First impressions are that pigment load in the SoHos is excellent, comparable with the Rembrandts; there may be a slight difference in some colours but if so it is negligible. The SoHo pastels also feel slightly softer and creamier than the Rembrandts; not substantially so (I doubt they'd come anywhere near Senneliers or Schminckes etc), but enough to be noticeable.
Also, you know that hard plasticky coating a lot of Rembrandt pastels have when you first get them? Before I could use my Rembrandt pastels, I had to sand at least two thirds of them to remove that hard coating. Well, so far I have only encountered one SoHo pastel (out of about 13 or so that I scribbled with) with that problem, and it didn't affect the whole pastel, just the end.
I'm really looking forward to playing with these