- CarbOthello Pastel Pencils I love to use these for details like grasses, tree trunks, branches, and to sign my work! Always be careful handling pastel pencils. If you accidentally drop one, the inside core shatters and it makes them difficult to sharpen.
- Unison – I love my Unison pastels. They are made in the U.K. in a cozy and quaint town full of charm and beauty – check out their website if you haven’t…it’s inspiring to click around and read their story and see their location. I love the european way of spelling colour; it brings out the anglophile in me! (Maybe someday I’ll get to visit their beautiful workshop…hint, hint to the hubby…) They have recently rebranded and are launching their new look in the US as we speak! Their pastels are a lovely size, have a beautiful range, are easy to catalog thanks to the nice wrapper. These are definitely a work-horse pastel for me….every painting I create uses Unison!
- Great American – These are super soft, buttery pastels. They are a nice size for halving, plus they have the cutest/best names for their colors (or rather, colours, haha). (I’m partial to Perry Winkle and Cindy Winkle). I had the privilege of sharing a dinner table with the owners in 2016 at the National Arts Club. They are genuinely wonderful people with a talent and passion for fine pastel making.
- Sennelier – These are the first pastels I ever purchased and have been produced in Paris since 1904. They are buttery and rich and gorgeous. I still remember buying them and not wanting to touch them they were so pretty. I still have a few bits of that set in the wooden box they came in… I recommend the half-sticks sets but they also come in full sticks.
- Schminke – This German brand is consistently amazing. They are rated to be some of the softest pastels out there with a very intense pigment load. I will use these towards the end of a painting only as they are so soft they can fill the tooth of the paper easily in the first layers.
- Girault – I count myself lucky when I get a chance to use these beauties! Girault pastel have been produced in France since 1780! I love their consistency. This is a good set. Giraults are uniquely soft, medium, and hard all at the same time and with tones and colors so rich the paintings practically paint themselves. I particularly love them for making grasses and scratchier marks…crosshatching, etc. I also like their smaller size for Plein Air work and carrying in the field. They aren’t as heavy as others and are uniquely suited to portability. I love these and these…Anyone wanna buy me a full set?
- Terry Ludwig – Last but definitely not least are these workhorse pastels that I adore! Beautiful Terry Ludwigs! Based in Colorado, Terry is an accomplished artist who began making pastels in the mid-90s and has soared to the top of every pastelists list. They are simply wonderful! The square sides and broad shape are useful for making a wide variety of marks. They are highly consistent throughout their 640 piece range of sticks. This is the first set I bought. I also have the Maggie Price Gray Set, the Umber collection, the Best of the Blues, and the True Lights. I can’t wait to add more to my collection!
- Uart – Uart is a sanded paper and I have come to use it almost exclusively. It is tough and durable and can handle all the experimental techniques I throw at it. I like to use the 400, 500, or 600 grits. It is a natural oatmeal color but can be easily toned with pastel, acrylic, watercolor, or oil stains. I demonstrate on Uart all the time on my Youtube channel.
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