Pastels art; Vincent Van Gogh once wrote that he would rather ‘die of passion than die of boredom.’

Artistically expressing oneself is one of the best ways to embrace passion. For over a decade, we have helped beginners, intermediate and professional artists succeed in expressing themselves through the art of pastel.

All pastels give the creator a bold, vibrant medium to work with that cannot be compared to any other medium. 

We have repeatedly heard pastels being referred to as many things; crayons, chalk sticks, and the likes. So we want to shed a little clarity on what pastels are. If you are new to the art world, figuring out whether or not you want soft, hard, oil, or water-soluble pastels is something that requires a little bit of exploration but put in a nutshell:

Soft pastel art

SOFT PASTELS; They look like coloured chalk sticks but are a lot more vibrant in colour, and the colour selections available are intense. Traditionally soft pastels are shapely round sticks, but they come in square and flat disc-like palettes, too; Check out Pan pastels

The best way to tell a cheap pastel from an artist quality one is to see how crumbly it is. If the pastel stick is very soft and crumbles reasonably easily, this lets you know that not much binder (glue) is used in the process of making the pastel. If many binders are used, the pastel tends to hold its shape very well; This is seen in many student and classroom pastel sets. You can also get artist quality HARD PASTELS that look like budget pastels but are specifically designed for artists. They are generally square, and again more binder has been used to hold the pigments together, but the pigment strength is super concentrated and a lot purer. Hard Pastels are great to use when you want bold, strong strokes of colour. A lot more hand pressure can be used, unlike soft pastels. Your choice of pastel is a personal preference. There is no right or wrong way to use them if you enjoy the creative outcome and process. 

All soft and hard pastels blend beautifully on top of one another due to their powdery makeup. Pastel blending toolspaper stumps, kneadable and battery-operated erasers also go hand in hand with working with this medium. Oh, and let us not forget pastel paper and fixative. An excellent fixative lets you either finalise the artwork with a spray so it doesn’t smudge as much or works as a layer so that you can draw back over your existing artwork without ruining the layer underneath.

Oil pastels art

OIL PASTELS; These are generally round sticks that look like a kid’s crayon. Most of our first introductions to oil pastels is when we are children. Can you remember drawing with white pastel on a sheet of cartridge paper and then doing a watercolour wash over the top with paint to reveal the artwork underneath? Oil-based pastels are thick and bold in colour, great for working with on their own or with mixed media pieces. Oil pastels don’t blend very well together, and you have to combine them with some turpentine, citrus-based medium or odourless solvent. In saying this, you can get WATER-SOLUBLE pastels that look like oil pastels, but they are very different. These can be manipulated with water and applied to cardstockpaper or canvas. Great for watercolour painterly washes as you can use watercolour pencils and paints alongside them.     

On top of the hundreds of pastel art related products we offer, you can explore the art of pastels first hand with one of our art classes or workshops. We have many professional artists working with us throughout the year in the studios. So if you are still unsure of your pastel preference or want to pick up a new technique or two from a professional, then we will have a class for you.

Be like Van Gogh and choose passion over boredom with our fantastic selection of pastels. Whether you enjoy drawing with soft pastels, oil pastels or painting with water-based pastels, we stock and know the brands you can trust. 

Crayons Loved by All

 Did you know? Water-soluble crayons are great to intermix with watercolour paint?

Fun, playful, and easy to engage with, we often assume crayons are for kids. While kids can most certainly enjoy them, there is no reason why adults can’t either.

Kids crayons are typically inexpensive and less vibrant in colour. The colour range available in kid’s crayons is usually a limited palette, and there is generally more binder (glue) added to the pigments. Both of these facts reduces the cost of the crayon.

 Artist crayons typically have fewer binders, and because of this, they glide on top of the paper, canvas, card or any surface better. They are a little more expensive because they are generally heavily pigmented, which creates a more even vibrant colour.

Both kids and artist-grade crayons are available in non-water-soluble and water-soluble, and usually, an art brand will cover both. Caran D’ache and Lyra are popular artists crayons. Faber-Castell, Crayola and Micador are popular brands for kids. Micador designs little crayons that are figurines that are easy for kids to hold in their tiny hands. There are seriously crayons for all ages. Crayons are often used to help sketch out ideas for mixed media artwork and provide details and texture in watercolour paintings. Water-soluble crayons help artists expand and add a variety of different details to their artwork as they have the opportunity to create washes and blend their crayon strokes with water.

 Crayon Twisters are wax crayons encased in a plastic barrel, popular in early learning environments. They are ideal for classroom settings as they don’t break, can be used easily in little hands and are easily sharpened.

Buy crayons and know what your getting. No matter what kind of art crayons you are looking for, Artworx has you covered. In addition to crayons, we also carry an incredible selection of other art supplies. We have excellent bulk paper rolls that you can lay out on the floor or table for kids drawings and quick sketches.

Nicki Comelli Artworx Art Supplies