Art of Using Pastel

The Art of Using Pastel

One of the most common media used in expressing arts is pastel as it can be used in drawing and/or painting activities. Using pastel sometimes becomes confusing if the art piece created from it should be called a Drawing Fan or a painting. Actually, it can be both or neither depending on the style of the artist and the way he wants his piece to be perceived.

In this article, we’ll show you the features of pastel that differentiates it from other mediums.


Pastel first appeared in France in the late 1600s in the form of a paste. Its first form is more of a paint consistency that requires a brush or other similar tools to spread it out on a surface. Modern-day pastels are now in a very convenient form, and it already has its own characteristics and features.

Pastel is most often produced from powdered pigments and binders. It is usually in the form of a stick and can be used with bare hands or with a brush. It is a loose material that can easily stick in all types of surfaces. In contrary to the usual perception about pastels, there are actually a lot of color variations that it may offer aside from light baby colors.

It is more convenient to use than paint if the artist is trying to create an illusion of soft edges and to make his piece look more freehand. There are 5 main types of pastel: hard, Pan Pastel, soft, oil pastel, and pencil pastel. Each of them has different characteristics but all with the same loose texture and soft color quality.


Pastel is mostly used as a medium on freehand sketches, poster painting, and abstract pieces. It is quite confusing to know that if by using pastel as a medium, you are drawing or actually painting. If you look it up on a dictionary, pastel is just an art medium you may use in art activities.

Drawing is using any pigmented material and scraping it on surfaces to create figures while painting is creating art by using pigments that may or may not require the use of other tools such as brush and sticks.

By using pastel as a medium, an artist may freely choose to use it in a manner like he was using it in drawing and/or painting. After all, art is rooted in the concept of expressionism and free-thinking.


Pastel allows artists to be more creative in such a way that it is a medium that doesn’t have limits. It may be used as a bare pastel, mixed with water, or even as a powdered pigment. Pastel also has this velvety texture which may be compared to matte or puffy paint consistency. It may help the artist achieve the right color quality he would need for his piece.

The rich colors of pastel can also be easily blended with other colors due to its texture. Pastels are commonly used by artists that create an abstract-style painting, impressionism, and realistic paintings.

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