Best Soft Pastels to Buy in 2022 (Reviews and Buyer’s Guide)

Attention all newbie and veteran artists! Are you looking to expand your expertise by trying your hand at working with soft pastels? Or do you already dabble in drawing with soft pastels and want to upgrade your equipment?

Best Choice
Faber-Castell Creative Studio Soft Pastel (72 Pack)
Faber-Castell Creative Studio Soft Pastel (72 Pack)
Best Soft Pastels
Faber-Castell soft pastels are good for artists who like simplistic designs, rich colors, and easy blending. With their reasonable price tag, they make a great addition to any artist’s toolkit.
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Soft pastels are usually sold as sticks or pencils and are chalkier compared to oil pastels. They are great if you want your artwork to have a smoother texture and a more polished appearance without having to sacrifice color vibrancy.

What to Look for When Buying Best Soft Pastels

Size and Color

Soft pastels may come in square or cylindrical forms, and you can get them in half or full size. Half sticks come are usually over one inch in length while the full-sized pastels are two and a half inches on average.

Some sets can contain up to 100 or more colors. Experienced soft pastel artists may benefit from the larger sets so they can have access to a wide range. However, beginners should consider getting a small set to save money and get the hang of using pastels first. They can then invest in a set with more than 100 colors later on. Students and beginners probably do not need to have an extremely wide selection to start practicing with.

Another thing worth noting is that some pastel sets may cater to certain color families depending on their intended use. You may see sets with more earthy tones and blues for landscape paintings. Others have a better variety of nudes, peaches, pinks, and yellows because they cater to portrait artists. Finding a set with a balanced selection of each color will be the best option for novices.

Blending

Soft pastels are known to be better for blending compared to oil pastels. You can easily use your fingers to create shadows and add dimension. As for oil pastels, it’s better to use a cloth, brush, or paint knife to blend colors together. You probably wouldn’t want to get oil pastel stains on your hands anyway since they’re a tad more difficult to wash off.

Sealing Your Drawings

Since the pigment from soft pastels may not dry completely, you will need a fixative to lock the colors in. This will prevent you drawing from wrinkling, smudging, or becoming discolored. Most artists use a finishing spray for this.

If you do not have access to a finishing spray after completing a project, there are several alternatives. You can mist your canvas with rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits. Framing your drawing in glass or folding deli paper over it will also protect your work.

Best Soft Pastels on the Market

We have compiled our five favorite brands for soft pastels available on the market today and we want to share this information with you. Each soft pastel product is broken down into five parts: our first impressions, their performance, packaging, pros and cons, and our final thoughts. This guide should help you determine which set will fit you best.

ImageProduct 
Best Soft Pastels
Faber-Castell Creative Studio Soft Pastel (72 Pack) review
Faber-Castell Creative Studio Soft Pastel (72 Pack)
  • Most affordable price
  • Decent pigment for a budget set
  • Lightweight and portable packaging

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Best for Artists
Savoir-Faire Sennelier Soft Pastels Half Stick Set 80 review
Savoir-Faire Sennelier Soft Pastels Half Stick Set 80
  • Half-sticks are ideal for travel
  • Made with high quality, pure pigment
  • Softness of stick makes blending easy

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Best Value
Colour Block Soft Pastel Art Set (100 Pack) review
Colour Block Soft Pastel Art Set (100 Pack)
  • Widest range of colors
  • Gives off minimal dust
  • Protective packaging

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Best for Portraits
PRO ART Square Artist Pastel Set (Portrait Colors) review
PRO ART Square Artist Pastel Set (Portrait Colors)
  • Firm pastel pieces
  • The shape of the pastels easily creates broad strokes
  • Good color coverage

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Best for Beginners
Arteza Set of 72 Artist-Grade Soft Pastel Sticks review
Arteza Set of 72 Artist-Grade Soft Pastel Sticks
  • Designed and created by artists
  • Blend easily
  • 6 dozen colors

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1. Faber-Castell Creative Studio Soft Pastel (72 Pack) – Best Soft Pastels

Faber-Castell Creative Studio Soft Pastel (72 Pack)

Unpacking and First Impressions

The Faber-Castell Creative Studio soft pastels are perfect for both beginner and experienced artists. The set comes with a wide array of colors, including blues and greens which is rare to find in an affordable art supply product like this one. There are 72 vivid color options in the pack which are mostly matte and there are no metallic colors included.

The Creative Studio soft pastels come in a standard cardboard box – nothing too fancy but it does the job. The sticks sit in foam slots to prevent them from moving around and are placed into an inner cardboard box that slides out from the outer casing. This might be good news for people who tend to drop things often because it decreases the chances of the pastels breaking.

Performance

These pastels perform well on most surfaces with rich pigmentation. The pastels feel pretty soft and have a hint of grittiness behind them. Compared to other pastels, these can be quite dusty but it shouldn’t make too much of a mess on your workstation.

These soft pastels are slightly more difficult to blend than others on this list but they still feel creamy and smooth underneath your fingertips. They’re also pretty easy to apply, especially since the surface is very responsive so there isn’t much pressure required before they start showing up on paper or canvas.

The colors come out bright and vivid. What’s great about them is that although they don’t produce rich results immediately, blending them for a little longer will intensify the shades.

One thing you should consider is that these pastels are very short and this may make them slightly inconvenient for some people. However, the shorter sticks have their advantages when you need to make precise strokes as they’re easier to control.

Pros and Cons

Ideal for people on a budget (ex. Students)
Lightweight and portable packaging
A decent number of color varieties
Half-sized for easier control
Can be a bit dusty
Shortest sticks among counterparts

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Faber-Castell Creative Studio soft pastels offer good value for their price. With 72 pieces included, there’s plenty of variety among different colors as well as light and dark shades. They’re easy to apply, blendable, and perform rich colors.

Quality
10
Price
10
Dustless
8
Ease of Use
9
Result
9.3
It would have been great if these came in bigger sizes for easier and prolonged use. The plus side is Faber-Castell is a widely distributed brand and it won’t be a hassle to find replacements.

2. Savoir-Faire Sennelier Soft Pastels Half Stick Set 80 – Best for Artists

Unpacking and First Impressions

Savoir-Faire Sennelier Soft Pastels Half Stick Set 80

The Savoir-Faire Sennelier Soft Pastels Half Stick Set 80 is a French brand of soft pastels that come in a variety of colors. The set includes an assortment of dark and light grays, blues, greens, and browns. They have a very smooth texture with a little bit of grit to them and are easy to blend.

These are great quality soft pastels that will produce vivid artwork. This set is perfect for artists who want their paintings to really POP.

The set comes in a cardboard box that is convenient for storage and traveling.

Performance

These half-stick pastels are easy to hold and control due to their short size. They also blend easily for a beautiful gradient effect on your artwork. They’re best used by artists who need a lot of control over their strokes, such as portrait painters.

This set comes in an assortment of earth-toned colors including blues greens pinks purples making them great for landscapes or projects requiring more subdued moods. The pigment is incredibly vivid and the pastels are non-toxic so they’re safe for children to use as well!

The softness of the sticks makes them easy to blend, and they are less likely to break.

The downside to these is that they can be quite dusty so you might want to invest in an airbrush or wear a mask when using them.

Pros and Cons

Softness of stick makes blending easy
Less likely to break
Can be dusty
Small size may not be suitable for large projects or long periods of time

Final Thoughts

This set has many different colors which make it perfect for portraits and landscapes! It’s very easy to hold due to its size which makes sketching really smooth! Again, there can be some problems with debris if this brand gets dusty easily…

Quality
10
Price
8
Dustless
8
Ease of Use
9
Result
8.8
As expected from Sennelier pastels, these are incredibly well-made. The sticks have a nice weight to them and feel very sturdy in the hand. They’re not too fragile but just hard enough that they won’t crumble while you’re using them.

3. Colour Block Soft Pastel Art Set (100 Pack) – Best Value

Colour Block Soft Pastel Art Set

Unpacking and First Impressions

This soft pastel set is a great value for the money. It’s perfect for artists of all levels since the wide array of colors allows for different styles, moods, and techniques. With 100 colors included, there is a decent range of yellows and greens but the set is a bit lacking in purple and blue shades. The colors are vibrant and true to their tube counterparts.

These pastels are packaged in a rectangular, dark wooden box, giving off a rustic vibe. This attractive packaging may make a wonderful gift for the artsy people in your life. It’s pretty sturdy so the box will protect your pastels, and it’s a portable carrying case as well. The individual slots keep each stick organized and protected during transit.

The Colour Block pastels might best suit the needs of traveling, on-the-go artists. When the box is opened, the sticks are organized into 4 vertical rows and are sitting on a protective foam cushion underneath.

We have collated a list of the best paper for oil pastels to achieve great results with your pastels.

Performance

These pastels are well-made and easy to hold with a good amount of pigment. We found that these soft pastels blended smoothly and had great color payoff. The pigment did not fade even after multiple layers were applied.

The sticks are square-shaped with straight edges which make them ideal for creating sharp and harsh lines. The colors are very bright and their intensity comes out nicely on most surfaces, especially on paper.

They tend to have a bit of a chalky consistency. While soft pastels do have some chalk in them, you may be looking for a set that is creamier. If that’s the case, just keep this in mind before you decide to purchase this.

One downside was that they could be a bit dusty when working with them, so make sure you have a designated place for you to put your used up sticks!

Pros and Cons

100 different colors to choose from
Unique packaging
Easy to carry around
Minimal dust
Has a slightly chalky texture

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Colour Block soft pastels seem to provide great value. The fact that you get a diverse set of 100 shades for their price is an excellent deal. The elegant wooden box alone makes the set well worth its price.

Quality
9
Price
9
Dustless
8
Ease of Use
8
Result
8.5
This set has the best range of colors. Others often neglect the neutral tones but this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. Colour Block is a smaller lesser-known brand but their pastels are fantastic.

4. PRO ART Square Artist Pastel Set (Portrait Colors) – Best Soft Pastels for Portraits

PRO ART Square Artist Pastel Set (Portrait Colors)

Unpacking and First Impressions

The PRO ART Square Artist soft pastels come in a cardboard box with a transparent spot on top so you can immediately see which colors are included. The colors are perfect for portrait painting since they feature different shades of skin tones, which is something that not all brands offer. The neutral tones such as white, black, and brown are sufficient to create multi-dimensional drawings.

There are 24 pieces in total so it’s great if you’re looking for variety when creating portraits or other illustrations where shadows play an important role in the overall design.

The sticks are much harder than the others on this list. Beginners may have a more difficult time using these.

Performance

Since these have a harder composition, they don’t crumble easily and will stay intact longer. That combined with the square shape of the sticks make them ideal for larger strokes. Artists who work with large canvases may want to consider these pastels.

The pastels have a buttery feel when applied to paper and they don’t require much pressure in order for colors to show up clearly. This makes them very comfortable to use, even though some of the sticks may be slightly longer than expected.

They also blend nicely which means it’s easy to get light or soft shading effects – however this does depend on how often you find yourself touching these pastels since dust can form if left untouched too long (which could make blending more difficult).

Pro Art pastels do shed dust particles but they probably won’t leave a huge mess on your canvas. Your hands may be stained after using them as well but the pigment will come off easily with soap and water.

Pros and Cons

Good coverage due to square shape
Does not break easily
Firmer than other pastels
Gives off quite a bit of dust

Final Thoughts

The best asset of this kit is the assortment of gorgeous earth-toned colors. This makes them great for picturesque paintings of landscapes and projects that require a more subdued mood.

The fact that they’re a bit harder means they’re less likely to cause you frustration by suddenly breaking into pieces while you’re working.

Quality
8
Price
7
Dustless
8
Ease of Use
7
Result
7.5
What’s great about these pastels is that once you run out of certain colors, you can order smaller sets of an individual color or color families.  They’re mostly only available online but the company is based in Oregon, so it won’t take ages to arrive.

5. Arteza Set of 72 Artist-Grade Soft Pastel Sticks – Best for Beginners

Arteza Set of 72 Artist-Grade Soft Pastel Sticks

Unpacking and First Impressions

This 72 color set is perfect for artists who want a variety of colors to work with.

This set comes in a sturdy cardboard box with plastic inserts to hold the pastels securely. There is enough space on each insert for you to write the name of every color which makes it easy when searching for specific shades! The box is very well-thought-out and easy to store or transport in your art bag.

The sticks themselves come neatly organized by color and are wrapped inside the box. Each stick also has a sticker label that tells you what number they are in your collection, which can be helpful if there’s more than one person using this same set.

Performance

The biggest pro about these soft pastels is their ease of use; no matter how hard or long you press down, they won’t break easily as some brands do. They blend very well too but will still leave behind some visible strokes, which might not be ideal for those who prefer a completely smooth finish.

These pastel crayons have a very smooth texture, making them easy to blend but not as much control over shape compared to other brands. They work well from the lightest shades all the way down into dark tones without showing any gaps or fading out too quickly.

These pastels work well for both detailed work and large strokes. However, these pastels may be more difficult to control than other brands due to their lack of grit.

Pros and Cons

Ease of use
Blend easily
Leave behind some visible strokes
Some shades can be quite light

Final Thoughts

A set like this is perfect for beginners who want some variety but don’t know which brand they should buy yet since it comes in many different colors. However, they can be quite dusty so you might want to avoid wearing white clothing when working with them!

Quality
7
Price
7
Dustless
7
Ease of Use
8
Result
7.3
The Arteza Artist-Grade Soft Pastel Sticks come in a variety of colors which range from light to dark. They have a very smooth texture and are easy to blend.

1 thought on “Best Soft Pastels to Buy in 2022 (Reviews and Buyer’s Guide)”

  1. I really like your post, like your way you write. It is so detailed and easy to understand. After read your post I found one that is suitable for me. But I hope you will include more produce in your posts for everyone has more choices

    Reply

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