Pastel Pencils

This page lists the pastel pencils that Dee loves to use, starting at the top with her favourite and most widely used downwards to those she uses a little less than the others. Dee does hope to try more pastel pencil brands as she finds them, and when she does, she'll be sure to add them here so she can share her thoughts on how they perform, what they're are best used for and how soft or hard they are. 

Stabilo Carbothello Pastel Pencils

This stunning collection pastel pencils is available in a range of 60 beautiful colours. They can be used dry-blended or smudged using either your fingertips, a blending stump, blending sponges and I've even used cotton buds to create a variety of artistic effects. I found when using these on a dark background you get a really beautiful result. They work really well with delicate papers, but also with the rough harder papers too, so I find them very diverse.

Partially aquarellable they can also be worked using a brush and water, though this isn't something that I've tried myself as I use my pastels dry only.

These pastel pencils have high a pigmentation with really excellent light-fastness and if you want to protect your pastel artwork from being damaged these can be treated with a fixative spray, but again this is something I no longer use myself as so far I've been unable to find a fixative that doesn't affect the colours of the pastels themselves.

I find these my number one go to when it comes to my pastel pencils. The are not to soft where they are impossible to use for detailed work, but they are neither to hard where they might leave marks or scratching on any delicate paper that I'm working with. I find these pastel pencils work wonderfully with my Velour paper that I use. It requires a soft hand as not to damage it while working the colour onto it, however it also needs a pencil that will leave a good coverage of pastel with each layer I create. I also find the colours "pop" when using them on the velour paper. Definitely a favourite of mine.

Faber-Castell PITT Pastel Pencils

These pastel pencils which have oil-free pastel leads, are used not only as the perfect complement to soft pastels for fine details, but they're also used on their own. They are also wax free so because of these two things it makes them perfectly suited for fine and elaborate details and ideal for figure drawing and fine filigree work.

Pitt pastel pencils have a very compact lead which is very economical to use, lasting me quite a bit longer than most of my other pastel pencils. The lead contains a high level of pigment, making them ideally suited both to drawing lines and shading, as well as excellent light-fastness. Just like the Polychromos coloured pencils, the pastel pencils can be easily smudged to create fine colour transitions and blending together to make some wonderful colour effects.

These are my first choice when it comes to needing to add really fine detail when I'm working on Clairefontaine Pastelmat or my Vellum board. I don't use them very often on the Velour paper as I find they can be a little hard and the colour doesn't pop as well as the Stabilo's, however when I'm drawing in fine lines that needs to be as clean as possible, or some detail that is so small any slight bleed onto the paper and you'd lose that clean affect, the Faber-Castells are great for just that. Another favourite and regularly used pastel pencil.

Caran d'Ache

Carefully selected by leading pastel artists, these pastel pencil assortments are intended for both beginners and experienced amateur or professional artists, for preliminary work and detailed finishing of a huge variety of subjects. They are made with first quality cedar wood, the matt colour cap matches the lead colour really well which is something I don't find very often.

I find the leads are really smooth to apply and very generous for blurring and leaves a soft texture that adheres well to the paper, especially the velour that I use. They have exceptional light-fastness and are also water-soluble not that I'd use them with water with the art I'm creating at present. They are ideal to use for creating backgrounds, having great transparency and great subtle colours when blending them together.

These are the go to pencil when I want to really blend a lot of colour together, especially on the velour. They are also great when using them on the Pastelmat and the Vellum board if I need to blend a lot of colour across the page. They are so soft however I don't use them for fine line detail at all, I find them just to loose once they hit the page and when sharpened unlike the two brands above, they do break very easily if you go to sharp so I tend to use these more when they are not quite blunt to blunt. 


Pastels are usually all about getting your hands dirty but not when using Pastel Pencils. The wide colour strip is powdery and soft so mixing and blending is really easy and clean (if you can resist using your fingers to blend!) They can be so easily mixed and blended together because they have a unique highly pigmented fine chalk texture which creates a beautiful lay down of soft colour which is ideal for creating detailed drawings and sketches.

These pastel pencils have all the creativity and colour of a traditional pastel with the convenience and control of a pencil. They are a medium pastel pencil, slightly chalky and though they should be able to achieve fine points, I honestly find them a little to soft for really fine detail. They have a soft powdery texture with a velvety smooth finish with unique colour tones ranging from full strength colour to the palest tints.

These pencils are suitable for use on your regular pastel paper pads, sketchbooks and even canvas for drafting! I'm told, though I've never used them on canvas myself. I have used them on Pastelmat and Vellum where they have worked just fine, though on the rough texture of the pastelmat they do wear down very quickly.
They can be sealed with a fixative after you've finished your piece just like traditional soft pastels, but as mentioned above, I don't use fixatives on my pastels, I just find they change the colour of the pastel making them darker and giving a duller effect. If however I do find a fixative that will work well with soft pastels and pencils then that will change as I'd love to find a way to protect my artwork.

The one thing I do love about Derwent pastel pencils is the colour choices. They have a huge range of colours which makes them so handy when you just can't find that shade you so desperately need, so these pencils are my go to for the colour range for sure. I also do love the fact that they are very easy to blend and they spread so far on the paper that though they do wear down fast on the rougher papers, they also spread so far across the page that it evens out pretty well.

These are probably my least used pencils at the moment but that is mainly due to the fact that I don't have a huge collection of colours at the moment, however i'm hoping that, that will change in the future, and I might just start using them a little more if I have the right colours, my browns, greens, greys and lights mainly.