What Are Pastel?
Pastels are powdered colours mixed with water and chalk or oil and chalk, and made into sticks. Some manufacturers put in a binder to stop the pastels crumbling; the softer the pastel, the less binding is used. Water-based pastels are more often used than oil pastels.
What Materials Are Needed?
A Selection of Pastels Pastels are sold in boxes, with a compartment for each pastel, and to stop the sticks rattling about they are protected by a layer of cotton wool or tissue. There are at least 200 distinct tints, and boxes usually contain 12, 24, 36, 72 or 144 pastels, plus specialized selections for landscape and portrait work. Pastels are also sold singly and where expensive ingredients are used, prices of some individual sticks are higher than others.
There are hard pastels and soft pastels; the soft pastels are usually cylindrical .icon section, the hard ones square or encased in wood (the extremely useful pastel pencils which can double as coloured pencils). Hard pastels, the most famous of which is Conte crayon, are chalk based. Because of their hardness they are mostly used for preliminary work and detail, and are often used at an early stage in the picture as it is sometimes difficult to apply hard on top of soft pastel if used loosely, though not if rubbed in with the finger tip. Soft pastel, far more frequently used, goes well on hard pastel.