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  • Writer's pictureAndre Rios Art

Pastel Supplies - Starter kit

If you're first starting out with pastels it can be challenging to choose what materials to buy so in this article I want to break it down for you and make some suggestions.

There are basically 3 categories of pastels:

  • Pastel pencils

  • Pastel sticks

  • PanPastel

Pastel pencils

Pastel pencils allow artists to achieve intricate details and realistic textures in their drawings. The fine point of a pastel pencil enables controlled strokes, making it an ideal choice for intricate work, such as portraiture or detailed still-life artworks. Unlike the traditional pastel sticks, these pencils eliminate the mess associated with crumbling sticks, providing a cleaner and more manageable drawing experience. The ability to layer, blend, and create fine lines makes pastel pencils the preferred choice for artists seeking precision and realism in their artwork.

Pastel sticks

Pastel sticks are a dynamic and expressive medium cherished for their vibrant colors and versatility. Composed of pure pigment with minimal binder, pastel sticks allow artists to lay down rich, intense colors. Their soft and easily blendable nature makes them perfect for creating underlayers in artworks, establishing a quick foundation for subsequent layers of detail. Pastel sticks excel in expressive mark-making, enabling artists to convey a sense of movement, energy, and emotion in their pieces. The tactile experience of working with pastel sticks, combined with their ability to cover large areas quickly, makes them the preferred choice for artists looking to infuse their creations with bold strokes and a lively, spontaneous feel or simply create quick backgrounds or an underlayer for their paintings.


PanPastels are a unique form of pastel medium that come in pans, resembling small containers of makeup. These highly pigmented, ultra-soft pastels provide a different approach to creating backgrounds and underlayers compared to traditional pastel sticks. The pan format allows for precise application and control, making them ideal for building up layers of color and creating smooth, seamless backgrounds. PanPastels also excel in blending and can be easily applied with specialized tools like sponges, enabling artists to achieve a nuanced transition of colors for underlayers. Their versatility makes them a compelling choice for artists seeking a more controlled and nuanced approach to background creation and under layering in their artworks.


Now, this should be enough to get you a bit lost when looking to buy your first pastel supplies, not to mention pastel brand choices, pastel papers, sharpeners and extra tools.

If you're interested in creating realistic and detailed artworks I would suggest you to start with the following essential materials:

  1. A full set of pastel pencils (choose your brand)

  2. A block of Pastelmat paper - Link

  3. A pastel pencil sharpener - Link

  4. Masking tape - Link

(I linked the materials to Amazon but you can probably find all that you need at your local art supplies store as well)

The main brands that I recommend are:

  • Stabilo (great hardness balance and good range of colors) - 60 colors

  • Faber Castell (harder than Stabilo and within the same price range) - 60 colors

  • Caran d'ache (softer than Stabilo, has the best range of colors but is the most expensive brand) - 76 colors

Pastels can be an expensive endeavor but with this starting set of materials you can easily create anything that you want and later on start adding more materials to your collection.

Pastel painting is a beautiful journey full of adventures in the realm of dust and I guarantee you that you will never regret having started it.


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