Ann McMillan Art
Fine Art in Color

Pastel Supplies

Pastel Supplies


Pastel supplies


Jerry's Artarama Shopping Cart

Pastels are instantly rewarding for new painters!  But wait, you ask, "Aren't pastels a drawing material?"  They can be, but not the way I use and teach them.  For me, pastels are pre-mixed brush loads of vibrant paint.  Most beginning painting students struggle with mixing clean colors. Soft Pastels bypass that struggle and get you right into the process. Here is a list of my favorite supplies  (p.s. another advantage to pastel?  It's a short list):


  • One box Sennelier 80 half-stick set.  This plein air set, or this one both are good starter kits. If you want to live a little larger this one has a larger color selection.   The more pastel colors the better.  Professionals usually have about 500 individual colors.
  • Five or six sheets of Sanded uart paper or Art Spectrum sanded paper, at least 11 x 14, choose a mid-range grit. course paper eats up pastels, too fine and the paper won't take enough pastel in.  It is hard to paint tiny pastels.
  • A raggedy, old bristle brush (this serves as an eraser).
  •  About a half a cup of rubbing alcohol or gamsol in a sealed container.
  • A soft drawing pencil or a conte crayon for sketching out compositions on your paper.
  • Some people don't like the pastel dust on their skin, in which case you need Gloves in a Bottle or just paint old gloves. Hint: Gloves in a Bottle is just good old lanolin. Any moisturizer serves just as well.
  • A board to tape your paper to.
  • Tape.
  • Paper towels (VIVA)!!!!!

Sources for awesome pastels:

Other great brands for my style of pastel painting:

Notes on what not to buy:

  • Rembrandts are too hard to use for my methods, even though they are labeled as "soft".
  • Anything that Michael's sells. The quality is probably not good enough.
  • Unsanded paper, such as canson, mi-tientes paper.  This stuff is for drawing with pastels rather than painting with them-- it does not accept enough pastel before it runs out of surface.