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Pastel Drawing Materials

While a limited palette of color can be used when working with oil or water color, a much larger assortment of colors is needed for pastels.

Hence, you need to add a wide range of colors to your pastel drawing materials list.

The various grays, which are so important to the outdoor painter, are always mixed by the oil painter and water-colorist, but in pastel these vital shades are already prepared and a full assortment of grayed colors should be included.

Pastels come in sets of various sizes, from boxes of forty sticks to an elaborate chest of drawers containing over four hundred.

Select a box containing at least sixty pastels to insure a range of colors for different color schemes.

Drawing Board

You should add a drawing board to your list of pastel drawing materials.

Some newspaper or extra sheets of pastel paper should be placed under the paper you are using to create a softer and somewhat yielding surface.


Pastel paper is obtainable in various colors.

You can use charcoal paper or any paper that possesses a grained, textural surface to which the pastel can adhere.

Do not keep your paper rolled; store it flat instead.

Rags and Chamois

Keep a soft rag handy for pastel areas that may have to be lightly rubbed down or wiped off.

A chamois can be a usefulf pastel drawing material in your arsenal for partially removing too heavy an accumulation of pastel.

It is also useful for blending and smoothing colors.


Charcoal sticks can be used for the preliminary drawing, especially when the subject is a landscape .

Details and accents can also be rendered with charcoal.


A portfolio is convenient for carrying pastel paper and acts as a sketching support when you are working outdoors.

Have a few sheets of smooth tracing paper to put over your sketches when they are finished.

Place the covered sketches carefully in the portfolio and tie it securely so that there can be no movement.

Fixatif or Fixative

This is one of the most delicate items in your list of pastel drawing materials, since not using it correctly may spoil your pastel painting.

There are especially prepared pastel fixatifs available but at best they are not too successful.

Since a pastel should not be fixed at its final stage, any of the delicate colors that are added at this time are best preserved under glass .

However, if you do wish to fix the pastel at its completion, do not spray it too heavily. Spray it lightly a few times, allowing a drying interval between each fixing.


Paper stumps come in various sizes and can be used for fine blending.

Use them sparingly, because an unpleasant slick effect will result if they are used too generously

Pastel Painting Main Page.

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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