Many people enjoy making art with pastels since they produce the right colors, and you can dive correctly without requiring paintbrushes, solvents, or a palette. All you need are some pastel sticks, a sheet of paper, and your fingers. There are no platforms that allow you to use rich color to support as faster as you can as pastels. Pastels are created by combining different dry pigments, some chalks, and a binder to develop a thick paste. The paste is therefore fashioned into sticks and given time to dry up. Since pastel is made using almost pure pigment, they offer intense colors that many media cannot give out.
Pastel drawing describes works that the whole surface that is not covered with pastel. Using pastels is not as easy as other mediums that you might be familiarized with. Pastels are very simple and versatile. They are found in different types, each having different characteristics. Before purchasing any pastel, you always need to have in mind the various features they possess. There are five main types of pastel with other criteria and effects. These types include:
- Hard pastel.
They are designed from the same ingredients as soft pastels; the only difference is that they have more binder and less pigment. They are stable, and hard pastels are much suitable for drawing techniques and working on location. They are designed in a cylindrical manner that can be sharpened with a knife to develop fine lines.
- Soft pastel.
Soft pastel is the traditional form of pastel used by many people. They contain a high concentration of pigment combined with the least quantity of gum binder possible. Because of this, they crumble very quickly, but their colors are wonderfully intense. They are very suitable for blending, layering on lots of colors, and painterly effects because of the fragile consistency and powdery texture.
- Oil pastel.
They have waxy consistency like crayons that differentiate them from soft pastels. They can be spread like oil paint to come up with strong buttery strokes. It is straightforward to use oil pastel; you need to apply pigment to a sheet of paper using your bare hands
- Pan Pastels.
These are forms of soft pastels that are designed into pans or jars instead of sticks. This format gives room for much less binder and the highest pigment concentration of any pastel product. Its packaging protects the pigment, minimizes waste, and provides easy storage and transport.
- Pastel pencils.
This is the best when you want to create controlled, detailed works of art with pastel. They very convenient since they are not messy like soft pastels. You can make fast, spontaneous drawings with less preparation or clean up and still enjoy the pleasing qualities of pastel.
Characteristics of pastels.
A pastel has pure powdered pigment and binder in a stick which are used in all art platforms. Pastel is a sort of a cross between a stick of chalk and a crayon in appearance. They are held in the same manner pencils, crayons, and chalk are usually held. Whether hard or soft, the texture of pastel is determined by the stick’s quantity of binder. Soft pastels have fewer binders and more pigment. They are usually rounded in shape, while the hard pastels are generally rectangular and have more binder to maintain the stick together.
Each one of them has different qualities and creates different effects. For instance, soft pastels are simple to smudge and blend; on the other hand, hard pastels are best for making tight, specific details. Pastel pencils are enclosed in wood, giving room for little mess and additional control over more information. They can be mixed easily with regular hard or soft pastels. Oil pastel is perfect in making painterly effects, but their wax binders symbolize that they cannot be combined with other kinds of pastels.
The stick is taken across a rough or toothy surface to design a pastel drawing. The body must have some abrasion level to allow the pastel particles to rest on the paper. Smooth surfaces are very soft to accept pastel. Pastels can be easily blended using fingers, a blending stump, or a cloth. On the other hand, in the painting process, the colors are combined directly on the paper and not the palette. This makes blending very crucial. When proper handling is involved, pastels are permanent and can last for a more extended period, just like other mediums. Pastels don’t always change their color or even crack, and when they are keenly framed and hanged correctly, the particles will remain fixed for many years.
Soft and oil pastels possess a buttery or waxy texture that is perfectly suited to painterly effects. When you close the whole surface area of the support with pastels, it is known as pastel painting. Hard pastels are suitable for drawing, sketching, and correct detail work. When some areas of support are seen, it is known as a pastel drawing. This versatility implies that you can make use of pastels for various types of subjects and genres.
There are several reasons to work with pastels since they are gratifying in various ways. You can get a perfect luscious and velvety texture. The deep attractive colors are easy to blend, and if they are used well, they can result in splendid luminosity. Pastel is also advantageous so that you do not require many tools to work with pastel compared to paints. On the contrary, pastel also has various advantages related to the fact that its particles are never fixed or set in place.
Nevertheless, pastel can also have various disadvantages. Most of the time, when using it, you inhale the pastel dust, which is very unhealthy. When you rub the pastel, dust particles will go into the air, which makes the need for proper ventilation essential when using pastels. You can even put on a face mask or use the air purifier. When these pastel particles are inhaled, they can result in severe health issues. Since pastels are not fixed permanently on the paper surface, they must be handled with a lot of care. Pastel art can be easily smudged accidentally.
Additionally, pastel can turn out to be so messy sometimes on your fingers, hand, clothes, and even the working surface. Pastel art cannot be fixed well with a fixative spray, which can be very dangerous and toxic when used in an area with poor ventilation. To ensure they last longer, pastels should always be framed well under glass.
In summary, before purchasing a pastel, always ensure you know all its characteristics like composition, color, quality, and even the type. Learn the types of surfaces that can accept pastels and why other bodies are not good enough. You should always find out the extra supplies you can use with pastels like fixatives, blenders, sharpener, and many others before purchasing a pastel. Ensure you know the powerful pastel techniques for making different effects in the fun pastel portrait tutorial. When you decide whether or not to use pastel, always ensure you know both its advantages and disadvantages before making a step. Expecting a beautiful result at the end needs you to be aware and care about both safe design and safely store a pastel work of art.