The Staedtler Mars Lumograph black pencil boasts a smooth matte finish, thanks to its high carbon content which gives it a deep and intense black hue. Using graphite pencils often results in a shiny finish, but this is eliminated when using the Lumograph black carbon pencils.
Carbon and charcoal-based pencils are ideal for drawing, hatching, and creating expressive sketches and portraits. They produce deeper blacks than graphite pencils, making them a valuable addition to any art kit.
In this article, we analyse their effectiveness and the different features they offer for graphite-based artwork. Our aim is to allow you to determine if they would make a useful addition to your own art kit.
The composition of these pencils contain some graphite but are primarily carbon-based, resulting in a matte finish that diminishes the typical luster found in graphite pencils. Additionally, they are notably resilient, even in the darker grades, and do not flake during use. However, it is important to note that they are not well-suited for blending and cannot be fully erased.
If you want to achieve a dark and matte finish in your artwork, blending graphite and carbon pencils can be a great technique to try out. These two types of pencils can be combined to create a unique and striking effect that will enhance the overall look of your work. They work best for techniques like hatching or stippling that don't require blending. Why not try them and see how it can elevate your art to the next level.
" Great pencils.... I've always disliked how I'd get a shiny graphite tone when using 6B+ grades. I found charcoal and charcoal pencils don't blend with graphite to get black blacks but these do. "
" Leads are good and don't break readily. Would recommend. "
" After years of using graphite and carbon for drawing, I constantly look for new products. While the Staedtler 7B and 8B provide contrast, I found the Lyra and Faber Castell PITT Oilbase carbon pens more suitable. The Mars Lumograph black still feels like a graphite pencil and the degrees of hardness are unequal, for example, the 2B felt visibly harder than the HB. The 4B broke often, whilst the 6B was fine. However, they still have that shimmer found in graphite blends. The 7B and 8B pencils were harder than expected for their grade level. The level of graphite was noticeable, resulting in shades that are appropriately black. These pencils are unsuitable for my needs as they do not produce my desired effect and have unpredictable degrees of hardness." Translated from German
Staedtler Mars Lumograph standard versus Lumograph Mars black
Yes, They are significantly different. The black option is much darker and produces far less shine. Having both is a good choice.
Question and answer from the Amazon webstore.
Have you tried these pencils yet? please share your own personal opinions of them in the comments below.
- Creamy Texture: They are super smooth and soft to use. The soft texture allows them to perform great for blending and mixing! Easy to colour with no effort!
- Novel Design: The new bullet design and cylindrical paint allow to grip and draw comfortably!
- 48 Vibrant Colours: 48 vivid colours and providing strong coverage, showing the texture effect of an oil painting!
- Eco-friendly and High-quality Materials: The oil pastel set is made of eco-friendly materials and high-quality. Four seasons available, winter and summer seasons soft and hard degree changes very little.
- Affordable: This set of oil pastels is very affordable, high quality, and also perfect for beginners.
Ideal for the novice
You can purchase this set of 48 oil pastels on Amazon for approximately £30. They are considered to be of student-quality, which means they are priced similarly to other student-quality oil pastels and provide good coverage. If you are an amateur, this set is a great way to get a feel for the medium.
How do they compare to professional quality oil pastels?
Though Paul Rubens states their pastels are lightfast, we cannot find any information on the testing standards they use, so it is unlikely that they will be of the same rigorous levels that well-known brands use. Always ensure your artwork is correctly protected and avoid hanging your paintings in direct sunlight.
Our trial and findings
What do the symbols mean that are printed on the paper sleeve?
Unfortunately, these pastels are not currently available as open stock, which is a significant issue for a pliable medium like the oil pastel. The necessity of accessing additional colours is fundamental to the product's longevity.
At this price, they would make an excellent addition to your oil pastel collection, and it won't break the bank if using them to practice your techniques or create art to reproduce into prints.
About the Paul Rubens company
- 2008 Paul Rubens art supply brand was established.
- 2008 Paul Rubens' 1st generation of artist-grade oil paints was successfully developed
- 2012 saw Paul Rubens' 1st generation of artist-grade watercolours successfully developed (launched in 2014)
- 2014 saw the 2nd generation of Paul Rubens artist-grade oil paints launched
- 2015 - 2016 Pearlescent solid watercolours were first launched and the 2nd generation of artist-grade watercolours were researched and developed, plus Paul Rubens' watercolour paper products, watercolour brushes, and watercolour auxiliary tools.
- 2016 - 2017, successfully developed the Paul Rubens star product, the artist-level 3rd generation "fresh new solid watercolour"
- 2018, the 3rd generation of Paul Rubens artist-level oil painting (blue packaging) was developed, and a series of alkyd resin products
- 2019, the Paul Rubens watercolour auxiliary material white ink was successfully launched
- 2020, Paul Rubens artist-grade oil painting colours (black packaging) launched
- 2021, the Paul Rubens oil pastel series officially launched
- 2022, Paul Rubens 4th generation of artist-level watercolour released
- Who is Paul Rubens? Is he a real person? Paul Rubens is just our brand name, not a pastel artist.
- Where is the company based? We are based in China
- Do you make your own products? The Paul Rubens company makes our own products. After several trials and visits to many artists, the founder of our brand went to Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and other birthplace of oil painting, and finally established the brand Paul Rubens.
- Do they contain any animal products? No
- Are there any beeswax in this product? No
- Are they lightfast? Yes. Note the star ratings on each colour.
- What other art products do you sell? Watercolours and brushes, Oil paints, Soft Pastels, Oil Pastels, Acrylic paints.
- Do you have a website? Yes; Lightwish Art (lightswish.com)
- Do you have a social media account? Instagram
- Where can I buy your products? Visit the Amazon store here > >
- Where can I buy this set? HAIYA oil pastels 48 set
It is worth noting that we do not receive a commission for any products sold through this review. In this particular case, we were fortunate enough to receive this set without charge. We are committed to providing an impartial review of the product, and our opinions are based solely on our own experiences and observations.
Why have GOLDEN discontinued their Polymer varnish range?
" Due to a raw material shortage, we are currently unable to produce our Polymer Varnishes (all sheens). We are working with suppliers to understand when these materials may be available again to resume production, but at this time, the shortage is expected to last through at least June (2021) "
" First, we are excited to introduce our newly formulated Waterborne Varnish. After a raw material discontinuation forced us to halt production of Polymer Varnish in 2021, we fielded a number of artist requests for waterborne varnish for use on interior acrylic paintings (which can be applied without the need for harsh solvents for thinning, cleanup or removal, or ventilation and other precautions necessary when working with mineral spirit varnish.)
Gloss Waterborne Varnish is shipping now to retailers in the US and we're eager to get it into artist studios! Be on the lookout for updates later this year as a Matte sheen is currently in development. "
So, what is the waterborne varnish?
An isolation coat between the paint and varnish is recommended, to reduce interaction during varnish application or removal.
- Do not use on oil paintings or any artwork intended for outdoor display.
- Do not use on functional objects (such as furniture).
- Do not apply acrylics or oils over Waterborne Varnish.
Application & After care:
- Allow one week after last varnish coat before handling/packing/shipping.
- Avoid stacking of artwork and any direct contact with any materials during shipping or storage.
Please note the MSA varnishes are still available.
We like to cover a wide range of mediums and products in each article, so in this newsletter, we explore the Chromaflow coloured pencil range, the latest pencil produced by Derwent. Do we have a UK Prismacolor Premier pencil finally? Our second article covers the creamy oil pastels by Sennelier. Even if you don't work with oil pastels, you may find this article interesting, and you may even decide to try them yourself.
Finally, we have the latest 2023 art workshops now available to book, but for those who can't make one of our workshops, we have the latest tutorial for soft pastel artists. If you haven't tried soft pastels before, we highly recommend you give this tutorial a go. It's so easy and you don't need any previous experience to make a brilliant piece of art.
Click on any of the images below to visit the article and have a read. Why not grab a coffee, as we do throw lots of information into our articles, so we hope you enjoy them!
Derwents' new coloured pencil range
In this article, we analyse the quality and application of the pencils. Did we find the same quality that we have come to expect from Derwent?
We provide information from our own research, as well as reviews by other artists', found online. See how they compare to other brands, in particular with the highly popular Prismacolor Premier pencil, but with Derwents' other lines too.
Sennelier collaborated with Picasso to create this lightfast oil pastel range
In this article, we explore the possibilities of this compelling brand and the rich history of the company. We discuss best practices, delve into lightfast properties and provide recommendations on effective accessories. Finally, we share the feedback of other users and our own thoughts on this product. Even if you have never used oil pastels before, this article may inspire you to give them a go.
New tutorial - Poppy field on black base for soft pastel artists
Pastels are a quick and easy medium, making them ideal for the absolute beginner. We provide a simple breakdown of how to create an eye catching landscape of these sun-kissed poppies. We show you how to build the foundations and offer practical techniques. By providing images and descriptions, we offer an easy to follow guide for every artist.
You may just wish to pass the time with a box of pastel and a cuppa, simply because you like the composition. Wherever you are in the process, we encourage you to embellish as much as you want, or keep it as simple as we have. Why not give it a go?
2023 Art workshops
Why not come and join us!
THIS WORKSHOP HAS NOW COMMENCED
THIS WORKSHOP HAS NOW COMMENCED
Saturday 12th & Sunday the 13th of August
Coloured pencils 2-day workshop
Time: 11:30am - 4:00pm
*Art kits extra
LOAN KITS £5.00 EXTRA
HOME KITS £15.00 EXTRA
Where is the workshop venue?
Our workshops are run in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. The county borders the Peak District, which many will be aware of, maybe even visited in the past. If you have heard of the 'wonky spire', (officially known as the Church of St. Mary and All Saints), this is the town.
PARISH CENTRE STONEGRAVELS
91 SHEFFIELD ROAD
You don't need a large assortment of products. If you enjoy drawing outdoors, you can travel light, with no need for solvents and little to no mess.
The pencils are the most important part of the graphite toolkit, but they are more effective when combined with other products. In this blog, we discuss the five essential accessories for the graphite artist. If you are new to graphite pencils, you may prefer some over others, conditional on the style of your work. Let's take a look at them.
Although we don't lean towards any particular brand, we provide images of the products we use ourselves, or have chosen purely for representation.
We discuss five different styles of eraser, that, depending on your artistic style, could be of interest to you. Do let us know in the comments section at the bottom of this page, what your personal favourite eraser(s) is and why.
This style of eraser is most commonly used. The corners, edges and the flat surface can be used wherever you need to erase. Choosing a dust-free option minimises dust drop, and is safer. These erasers do not contain any harmful phthalates (chemical compounds), but contain a mixture of balanced plastics.
Kneadable putty rubber
Kneaded erasers have great flexibility, allowing you to stretch, compress, split, and mould it into shape to achieve precision. You can create highlights, clean edges and trim lines during the drawing process. You may struggle to remove dark marks, and they can also smear or stick if they get too warm.
The Perfection Eraser Pencil is an eraser core in a wood-cased barrel. It is ideal for detailed erasing. The white end erases ink. The pink end erases graphite and coloured pencil.
The refillable precision eraser Mono Zero Classic erases fine lines and small detailed corrections, where precision is essential. The classic version is available with round and rectangular tips.
the must-have eraser
Battery powered eraser
Avoid touching your paper with your hands. The natural oils in your skin can transfer onto the paper, leaving behind smears and dirt that can stain. This may cause the graphite to congregate in patches, which you may struggle to remove. We recommend that you use a soft bristle brush to remove excess graphite or eraser dust from your paper, to avoid any surface contact. A make-up brush is a low-cost option. We recommend that you place a clean sheet of paper or glassine, between hand and drawing to avoid the transfer of oils.
paper stumps & tortillions
If you work with graphite pencils, we recommend that you fix your drawing once you have finished. It protects from accidental smudging (although it is not smudgeproof) and can add an extra layer of preservation if you buy a fixative with UV protection.
It is important to keep some distance between the can and your artwork (around 12"), in order to achieve an even layer. Make sure you shake the can thoroughly, and give it a light, even spray, using deliberate motion of left to right and up to down. Don't over saturate.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCTS THAT MAY BE USEFUL
white gelly pen
If you want to add some really vivid highlights into your drawing, the white Sakura Gelly roll pen is the ideal choice. With 3 nib sizes, it is waterproof, acid free and fade resistant.
The drawing template shield is made of flexible stainless steel. They are very thin and work easily with an eraser. Good for precise and controlled erasing and drawing.
LEAVE US A COMMENT
We like to cover a different medium or product, in each article, so this quarter, we provide a list of blending tools for soft pastel artists, a selection of black papers for artists who enjoy working on a dark surface. We have chosen various surfaces and brands, suitable for numerous mediums, not just pencils.
Finally, we have updated the Prismacolor pencil artist. We really delved deep into the history of these pencils and believe us, these pencils have a great history. They span over a hundred years! We also discuss what these pencils can achieve, as we are aware that they are a favourite of many coloured pencil artists.
Click on any of the images below to visit the article and have a read. Why not grab a coffee, as we do throw lots of information into our articles, so we hope you enjoy them.
About the Prismacolor pencil
10 blending tools for soft pastels
12 Popular black papers for artists
Brand new medium added to our tutorials section
A list of 12 Black artist papers - Archival and Acid Free options
During our search for the 12 black surfaces we include in this article, we found there are far more options, with many companies producing their own ranges, in varying shades of black and different textures. The following article provides you with a selection of the most popular brands, including some lesser known, which are suitable for different mediums and offer varying textures, allowing you to choose the one(s) most relevant.
Somerset is a very popular grade of printmaking paper from the historic St. Cuthbert’s Mill in the UK, first introduced in the early 1970’s. In addition to its popularity in printmaking, Somerset found success as a wonderful drawing paper due to its soft handle and supple feel. Made with improved black pigments, Somerset Black has a deep, warm shade combined with a soft velvet surface. The internal structure of the sheet exhibits even darker fibres, which gives dramatic results, especially when laser etched. It is made to archival standards from 100% cotton and is fade resistant to the Blue Wool scale 6+. Mould made from 100% cotton to high archival standards.
Read our Somerset article.
Company: St. Cuthbert's Mill
Texture: Velvet (Like NOT surface)
Composition: 100% Cotton
Suitable for: Pastel, pencil and charcoal. Block/relief printing, embossing, intaglio/etching, hand/stone lithography, laser printing, letterpress and silkscreen/serigraphy.
Sizes available: Sheets only (30" x 22" & 30" x 44")
Company base: UK
Accessibility: Limited suppliers.
UArt Black paper
UART Premium Sanded Pastel Paper accepts a wide variety of wet media for underpainting without compromising or damaging the tooth. The company states that you can add layer upon layer, correcting and creating, without impairing the surface of your artwork. From the toothiest grade (240), which is ideal for blending and layering, to the finer grades that are perfect for delicate and detailed work. You can add layer on top of layer without losing tooth. The abrasive surface eliminates the need for fixatives. The colour of the paper fluctuates depending on which grades you are using: while the 400 & 500 grades provide a rich black texture, the 600 & 800 grades lean towards a dark charcoal colour, as the higher the grade, the smaller the pigments. UART employs a state-of-the-art manufacturing process that ensures a consistent grain application on every inch of the paper.
Read our UArt dark paper article.
Grades: 400/500/600/800 (Abrasiveness)
Composition: Unsure - This is a sandpaper
Suitable for: Pastels, Pencils, Charcoal, Watercolour, and Conté. Accepts all wet media (alcohol, mineral spirits, turpentine, water) for underpainting.
Sizes available: Sheets, Mounted boards and rolls.
Company base: New York, USA
Accessibility: Accessible in various countries
Stonehenge was created in 1972 specifically as a 100% cotton deckled paper for the printmaking community. Over the years, it has gained worldwide recognition as a paper that works well across a range of other fine art applications. The paper of choice of many members of the Colored Pencil Society of America, Stonehenge has the ability to take multiple layers of wax-based and oil-based coloured pencil without any buildup, allowing colours to penetrate and absorb into the surface of the sheet. Neutral pH and no optical brightening agents (OBA's can cause fading).
Read our Stonehenge article.
Composition: 100% Cotton
Suitable for: Coloured Pencil, Pen & Ink, Pastel, Charcoal, Watercolour, Hand Lithography, Intaglio, Letterpress, Offset, Relief Printing and Silkscreen
Sizes available: Sheets & rolls
Company base: USA
Accessibility: Easier to access in the USA
Velour paper is an artist quality pastel paper with a velvety texture that grips soft pastel and give them a delicate soft edge. Hahnemuhle Velour is an artist-quality 260gsm pastel paper which is both acid-free and archival. It is composed of an acid-free backing sheet which is coated with inert synthetic fibres. This gives the surface a velvety feel which has sufficient tooth to hold soft pastel, as well as oil pastel, charcoal or soft pencils. Velour can hold a lot of pastel, so it is perfect for painterly pastel artists who create works with soft edges and is particularly suited to pet portraiture.
Suitable for: Soft & Oil pastel, soft pencil, Charcoal and Conté crayons.
Sizes available: Sheets and pads
Company base: Germany
Accessibility: Although not widely available, it is accessible online.
Stonehenge Aqua Black Watercolour paper is a cotton paper with excellent wet-on-wet performance. Paint can be easily manipulated without drying up. Like any other top-quality watercolour paper, it withstands repeated wetting/drying with no damage to the paper. The paper allows for easy lifting and blending and ensures you have excellent control of your colours.Colours won't blur, bleed, or mix in undesirable ways like other black papers can. It holds multiple layers of colour and holds up to masking and scrubbing.
Texture: Hot pressed and NOT
Composition: 100% Cotton
Suitable for: Coloured pencils, Pen & Ink, Pastel & Charcoal, Metallic/Interference/Iridescent paint, Gouache, Acrylics, Watercolour, Watercolour pencil, Pigment sticks, Markers, Calligraphy, Intaglio, Letterpress and Silkscreen.
Sizes available: Blocks, pads and sheets
Company base: USA
Accessibility: Available but easier to access in the USA
Colourfix papers are sheets of high-quality, archival 300gsm hot pressed European watercolour paper, screen printed with Colourfix Primer. The natural, toothy surface will hold multiple layers of pastel without the need for fixative, allowing the velvet bloom and vibrant colour of pastel to be preserved. Erasing is also easy with Colourfix™ – simply lift off excess pastel with clear adhesive tape, brush off with a dry brush, or use a pencil eraser. Alternatively, errors can be overpainted or areas touched up with the matching colour of Art Spectrum Colourfix™ Primer. The tough, toothy surface can be sanded, scrubbed, soaked and reworked over and over.
Read our Colourfix smooth article.
Company: Art Spectrum
Texture: Fine (Smooth), Medium (Original) & Rough (Supertooth) surfaces
Composition: 100% Cotton and primer
Suitable for: Pastels, oil colours, acrylics, inks, oil pastels, gouache, watercolours and dry media such as charcoal and pencils.
Sizes available: Sheets and pads
Company base: Australia
Accessibility: Available across many countries.
Tiziano pastel paper
Tiziano is a high rag content, acid-free, pH neutral and with high archival permanence. The colours are highly lightfast. It is a cold press surface, containing cotton. Tiziano is Acid Free, produced with ECF pulp (Elemental Chlorine Free), FSC® certified from forests responsibly managed respectful of environmental, social and economic standards. Particularly suited to soft and oil pastels due to its good pigment uptake.
Composition: High rag content
Suitable for: Pastel, pencil, graphite, charcoal and airbrush. Can also be used with all printing techniques.
Sizes available: Sheets, pads and rolls
Company base: Italy
Accessibility: Easily accessible
Vegan: Yes (Synthetic sizing)
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch Paper is particularly suited to soft and oil pastels as well as pencil, but is also suited to wet techniques and acrylics. The Touch Paper is micro-abrasive with a finely textured, sandblasted finish. It is lightfast and age-resistant. The innovative surface holds the pigments and creates the possibility of superimposition of colours and colour mixing. Colours are rendered remarkably, and fine details stand out.
Read our Mi-tientes Touch article.
Texture: Abrasive surface (Medium)
Composition: watercolour paper and a primer
Suitable for: Pastel, sanguine, charcoal, chalk and acrylic.
Sizes available: Sheets & Pads
Company base: France
Accessibility: Not as accessible as its pastel paper
Vegan: No. (sized with gelatin)
Mi-tientes pastel paper
This paper is a pulp-dyed colour paper that contains more than 50% cotton. It has the advantage of having a different texture on either side: a honeycombed side; and fine grain on the other. It has 50 light-resistant tones including the black. Pulp-dyed, colours are light-resistant and its high cotton content makes it both robust and flexible. Complies with ISO 9706 standards on permanence, to guarantee excellent conservation. It is acid-free and has no optical brightness additives (OBA's can cause fading).
Texture: 2 sided - Fine and Textured (Like NOT paper)
Composition: Cotton rag (50% cotton)
Suitable for: Pastel, charcoal, sanguine, pencil, even watercolours and gouache. Handicrafts such as folding, cutting, gluing, making cards, etc.
Sizes available: Sheets, rolls and pads
Company base: France
Accessibility: Easily accessible
Vegan: No. (sized with gelatin)
Derwent Black Mixed Media paper (New)
The Derwent Professional black paper pad is ideal for creating dramatic art with a variety of media types. This fine grain, smooth paper offers artists a dramatic backdrop that maximises the performance of metallic mediums, including metallic and opaque pencils, paints and inks. The heavyweight 300gsm composition provides a sturdy and reliable foundation of the highest quality for both wet and dry media, differing from other Derwent black paper surfaces that suit dry media only.
Composition: 100% Recycled
Suitable for: Pens, pencils, markers, inks. Wet and dry media.
Sizes available: A4 Pad only
Company base: UK
Accessibility: New product 2022 - Derwent sell their products worldwide.
Frisk Black watercolour paper
Rough textured paper, keeps colours clean and bright. Wash and blend with all grades of watercolour. Extremely effective results with opaque, metallic and interference colours. Also available as a mixed media pad and a canvas pad.
Suitable for: Watercolour, pens, pencils, markers and brushes
Sizes available: Gummed pads (A6, A5, A4, A3)
Company base: UK
Accessibility: Products sold internationally
Sakura Sketchbooks and Notebooks are suitable for all ages, and for both experienced and aspiring artists. The hardcover book comes with a pen holder that perfectly fits pens such as the Pigma Micron and Sakura Gelly Roll. In the back of the Sketch notebook, an expandable envelope is included for storing sketches and notes. The elastic closure band ensures the book stays closed and compact when travelling.
Company: Royal Talens
Composition: Acid free
Suitable for: Ink, pencil, oil pastel & charcoal
Sizes available: Notebook only (5 sizes)
Company base: Netherlands
Accessibility: Accessible online
Which black paper surface do you prefer?
What is your favourite black paper not on this list and what medium do you use with it?
Any hints and tips for artists using black paper with a particular medium?
Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, so we can help inspire other artists.
When mixing soft pastels, sponges are the go-to tool for most artists. These are available in various shapes and sizes and can be easily found in art supply stores or even health and beauty stores that sell make-up sponges.
How to Apply:
To achieve a smooth blend, apply 2-3 shades of pastel to the paper and blend with circular movements. When working with small areas, use the wedge or tip of the sponge.
Good: Washable, providing longevity
Bad: May tear when used on highly abrasive paper
2. Blending stumps/ Tortillions
Blending stumps and tortillions are tools of tightly packed paper rolled into a pencil shape. These tools have fine tips that allow for blending in small areas and the ability to push pastel around to create or smooth out thin lines.
How to apply:
To achieve a smooth blend, apply circular motions with the tip or side of the stump. Use excess pastel on the tip to introduce extra pigment to another area of your paper.
Good: Low cost, can be 'sharpened' to remove the dirt
Bad: Quickly dirtied, Short life span, easily ripped and torn
3. Pan Pastel Softt tools
Our Sofft tools are crafted from a unique micropore sponge formula, with each tool featuring a distinct shape and size that makes it perfect for blending and applying your pastels. You can easily replace the sponges, which are reusable and simple to clean.
How to apply:
Rub the sponge across the pastel and apply it to your paper. Afterwards, you can blend the pastel as desired.
Good: Re-usable. Economical. Easy to clean.
Bad: You will need to clean or change your sponge when moving between dark to light grades, to avoid muddying your colours.
4. Colour shapers
Silicone-made Colour Shapers are versatile tools for blending pastels and other mediums. The tips avoid absorbing material, which is perfect for applying, removing, scraping, and moving colours. Made of durable rubber composite, they help create texture and blend pastels seamlessly. The blue and ivory-coloured tips are soft and suitable for soft pastels. The darker coloured tips are firmer. These are useful for clay and other mediums.
How to apply: Before selecting your preferred tool, ensure you have enough pigment on your paper. Then, delicately blend the pigments for optimal results.
Good: Long life, easy to clean. Easy to hold
Bad: May not be ideal on highly abrasive paper
5. Pastel applicators
Sponge wands like these help blend small areas of pastel. You may find packs made explicitly for this technique called 'Sofft Mini sponge applicators' from the Pan Pastel company. However, general art stores may sell them too. You can purchase a pack of eyeshadow wands as an inexpensive replacement from your local health and beauty store. However, the sponge will likely be of different quality and may tear easily, but it may be worth a try.
How to Apply: Add 2-3 shades of pastel to the paper prior to mixing. To ensure a smooth coverage, mix using circular motions.
Good: Economical. Precise application.
Bad: May be hard to hold, especially for those who have issues with their hands. Only suitable for blending small areas.
6. Colourless blender
The PanPastel Colourless Blender is a versatile medium that can achieve different effects. It can help increase transparency and improve the flow of colour without altering the pigments' original hues. With this medium, you can create a more transparent mix or soften the application's flow.
How to apply:
This product can be used before applying colour, as a base layer, or mixed with the pigment after application.
Good: Easy to mix, non-crumbly. Low dust and less waste.
Bad: To be updated
For a more precise and soft edge, using a short flat brush to blend your pastels is recommended. This type of brush is sturdier, offering more control. It's important to select the appropriate brush size for each area and to clean off any excess pastel after use to prevent colours from mixing and becoming muddy.
How to apply:
Gently brush your pastels outwards to soften or in a rotational direction to soften hard lines after applying your layers.
Good: Firm application. Targeted application.
Bad: Abrasive paper may break the hair in the brush.
If you're a pastel artist, you may have used your fingers to blend your pastels. While this is a convenient way to blend larger areas, it can be messy and may mix your colours if you don't clean your fingers between colours. To avoid this, use a damp cloth to remove pastels from your fingers and dry them with a towel before mixing the following colours.
How to apply:
Blend in circular motions with clean fingers to fill in the peaks of the paper and create a smooth layer.
Good: Cost-free, quick and easy
Bad: Messy applications. Abrasive paper can damage your skin.
9. Cotton buds or Q-tips
Artists can make use of cotton buds, which are an affordable option. They can blend small areas of pastel drawings and be conveniently disposed of once used.
How to apply: To achieve smooth coverage, use circular motions when blending over layers of pigment.
Good: Low cost and economical.
Bad: When you're searching for Q-tips, consider looking for eco-friendly options instead of plastic ones. Remember that cotton tips might not be the best choice for every project, as they can get stuck on abrasive paper.
10. Pastel on pastel
Blending pastels is possible without a unique tool by layering one colour over another. This technique works well with soft and hard pastels, but the final effect will depend on the type of paper or surface used. Smooth surfaces may not blend as well as abrasive ones.
How to apply: Apply each colour on top of the other and push the pastels into the paper's peaks. Lighter applications will enable you to add more layers.
Good: No extra tools are needed.
Bad: May not create an even blend of colour.
What products do you use to blend soft pastels?
Do you have other product suggestions we haven't included here?
Please share your own hints and tips with us in the comments section below.
Graphite pencils for beginners
Having overhauled the original article, it's worth checking out (again) if you are new to graphite.
What makes these pastels so special? We share our findings in this article.
Are you an artist, looking for suitable paper? Find out more. Ideal for pastel artists and can be used for other mediums too.
Blending with coloured pencils
If you are a coloured pencil artist and want to learn how to create smooth blends, this article offers lots of hints and tips.
New tutorial for coloured pencil artists
Our latest tutorial shows you how to draw a Hare.
You can click any of the image below to visit each article.
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Are you thinking of trying graphite pencils but unsure what you need or where to begin? Which brands should you buy? We have put together a comprehensive article for artists like you who are looking for some guidance. It can be overwhelming when there’s so many products available but we have broken it down into sections to provide you with lots of useful information.
Our current favourite product is the Sennelier oil pastel. Creamy, highly vibrant and great fun to work with. Perfect for use on the pastelmat paper too!
Karen M Berisford
1 Day Art Workshop
1 Day Graphite Workshop In The UK
2 Day Art Workshop
Accessories For Artists
Acid Free Black Paper
Acrylic Panel Board
Archival Black Artist Paper
Articles On Art
Art Product Recommendations
Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth
Art Studio Light
Audrey Hepburn Art Workshop
Barn Owl Art Workshop
Battery Powered Eraser
Berol Karisma Pencils
Black Art Paper
Black Art Papers
Black Labrador Art Workshop
Black Labrador Coloured Pencil Art Workshop
Black Labrador In Coloured Pencils
Black Paper Tutorial
Black Rhino Art Workshop
Blenders And Burnishers
Blending Soft Pastels
Blending Tools For Coloured Pencil Artists
Blending Tools For Graphite Art
Blending Tools For Soft Pastels
Blueberries In Coloured Pencil Tutorial
Brush And Pencil Colored Pencil Powder Blender
Canson Mi Tientes Touch
Canson Mi-tientes Touch
Caran Dache Full Blender Bright
Caran Dache Luminance Pencils
Carbon Pencils Help
Carbon Versus Charcoal
Cheap Coloured Pencils
Chesterfield Art Group
Chesterfield Art Tutor
Chesterfield Art Workshops
Colored Pencil Magazine
Coloured Pencil Accessories
Coloured Pencil Article
Coloured Pencil Artists
Coloured Pencil Art Kit
Coloured Pencil Mini Tutorial
Coloured Pencils Comparison Article
Coloured Pencils On Pastelbord
Coloured Pencil Tutor
Coloured Pencil Tutorial
Coloured Pencil Workshop
Colourfix Paper Review
Colourfix Smooth Black
Commission Art Business
Daler Rowney Graduate Acrylics
Derbyshire Art Workshop
Derwent Black Mixed Media Paper
Derwent Blender Pen
Derwent Coloured Pencils
Derwent Coloursoft Pencils
Derwent Graphic Pencils
Derwent Graphite Pencils
Derwent Lightfast And Zest It
Derwent Lightfast On Pastelbord
Derwent Onyx Pencils
Dogs Eye In Graphite Pencil Tutorial#
Drawing A Hare
Dust Free Eraser
Erasing Carbon Pencils
Faber Castell Graphite 9000
Faber Castell Pastel Pencils
Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils
Frisk Black Watercolour Paper
Gallery Oil Pastels
Gelly Roll Pens
Golden Polymer Varnishes
Golden Waterborne Varnish
Grahite Lemur Art Workshops
Graphite Artist Help
Graphite Mini Tutorial
Graphite Pencil Accessories
Graphite Pencil Help
Graphite Pencils Article
Graphite Pencils Art Workshops
Graphite Pencil Tips
HAIYA Oil Pastels
Hints And Tips
Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper
How To Blend Soft Pastels
Jackson's Art Gesso Panel
John Graham Artist
Karen M Berisford
Karen M Berisford Art Articles
Kingfisher Art Workshop
Kneadable Putty Rubber
Learn Coloured Pencils
Learn How To Draw With Coloured Pencils
Learn How To Draw With Graphite Pencils
Learn How To Draw With Pastels
Legion Aqua Stonehenge
Lemur UK Pencil Workshop
Light For Craft Art
Luminance Portrait Colours
Lyra Splender Blender
Mars Black Pencil
Mars Lumograph Black
Mini Art Tutorial
Mi Tientes Black Pastel Paper
Mi Tientes Touch Black Paper
Mi-tientes Touch Black Paper
Mi-tientes Touch Paper
Mono Zero Erasers
Moulin Du Roy
Newbiggin By The Sea Art Workshops
Newbiggin-by-the-sea Art Workshops
Newbiggin-by-the-sea Pet Artists
Oil Paint Articles
Oil Panel Board
Oil Pastel Art
Panel Board For Painters
Paper For Acrylics
Paper For Coloured Pencils
Paper For Pastels
Paul Rubens Oil Pastels
Pencils For Beginners
Perfection Eraser Pencil
Polymer Varnish Discontinued
Poppy Field Tutorial
Portrait Pencil Palette
Rabbit Coloured Pencil Art Workshop#
Rabbit In Coloured Pencils
Ring Tailed Lemur Art Workshop
Robin In Coloured Pencils
Royal Talens Sakura Notebook
Sakura Notebook Black Sheets
Sennelier Oil Pastels
Shetland Sheepdog UK Pencil Workshop
Snow Leopard Eye Art Workshop
Soft Pastel Articles
Soft Pastel Help
Soft Pastels Articles
Soft Pastels Tutorial
Stabilo Carbothello Pastel Pencils
Stabilo Pastel Pencils
Starting Out With Graphite Pencils
Starting Your Own Art Business
St Cuthbert's Mill Somerset
Step By Step Art Tutorials
Strawberry Art Tutorial
Sumatran Tiger Art Workshop
Tiziano Black Pastel Paper
Uk Art Workshops
Uk Coloured Pencil Workshop
Uncradled Gesso Panel
Uneeda UArt Paper
Waves In Coloured Pencils
WH Smith Colouring Pencils
Wild Rabbit Art Workshop
Zest It Pencil Blend