How to Choose the Right Pastels for You

Your Guide to buying the best Pastels


The Pastel buying guide is designed to provide helpful advice to those looking to purchase pastels. This guide will explain the various types of pastels available, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, so that you can make an informed purchasing decision. It will also provide tips for successfully using and storing pastels to ensure that they remain in good condition for a longer life. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, this guide will help you find the perfect pastels for your needs.

Key features

  1. Color Variety: Consider the variety and range of colors offered from the manufacturer. Do they have a wide selection of hues and shades to choose from?
  2. Texture: Pastels come in a variety of textures, from creamy to crumbly. Consider which texture you prefer and choose the right pastels accordingly.
  3. Form: Pastels come in different forms, from sticks to blocks. Choose the form that best suits your needs.
  4. Solubility: If you plan to work on a variety of surfaces, be sure to check the solubility of the pastels you are looking to buy as some are better-suited for certain surfaces.
  5. Lightfastness: Consider the lightfastness of the pastels you are interested in to be sure your artwork will remain vibrant in sunlight or other light.
  6. Cost: Consider the cost of the pastels you are looking to buy, as some are more expensive than others.

See the most popular Pastels on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Versatile –Pastels can be used to create a variety of different art styles from highly detailed portraits to loose and expressive landscapes.
  • Easy to Use –Pastels are easy to use and require minimal setup. All that’s needed is the paper, the pastels, and a few tools such as a kneaded eraser and a blending stump.
  • Colors –Pastels come in a variety of hues and shades that can be blended together to create gorgeous color combinations.
  • Smooth Finish –Pastels can produce a smooth and velvety finish that has a beautiful soft look.
  • Non-Toxic –Most pastels are non-toxic and water soluble, making them safe to use.
  • Cost-Effective –Pastels are relatively inexpensive and are a great way to get started with a new art medium.


  • Permanently Staining - Pastels can be difficult to remove from skin, clothing, and some surfaces and may permanently stain.
  • Difficult to Blend - Blending pastels together is difficult and requires slow and careful blending with a dry brush.
  • Tendency to Smudge - Pastels are prone to smudging if not handled carefully, making it difficult to maintain clean, crisp lines while working with them.
  • Price - Pastels can be expensive, depending on the quality and brand.
  • Lightfastness - Many pastels are not lightfast, meaning their colors can fade over time when exposed to UV light.

Best alternatives

    Charcoal - A dark, burned material made from wood, used in sketching and painting. Oil Pastel - Chalk-like colors made of wax, oil, and pigment, used to create a smooth, glossy finish. Chalk Pastel - A hard, chalky material made with a clay base, used for drawing and sketching. Gouache - A type of watercolor paint that uses a thick, opaque mixture of water and pigment. Watercolor - A type of paint that uses water-soluble pigments, allowing for a wide range of effects. Colored Pencils - Pencils with a range of colors that are perfect for creating soft, delicate shading.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Pastels - Soft, oil-free art media made of ground pigments, usually mixed with gum arabic.*
  • Paper Pads - Pads of paper designed specifically for pastel artwork, usually made of heavy paper that won’t buckle when wet, and have a slightly rough texture to help hold the pastel pigment.*
  • Pastel Boxes - Wooden boxes, often with multiple tiers, for holding and organizing pastels.*
  • Pastel Crayons - Sticks of pastel pigment, often in several different shapes, which can be sharpened to a point for fine detail work.*
  • Blending Stumps - Small, pointed tools for blending and smudging pastel pigment.*
  • Eraser Stumps - Small contoured erasers used to lighten or remove pastel pigment from the paper.*
  • Fixative Spray - A spray used to seal and protect pastel artwork, preserving it for long-term display.*

Common questions

  1. What type of surface can Pastels be used on? Pastels can be used on a range of surfaces, including paper, canvas, wood, metal, and even glass.
  2. Are there different types of Pastels? Yes, there are different types of pastels, such as oil, hard, and soft pastels.
  3. How do I know which type of pastel to choose? The type of pastel you choose depends on the effect you are trying to achieve. For example, soft pastels create a softer, more diffused effect, while hard pastels create a more vivid and intense result.
  4. What other supplies do I need to use pastels? In addition to the pastels, you will need a surface to draw on, some paper towels, and some type of fixative to help preserve your work.
  5. Are there any tips for using Pastels? Yes, practice layering different colors and values to create depth and impact. Also, make sure to use paper towels to blend the pastels together to create a smooth effect.


A funny fact about pastels is that the word “pastels” actually comes from the Latin word “pastillus,” which means “little bread.” This is because chalk used to be made from a mixture of ground up bread, water, and pigment. This is why traditional pastels are still made in a similar way today! Source

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.