Pastel is one of the art media that has been in


Unlike oil paints and any other art media, pastel has been known to have more longevity or permanency when used on the right ground and when framed appropriately. This is due to the fact that pastel, being a dry pigment, does not have any liquid binder that could affect its appearance over time as with other media that oxidized as years pass. Many artists that use pastels attribute their preference to the fact that pastel, as a medium is like prism that reflects light, giving their finish projects unique vibrancy.

In addition to that, artists also prefer working with pastel because it promote quick processing and spontaneity because you don't have to wait for drying time neither do you get any surprises with your finished project because the colour shade you start with is the same you end-up with as opposed to other wet media that dry into a different shade of the colour you started with. The powder form of pastel means that, to use it effectively as an art medium, it had to be combined with a form of 'binder' like Gum Arabic, Gum Tragacanth or Methyl Cellulose. The mixture or volume of any of these binders determined the different type of pastel produced, as classified below.

Soft Pastels have less concentration of binder but more pigmentation that give this type of pastels the brighter shades of colours. This makes soft pastel more popular than other types of pastels because the artwork can be easily blended for more creative effects. However, the softness means, there is dustier after effect and a fixative will also be required to prevent the artwork from smudging.

Hard Pastels, as the name implied, means there is more concentration of binder which makes the pastels easier to handle for precise drawings but the colour shades are not as brilliant as the soft pastels.

Oil Pastels, unlike the other pastels, have been mixed with an oily and water-soluble component that makes mixable. This makes oil pastels like watercolour or oil paints but with the similar brilliance in colour shades like soft pastels, except you would not need to use fixative for the finished artwork.

Pastel Pencils are simply pencils with pastel lead in them. It's more like having all the above qualities of pastels with the control and precision needed to create more detailed artworks. Pastel Pencils can also be used to go over any other type of pastels for a sharper and more flexible finishing. Pastel pencils have become so versatile that artists of any age can use it because of its ease of use in comparison to other media.

The challenge of using Pastel Pencils is the task of adhering to the strict preservation techniques. Firstly, you must ensure that the pastel pencils are made of lightfast pigments to avoid the finished project losing its colour vibrancy. Ensure the work is done on an acid-free support that can withstand environment challenges. Since the Pastel Pencils are powdery or dry colour pigments, it is very important for the finished artwork to be sprayed with fixative to protect the work. Not necessarily from smudging but it stabilizes the powdery particles on the artwork. The finished artwork must then be preserved properly by mounting and framing it appropriately under glass that won't touch the artwork.

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