Soft pastels: With higher pigment content and less binder their colors tend to be more vibrant. They are easy to smudge and blend with a variety of tools. Soft pastels require protecting and the use of spraying with a fixative will prevent them smudging.
Medium pastels: These sticks balance the ratio of pigment and binder. This allows for more precise, detailed strokes than soft pastels. However they are still soft enough to be vibrant and blended. They are great to use for underpainting.
Hard pastels: These have a higher portion of binder and less pigment. This makes them harder, creating a sharp edged drawing material that is useful for fine detail work. The pastels are perfect for creating preliminary sketches for compositions. They are also perfect for adding accents and drawing outlines.
Pan pastels: Are pigment with a minimum amount of a unique binder added. They are packaged in flat compacts and applied to the canvas using micropore sponge tools. They can be blended easily prior to or during application to create additional hues. Their unique qualities make them ideal for exploring new creative techniques for painting, drawing and mixed media.
COMPARING PASTEL LINES
We are often asked to compare the different lines of pastels to help customers decide which pastels they should purchase. Factors such as color range, physical characteristics (hard/soft, square/round, big/small) and economics all enter into which is the right pastel for you. The one area in which we can give a ‘general’ classification is softness. Keep in mind, that this is a general classification - some pastels vary within the line and many of these are so close it’s difficult to rate one softer than the other.
Substitutions are made at manufacturer's discretion based on availability. Your set contents may vary.