Every artist is too concerned about putting right colors in his art works, but the right tools are also of primary importance for any drawing process. Some mediums are not able to cope with the tasks that we want them to do.
All pastel fans know how it is incredibly hard to control this material, especially if you need to highlight details. In this review, you will find useful advice if you want to switch to pastel pencils. These top-rated drawing tools are thoroughly chosen and recommended by WoWPencils as tools that will facilitate your work and your search for a brand new drawing companion.
Comparison and Review of Best Pastel Pencils
Caran d’Ache: Top Pastel Pencil Set
This incredible set manufactured by Caran d’Ache includes 84 pastel pencils, an excellent selection of bright colors helps to create vivid portraits and landscapes.
The wooden box looks very sleek and can be a good gift for any art enthusiast. The box contains 3 trays, where each medium has a separate space. Individual pencil replacements are available for sale in case one color runs out.
The mediums are soft and creamy and can be used for drawing, blending, and coloring. They provide magic layers, one over another.
- The largest range of marvelous colors
- Soft application
- Perfect gift idea
- Pencils can be purchased individually
- Rather expensive
General’s MultiPastel: Great for Sketching
This multicolored set of 24 pastels manufactured by General’s is suitable for a variety of uses. It is ideal for drawing and sketching, as well as for portraits and still lifes.
The mediums are acid-free and contain no oil. They have an extra smooth application and are easy to use, so they are perfect both for beginners and professional artists. The results achieved by blending are stunning.
- Quite inexpensive for such good quality
- Come with a sharpener
- Saturated colors
- Easy application
- Pencils have erasers
- Pencil tips may break in the tin during delivery
- Not too soft
Koh-i-Noor Gioconda: Finest Texture
A set of 24 highly pigmented Gioconda pastel pencils is an example of a high quality and long-lasting art product produced by Koh-i-Noor. Color pigments are micro-pulverized and carefully mixed with calcium carbonate and other high-grade binding ingredients.
The pencils are suitable for both detailed work and for shading. They show excellent toning and blending characteristics on light and dark paper and provide a buttery smooth application. The mediums can be blended with a stump and sealed with a fixative to avoid the spread of pigments.
All pencils are encased in California cedar to ensure more accurate work and sharpening. They come already pre-sharpened in a metal tin, which prevents them from being damaged.
- Fade-resistant colors
- Perfect spectrum of intense colors
- Reasonable price for quality goods
- Pencils can be purchased individually
- Metal tin protects from breaking
- Regular sharpeners may break the tips
- Not soft, but chalky application
- May leave dust like charcoal
Faber-Castell PITT: Ideal for Professional
The Faber-Castell PITT set is a fantastic set of professional pastel pencils, which consists of 60 mediums in assorted colors. This brand has earned a serious reputation for art supplies of the best quality.
The pencils contain neither oil nor wax, but they are highly pigmented. They are easy to blend and smudge for creating marvelous color transitions. Saturated shades look great even on black paper. With such a vast color spectrum, the user’s possibilities become endless. Soft application and easy sharpening make them indispensable tools for any art enthusiast.
The pencils are issued in metal tins for good organization. An enclosed folder helps the user to identify the colors.
- Great assortment of vibrant colors
- Larger pencil diameter provides a comfortable grip
- German-proven quality
- Less dusty than other brands
- Not harmful for health and do not cause cancer
- Work on all paper types
- Nice metal tin prevents breakage
- Require careful sharpening
General’s Charcoal White: Best for Fabric
This set of pastel mediums includes 2 white pencils produced by General’s, USA. The drawing tools have a cedar wood encasing, which prevents them from smearing and keeps the user’s artwork and hands clean.
The pencils work on any substrates – both on white and black paper and fabrics. They are great for sketching and can be used to mark fabrics for quilting or patchwork. They have an eraser on the end.
As the pencil core is soft, they should be sharpened gently with a hand sharpener.
- Makes long-lasting lines both on paper and fabrics
- Very soft
- Have inserted erasers
- Erasers don’t remove marks from fabrics, a damp sponge is needed
- Too brittle and require careful sharpening
Derwent Pastel Pencils: Good for Coloring
Derwent is known for manufacturing high-grade art materials. This collection of 24 pastel pencils is more evidence of its quality products.
The powdery and soft texture of these mediums ensures a velvety finish. A well-balanced selection of vivid colors provides the smoothest application. Such intense colors show up bright even on black paper. The pencils work great for blending and mixing, creating detailed work, and making new shades.
The mediums have a 4 mm core, which provides maximum flexibility for both making crisp lines and applying generous color. The core is encased in a smooth wooden barrel for comfortable grip and for protection. The tools need to be gently sharpened – use sand paper. An attractive metal tin is a nice idea for a gift for both art amateurs and professional artists.
- 4 mm core for more coloring experiments
- Metal tin is perfect for artists on the go
- Brilliant color selection
- Smooth application
- A little dry and may scratch the paper
- Not intended for a standard sharpener
Conte a Paris: Finest for Detailed Work
This wonderful selection of 48 pastel pencils is manufactured by Conte a Paris. The mediums have an exceptional diameter – 5 mm, which gives more freedom for creating images. The lead is harder and contains less color pigment than the soft pastels. Such pencils are used for making details in medium- and small-sized formats and for blending. They don’t require successive color layers, but they should be used as pure colors.
These pencils are larger than ordinary pastel ones. A metal tin protects them from damage and makes it a good traveling kit.
- Good for detailed work
- Variety of bright colors
- Attractive tin for a gift
- Bigger pencil diameter provides a comfortable grip and more drawing opportunities
- Difficult to sharpen
- A little expensive
- Tin is flimsy
Stabilo CarbOthello: Great for Drawing
This marvelous set of 24 pastel pencils of German quality offered by Stabilo CarbOthello is an essential art supply for any student, artist, or creative person. They help to achieve a variety of artistic effects by blending and smudging (either with stumps or fingertips).
Highly pigmented colors are lightfast, but can be sealed with a fixative for more superior results. They look great on dark backgrounds and for highlighting. The pencils are widely used for depth shading and detailed work. They can also be activated with a water brush which results in a kind of watercolor drawing with visible contours.
The mediums provide an excellent performance even on delicate paper. They come in a cute case, which displays all items for easy color choice.
- Highly pigmented
- Lightfast colors
- Soft application and even color distribution
- Partially water soluble
- Reasonable price for good quality
- Pencils can be purchased individually
- Leave powdery residue
- Easily break during sharpening
- Marked as a product that contains chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects
CretacoloR Fine Art: Good for Blending
The Austrian quality of this vibrant color selection is guaranteed by CretacoloR Fine Art. The unlimited palette of 72 professional pastel pencils, highly pigmented and lightfast, ensures brilliant application. The mediums can be used by designers and artists for drafting and coloring.
The color pigments are water soluble. They can be mixed both wet and dry to enrich any creative art project. The pencils are easily sharpened and can be used for fine detailed works. They can be combined with other mediums for more unique texture. These drawing tools provide soft and smooth lines but should be sharpened with sand paper for delicate strokes.
- Economical cost in comparison with a variety of other colors
- Assorted vibrant colors
- Easy to use
- Soft application
- Water soluble
- Sand paper is included
- Cannot be sharpened with a regular sharpener
Bruynzeel Design Pastel: Great for Artist
Bruynzeel is a brand of a Dutch-based company called Royal Talens. Their Design Pastel set consists of 48 pastel pencils. The collection catches your eye at first sight. It comes in a lovely box with 4 pull-out drawers similar to those that we see in jewelry stores. Each drawer accommodates 12 pencils, and each writing tool is protected by a separate molded foam slot. The box is very sturdy and looks as if it is made of wood. The whole construction looks very nice, but it is not just an aesthetically-pleasing solution. It assists in quick color identification and protects the pencils from damage.
All mediums are encased in wood and have a creamy colored circle around the pencil, as each type of Bruynzeel pencil has its own color marks. The core is 3.7 mm. It is an ideal diameter, which helps to keep control over color application. These tools are great both for detailed work and for longer strokes, like skylines. They ensure good covering and laydown and can be used to produce watercolor effects.
- Good quality
- Rich color spectrum
- Fantastic box with comfortable organization of tools
- Perfect gift set
- Can be used wet or dry
- Leave no crumbles
- Pencils can be purchased individually
- Firm application
Guide for Pastel Pencils
Before you decide which set of pastel pencils to buy, there are a few things to consider. WoWPencils has identified several major criteria which determine the best pastel mediums. If buyers understand each of these points, they can easily orient themselves in any art store.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you decide to substitute ordinary colored pencils for pastel ones, you probably have some questions concerning these new drawing tools. Here are answers to typical questions from many curious newbies.
What Is Pastel Pencil ✏️?
So, what is a pastel pencil? All pastel media can be categorized into 5 main types:
- pan pastel;
They all have a pigment, but they differ in the binder, which binds all the ingredients together. Pastel pencils are bound with a resin or gum binder.
If you have to create a detailed artwork with pastel, a pastel pencil is perfect for that. It is actually a thin stick of pastel encased in wood with a consistency between that of a soft or a hard pastel. It looks like a traditional pencil and can be sharpened to draw precise images with a point and to make large strokes.
What Are Pastel Pencils Used for?
A pastel pencil is the best medium for those who adore working with pastels, but need more control over their work. There is a certain degree of difficulty in mastering working with soft and hard pastels, but while encased in a pencil form, they are easier to use from the start. You can regulate a pastel painting 🎨, which is a challenge even for professional artists.
Such mediums can be used on their own or in combination with other types of pastel. Colors can be blended and layered just like regular pastels. They can be applied wet or dry, and their uses are versatile. They also suit outdoor work. Pastel pencils are negatively viewed by artists who enjoy the dirty intimacy of using pastels with their bare hands.
What Is Difference Between Pastel Pencils and Common Colored Pencils?
There is a great difference between the two. Pastel pencils smudge and handle like pastels, but they are powdery and less messy. They can mix with other colors to get the required shade. They are perfect at blending and at applying numerous layers. These mediums can be used along with regular colored ones.
Colored pencils are oily or waxy. They don’t easily smudge. They can be used only for a couple of layers, because oil/wax fills up the paper 📜 tooth.
Are Pastel Pencils Toxic ☠️?
As a dry medium, pastels produce a lot of dust during the working process, which can be inhaled in the lungs and cause respiratory irritation. The popular orange, red, and yellow colors contain cadmium pigments, which may lead to poisoning. Many modern pastels are developed with substitutions for chromium, cadmium, and other toxic components. Artists may also wear face masks (which is quite uncomfortable) or work outside.
The dust from pastel pencil stays mainly on the paper and can be blown off and not breathed in. Even for most people with asthma, using this medium is no problem at all.
How Long Do Pastel Pencils Last?
This is a difficult question and depends on each artist. A regular set includes 24 colors 🌈, but half of them are used more regularly. Black and white colors are the most frequently employed mediums.
Pastel pencils of good quality sharpen well and have strong lead. Such drawing instruments last longer. Besides that, most brands sell individual pencils to replace used items in the set.
Amusing Facts About Pastel Pencils
Here are some interesting facts about your favorite medium. You may test your knowledge and share with your friends.
- The name “pastel” comes from a Latin word which means “paste.” Color pigments were ground into a paste and mixed with gum and water binders to create pastels.
- The word “pastel” first appeared in France in 1662.
- The original color pigments are dark. The manufacturers just add different quantities of chalk to achieve other (lighter) color gradations, up to white.
- The word “pastel” is widely used in fashion and cosmetic venues meaning “pale color.”
- Pastel needs a “tooth” to adhere and hold color pigments in place. Its supports include laid paper, abrasive surface (marble dust, ground pumice, etc.), or velour paper (synthetic fibers).
- Pastel mediums were mentioned even by Leonardo da Vinci.
- There are more than 15 drawing techniques specially used for pastel pencils.
Can you imagine that you use a medium which has also been used by artists since the Renaissance?
With the help of this tutorial describing the best pastel pencils on the contemporary market, you will know how to spot a quality one. So many great brands deliver excellent results, but finding that unique set which meets all your needs is a hard job.
However, it doesn’t matter much how much you spend on these pastel mediums, the hard fact remains – only persistence and practice can change one’s ability as an artist. Make art and have fun!