Soft pastels are made with the finest available pigments and binder to give a smooth and consistent creative experience when applying the pastels. They are rolled into a stick form, normally round but sometimes square. The more expensive and softest brands of soft pastel are made up of mostly pigment and a tiny bit of binder, whereas, the cheaper, and harder soft-pastels contain more binder. 

Due to the bendable nature of soft pastels, it makes them a versatile tool allowing you to explore a number of different techniques and even invent your own.

Soft Pastel Techniques

Layering 

You can create a unique effect by building up layers of soft pastel, by adding colours on top of each other to create a stunning blend. If you want to create more depth and interest, try adding darker and lighter areas to your work.

Blending 

Another unique feature of soft pastel is that you can blend the colours. You can either use your finger, or a piece of cloth to do this. Blending can help soften a colour, or make it look flat, or can be used to mix different colours together. It is important to realise that too much blending can lead to your finish product losing its texture and character. 

Dragging 

You can do this by experimenting with dragging different edges of the pastel over the paper/surface. Use the pastel, like a pencil for creating lines. Then lean heavily for thicker, darker lines and lean gently for narrower, lighter lines. 

Tips/things to consider when using Soft Pastels

  • It is extremely important to consider the surface you will use. The surface of your paper will have a massive effect on your final result. 
  • Layer upon layer upon layer. You can either cover layers completely to build depth or just allow areas of the colour underneath to show through. 
  • Mix colours. This can either be done by layering colours on top of each other or by blending them together. 
  • Use pastel pencils for detailed drawings, as they allow you to achieve the highest level of detail possible. 
  • Fixative is a good option (but it is optional). This can be used to hold the pastel in place and protect the work. Fixative can also alter the tones of the colours, mostly making the values a bit darker. 
'ARTISTS' Soft Pastels Sets

These high quality artists’ soft pastels which are made from the finest binder and pigments making them great to use. The tints are lightfast and wonderfully intense. There are 3 different size sets with assortments of the most popular tints as well as the assorted grey and assorted sepia sets.

KOH-I-NOOR Toison D’Or Soft Pastels

These high quality artists’ soft pastels are made with the finest available pigments and binder to give a smooth and consistent creative experience when applying the pastels. There is a large number of tints available which are lightfast and wonderfully intense. Each pastel is 75mm long and 10mm in diameter. They are easy to blend with minimal tendency to crumble and dust.

Tag us on social media at #loxleyarts to share your masterpieces.