Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Berni from PanPastel very kindly sent me a set of 10 pastels in a palette tray along with a whole assortment of Sofft tools to use with them and boy have I had fun experimenting. Head over to my Facebook Page where I’m running a Worldwide Giveaway for 3 sets of 5 PanPastels and some Sofft Tools – you have until 10pm GMT on Sunday 11th of October.
I have used pastels once before, which was about 8 years ago when I was at school and I hated them at the time because they were so messy, difficult to use, dusty and my work looked like a 6 year old had attacked my page with chalky hands. I was very interested to try the PanPastels because I’d read reviews and product descriptions which stated that PanPastels were very different but most of these were written by artists and professionals who were clearly capable of using normal pastels really well so I was dubious about my ability to use these as a complete novice. As soon as I started using these pastels I was won over and realised just how easy they are to use and indeed how different they are from anything else I’ve previously used.
PanPastels come in a whopping 92 shades including 80 normal colours and a number of metallic and pearlescent colours too. The sheer number of shades available is wonderful and they can all be bought individually as well as in themed sets like Seascape, Painting, Portrait and Greens which come in set sizes of 3, 5, 10 and 20 depending on the theme. Some of the sets come in individual stacks and others come in a palette tray (these can be bought separately), some come with a selection of sofft tools and these are also available separately so you can get tools in just the right size and shape for your own projects. I found the large oval shaped sponges and the small, eyeshadow applicator-shaped tools the most useful for large expanses of backgrounds and the detailed areas that needed a more delicate touch but the sofft tools come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles so have a hunt for which ones you think will work best. They are all washable with warm, soapy water and are reusable once they’ve been air dried so as long as you’re careful and don’t use them on rough surfaces which will cause the sponges to deteriorate, they will last plenty of time.
The PanPastels themselves come in round plastic pots containing a compressed pastel powder which is highly pigmented. They are really vibrant and give great coverage without having to press hard or go over the area much, they fill the tooth of the paper really quickly and easily giving very even coverage with no white areas left. You only need to swipe your applicator once or twice over the surface of the pastel you’re using and it’ll be loaded with colour and away you go. The PanPastel website describes these pastels as similar to paints which I didn’t understand because they’re dry and not wet but once I received them and started using them I realised why – it’s because they give such bright, smooth coverage and can easily be blended together on the paper to create infinite numbers of new shades or gradients (shown below) so that you really only need a few basic colours to be able to create a rainbow of colours and different shades.
PanPastels work on any type of paper and because they’re dry there is no bleeding. They also create very little or no transfer to the opposite page as long as they’ve been buffed properly so there is no need for fixatives, and they are fully erasable dependent on paper type. Panpastels are lightfast and semi-transparent, meaning the black lines of your colouring images can still be seen, and they create very low dust so there is almost no waste and no mess (see close-up photos below of dust amounts). The only negative is that PanPastels are pretty expensive but you can get some good value sets of 5 for about £15 which I’ve added links to below. While they are expensive, they’re really high quality and great value because they are reported to give 4-5 times more coverage than ordinary pastels meaning they last a really long time so they’re a pretty good investment. Cotton wool balls are an absolute must-have to wipe away any excess and to blend colours either just to create even coverage or to smooth the lines between mixed colours to create a seamless blend (see the fish and sunset pictures below).
I would highly recommend these pastels for anyone wanting to create backgrounds on their colouring or wanting to branch out and colour with something new. While they are quite pricey, they’re definitely worth the money and I will be purchasing some extra colours when I can afford to. They’re unbelievably easy to use and create wonderful effects to enhance your colouring and it’s easy to work out how to create new effects as you work with them but if you need some help there are loads of techniques and tips on the PanPastel website which can be found here. You can also see all of the colours and products and find local stockists of PanPastels here.
I’ve spent a couple of hours scouring the internet to find the best priced sets and the best starter sets and while I assumed Ebay would be the cheapest it actually wasn’t and I found some great starter sets on Amazon. Sorry for the number of links but because they can be used for so many different things I’ve added lots that are useful for backgrounds but also for colouring things so I’ve linked to lots of sky and sea tones and also gorgeous brights for flowers and birds etc for you to check out below.
PanPastel 5 Colour Starter Set – Painting Set
PanPastel 5 Colour Starter Set – Shades Set
PanPastel 10 Colour Set – Painting Set
Panpastel Pearlescent Artist Pastels Set 9Ml 6/Pkg-Yellow,Green,Orange,Blue,Red And Violet
Panpastel 7 Color Mixed Media #2 Set
PanPastel 10 Colour Set – Seascape Set
PanPastel 10 Colour Set – Greens Set
Pan Pastel Ultra Soft Artists’ Painting Pastels Basic Colours Starter Set
PanPastel 20 Colour Set – Shades Set
Don’t forget that I’m running a Giveaway of these until the 11th of October which you can enter here.