Common problems are:
- Some brands can feel abrasive and scratchy. Dark shades and tints of soft pastels have a reputation for not being the softest of soft pastels.
- Other brands are 'too hard' and fail to release their pigment load easily
- It can also be very difficult to get hold of good rich colour in dark shades. Dark should not mean that colour disappears.
Many a pastel artist has developed a quest for set of pastels which are both soft and dark
I started out with a set of Rembrandt Pastels and found the dark shades to be a tad too hard for my liking. I addedin Daler Rowney Soft Pastels and liked those - but they disappeared a bit too fast for my liking
I then got a set of Unison Darks and was smitten. These are very dark and yet have good pigment colour - but are also not abrasive or "too hard".
My set of Unison Darks - photographed when still relatively pristine!
I've also tried out some dark Terry Ludwig pastels in a pastel workshop. Some pastel artists comment that these work better on abrasive supports rather than paper where to some they feel a little too greasy. There are two sets of dark Ludwig Pastels:
- Intense Darks #1 set is red/sienna/ochre/brown oriented
- Intense Darks #2 set is blue/grey/purple/mauve oriented
|Terry Ludwig - 60 Intense Darks|
|Diane Townsend - soft form. Dark 12 piece set|
|Sennelier Pastels - Set of 24 dark tones|
Daler Rowney now have a dark set - 8 Set Dark Selection Code 153 902 008 - you can see a picture of them here
Girault are said to have a dark set but I've never seen one and can't find one on their website. Others may have developed specific dark sets and if so I'd love to hear about them.
Which dark pastels do you like best - and how do you buy them?
Please vote in the NEW OPINION POLL Which is your favourite brand of dark soft pastels? in Pastels - Resources for Artists
I'd also love to hear about your favourite brands of dark pastels either in connection with the poll or by commenting below.
ALSO How do you like to buy your dark pastels?
- as a specific set of dark pastels (which can be quite expensive)
- or in singles from open stock
Links to dark sets
- UNISON COLOUR | Pastels - Unison Dark Set
- Terry Ludwig Pastels: 30 Intense darks #1
- Terry Ludwig Pastels: 30 Intense Darks #2
- Diane Townsend - set of 12 dark soft form pastels
- Mount Vision - dark sets of pastels
- (Review) Making a Mark: Unison Pastels: the Darks and the Lights
- Wetcanvas Pastels - Recommendations for darks - sets or individuals