Water Soluble Pastels

Water soluble pastels are a relatively new medium, and they come in two different forms -- soft pastels and oil pastels. In both cases, the colors of these pastels can be thinned out with water or blended together.

Holbein produces water soluble soft pastels that can be used as any other soft pastel, along with the added feature of creating watercolor-like washes with a brush. They are available in two different sizes -- jumbo sticks (similar to standard pastel sticks) and small sticks (similar to a half-stick pastel). The Jumbo Sticks measure 3" x 5/8'', the Small Sticks measure 1" x 3/8''. I found these at Cheap Joe's Art Supply ranging from $38.00 - $80.00 a set, and Art Express sold them individually for about $3.25.

Binney and Smith water-soluble oil pastels are designed for students. These creamy pastels come in packages of 12 or 24 different colors. Retail price is about $5.00 for a pack of 12; discount price runs about $4.00.

For tips on how to use these pastels, check out this page by Caran d'Archâ„¢ art supplies.

Although I personally haven't tried these pastels, artists at the forum Wet Canvas have discussed their use. To read their comments, click here.