- 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 location – 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…) I like this landscape set if you want to try their line…it’s a nice value range without having the glaring too-bright colors often associated with beginner sets.
- 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 last Fall at the National Arts Club and 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 some of the softest sticks out there with a very intense pigment load. I will use these towards the end of a painting – They are so soft they can fill the tooth of the paper easily in your first layers.
- Girault – If there is one line I covet, it is this one for sure. They have been produced in France since 1780! I love the consistency of the Girault pastel. It is uniquely soft, medium, and hard all at the same time and with tones and colors so rich the paintings practically paint themselves. 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 my favorite workhorse pastels and the brand I use the most, wonderful 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 in regards to favorite tools. They are simply wonderful! The square sides and broad shape are wonderful for making a wide variety of marks. They are wonderfully 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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