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Pastel Painting with PanPastel Soft Pastels

PanPastel Soft Pastel Colours are a fantastically versatile medium loved by soft pastel artists, mixed media painters and creatives of all kinds. And, although they’re a fairly new format, it’s not hard to see why they’ve gained such massive popularity. PanPastels look a little like a make-up compact, made from pastel pigment compressed into a metal pan. These pastels have a super smooth consistency when you compare them to traditional dry pastels. And, unlike pastel sticks, you can apply these pastels with a range of special sponges and knives.

We’ve recently updated our shop with a range of PanPastel colour sets and accessories, and wanted to give you a rundown of what’s available.

What are PanPastels?

PanPastels are a professional grade soft pastel colour. Unlike the soft pastel sticks you’ll likely have come across, PanPastels come in an unusual pan form. They look similar to a make-up compact and feature a disc of compacted, pigment-based colour. Each cake has a lovely soft, velvety texture that makes it remarkably easy to laydown rich colours. They also contain exceptionally high levels of pigment. In fact, their recipe uses very little binder at all – so you’ll experience pure pigment in every stroke. Each pan has the equivalent to 40% more than your average pastel stick. Because of this high pigmentation, PanPastels offer fantastic coverage and exceptional lightfastness – in fact their coverage is 4 to 5 times better than sticks!

Grayscale PanPastel Soft Pastels and drawing materials with a detailed drawing of a leopard on black paper

The pan format allows you to work with and apply colour in ways that would be difficult with a traditional stick. The large flat surface allows you to easily pick up colour with a number of tools. This gives you the freedom to apply colour in bold, painterly marks that you’d more commonly associate with fluid colours. Owing to the pigmentation and soft texture, the application smooth and effortless. These qualities also make it easy to cover large areas quickly. Plus, PanPastels are much less dusty than traditional pastels, and they don’t require the use of fixative!

PanPastel Sets

Assorted PanPastel Sets and Accessories

We currently offer PanPastels in a variety of assorted sets. There’s a perfect set for all kinds of artists whether you’re looking for a starter kit to get you going, or want a specific range of colours suited to landscapes and shadows. Each PanPastel set offers between five and twenty colours, complemented by a small selection of Sofft pastel painting tools.

Starter Sets

PanPastel Painting Starter Set of 5
PanPastel Painting Starter Set of 5
PanPastel Painting Starter Set of 10 Colours
PanPastel Painting Starter Set of 10 Colours

Our starter sets are available in sets of either five or ten colours and include a good selection of colours to get you started. The smaller set includes one of each of the primary colours, plus black and white. The larger starter set expands on this selection with a couple of secondary colours plus some earth tones. Either set is great for artists’ new to the format who are looking to experiment with colour mixing.

Tints and Shades

PanPastel Permanent Red in a variety of tints and shades
An example of a dark, shade, mass tone and tint in Permanent Red

For every ‘mass tone’ available in the PanPastel range there is a selection of complementary tints, shades and darks. Tints mix the original mass tone with white, to lighten the colour. On the other hand, shades mix in a touch of black, making them darker. Darks contain even more black, so make the mass tone even darker still. Using these premixed colours makes colour mixing and shading much easier. Each of the tints, shades and darks sets includes 5 variations of the 5 basic colours; Hansa Yellow, Permanent Red, Violet, Ultramarine Blue Shade and Chromium Oxide Green. There are additional sets for extra dark shadow and earth colours.

Additional Colours

PanPastel Blues Set of 5
PanPastel Blues Set of 5
PanPastel Greens Set of 10
PanPastel Greens Set of 10

For artists who have heavy use of certain colour groups, we also offer sets of additional colours in greens, blues and greys. Available in sets of 5 or 10 colours, these collections are perfect for artists that need to supplement a starter set with further colours for landscape or seascape paintings.

Large Sets

PanPastel Painting Set of 20 Colours
Painting Set of 20 Colours
PanPastel Landscape Set of 20 Colours
Landscape Set of 20 Colours
PanPastel Portrait Set of 20 Colours
Portrait Set of 20 Colours

For PanPastel enthusiasts we stock three larger sets of 20 colours – a general Painting Set, Landscape Set and a Portrait Set. As their names suggest, the Painting set includes a broad range of colours perfect for all kinds of subjects, while the Landscape set includes a range of natural hues perfect for landscape painting.

Each of the pans in the sets stack and interlock for easy storage, or you can pop the colours in one of our PanPastel trays so they’re ready to go whenever your creativity strikes.

Sofft Pastel Painting Accessories

An Assortment of Sofft Tools for PanPastel Soft Pastel Painting

PanPastel’s Sofft Pastel Painting Accessories let you work with soft pastel colours in innovative new ways. We offer pastel painting tools in a couple of variations; sofft sponges and sofft knives. Sofft Sponges look and feel similar to a make-up sponge, only they are made with a specially formulated micropore material. Just one sweep across your PanPastels and the sponge will be loaded with rich, vibrant colour.

Artist using a purple PanPastel Soft Pastel with a Sofft Sponge Applicator
Artist using a Sofft Knife to apply a stroke of magenta PanPastel soft pastel

Sofft Knives look and feel like a painter’s knife, only they’re finished with a sponge tip. This tip is made from the same micropore sponge as other Sofft tools, so it’s wonderfully easy to load them up with colour. These knives and sponges make it easy to lay down colour with smooth consistency. Additionally, their unique shapes make it easy to work with soft pastel in a loose, expressive and painterly manner. Plus they’re easy to remove and clean!