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  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.



    By Emma Ralph

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.


    PLEASE NOTE: You Do NOT Have the Right to Reprint or Resell this e-Book

    You Also MAY NOT Give Away, Sell, Copy or Share the Content Herein

    If you obtained this report from anywhere other than you have a pirated copy. Please help stop Internet crime by reporting this to: mailto:[email protected] 2009 Copyright Emma Ralph ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any informational storage or retrieval system without express written, dated and signed permission from the author. DISCLAIMER AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: The information presented herein represents the view of the author as of the date of publication. Because of the rate with which conditions change, the author reserves the right to alter and update her opinion based on the new conditions. The book is for informational purposes only. While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided in this book, neither the author nor her affiliates/partners assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. If advice concerning legal or related matters is needed, the services of a fully qualified professional should be sought.

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.



    Chapter 1: Introduction Page 4

    Chapter 2: Pan Pastels Described Page 6

    Chapter 3: Tools Page 9

    Chapter 4: Techniques Page 16

    Chapter 5: Mess, Transport etc Page 24

    Chapter 6: Conclusion Page 28

    Resources Page 29

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.





    Most of the artistic mediums in use today like oil paints, watercolors and pastels have been around for hundreds of years. Theyve been thoroughly and exhaustively used to create all manner of artworks, and theres next to nothing that artists dont know about them.

    Pan pastels are something different. Theyre something that doesnt come along very often: a totally new artistic medium. Of course theyre not a world away from soft pastels, but as well see in this eBook, they really do differ in some highly significant ways from their much older cousins.

    If youre reading this youre almost certainly already familiar with soft pastels, and perhaps youve used hard pastels and oil pastels as well. Your first question is therefore likely to be, whats the difference between pan pastels and the soft pastels that Im already using? Well answer that question and many more.

    A word about nomenclature: the official name of pan pastels is in fact PanPastel, but well keep referring to them by the descriptive pan pastels throughout the eBook. The official website of PanPastel, is

    Pan pastels are made by the company Colorfin LLC ( Colorfin say that they wanted to create a new tool for artistic expression by marrying a dry medium with a wet-medium painterly technique. Did they succeed? Well find out!

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.


    Colorfin also make a range of tools for use with pan pastels. As well see theyre an important part of the pan pastel experience.

    Ok! Lets continue.

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.




    First things first: what are pan pastels? Pan pastels are made from high quality artists pigments using a manufacturing process that, according to Colorfin, requires only a minimal amount of binder. The mixture is shaped and pressed into tablets that are contained in round, clear plastic pans. The pans have a diameter of 2.38 (62mm) and each contains 9ml of color. (As an aside, Colorfin claim that each pan contains 40% more pigment than the average soft pastel stick, consequently yielding approximately 4 times the coverage.)

    Pan pastels come in 20 basic mass tones. There are also 20 tints of the mass tones (that is, mass tone + white), 20 shades of the mass tones (mass tone + black), and 20 extra dark shades of the mass tones as well.

    The clear plastic pans that pan pastels come in have screw-on clear plastic lids, and the pans are also threaded at the bottom so that the pans can be stacked and screwed together. Colorfin also make clear plastic storage jars the same diameter as the pastel pans that are also threaded so that they can be stacked and screwed together with the pastels pans.

    So: unlike the pre-existing kinds of pastels (soft pastels, hard pastels and oil pastels) pan pastels arent shaped into hand-holdable sticks. They discard the hand-held format entirely in favor of a pressed pan format.

    At this point you may be thinking but if they arent hand-holdable, how do you get them onto your painting surface? The answer is that like with wet

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.


    paints, you use a tool of some kind to lift the pigment from the pan and apply it to the painting surface. More on this below under the Tools section.


    By now you might be wondering why pan pastels use a pressed pan format. After all, soft pastels, hard pastels and oil pastels all use a stick format, and it seems to work well well enough that theyve been around for hundreds of years and are virtually unchanged from when they were first invented. Why did Colorfin decide to discard the stick format in favor of pressed pans? There are two answers: softness and vibrancy.


    Having to shape pigment into hand-holdable sticks imposes some limitations on the medium. Soft pastels are, as the name implies, soft, but still they need to be firm enough to withstand being handled without falling apart.

    Pan pastels are a considerable degree softer again than soft pastels. Colorfin claims that they are the softest pastel in the world, and that might well be correct.

    Softness, which we could alternatively call creaminess, is a great property in a pastel medium. There are two reasons. The first is that softness makes pan pastels feel and behave more like wet paint. Theyre smooth, uniform and in the words of one blogger they go on like a dream.

    The second reason why softness/creaminess is a great property is that it means less dust is given off during the painting process. With pan pastels, what goes onto the painting surface stays there, and isnt easily dislodged (as unfortunately can be the case with soft pastels). If you currently use soft pastels and the mess/dust is a problem for you, then you should definitely try pan pastels just for this reason alone.

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.



    In addition to being very soft, pan pastels are also very color-rich, more so than even the most vibrant soft pastels. Again, thats presumably because as they dont need to hold a shape, pan pastels can be made with more pigment and minimal binder. The advantage of this quality is that you dont need to layer as much, and risk overloading your painting surface, in order to get the rich, bright colors that you want.


    Its hard to overstate how significant the above two properties of pan pastels are. Extreme softness and rich, vibrant colors are two highly desirable traits in a dry artistic medium. Soft pastels are already soft and vibrant, but pan pastels take these two properties to the next level.

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.




    As noted above, Colorfin make a range of tools for use with pan pastels. Collectively, these tools are known as Sofft Tools (see

    There are four categories of Sofft Tools made by Colorfin: Sofft Knives; Sofft Art Sponges; Sofft Shapers, and Sofft Applicators.

    Sofft Knives

    The basic tools used with pan pastels are called Sofft Knives. Most of the time its a Sofft Knife that youll reach for when you want to transport the pigment from pan to painting surface. In terms of their shape, Sofft Knives are clearly modeled on painting knives, with flared handles and offset heads.

    Colorfin makes four different Sofft Knives, all of which are identical except for the shape of their heads. The four types/shapes are:

    No.1 Round:

    No.2 Flat:

  • 2010 Emma Ralph - All Rights Reserved.


    No.3 Oval:

    No.4 Point:

    Each of the four Sofft Knives has a corresponding soft micropore sponge cover, shaped to fit over its particular head shape. These are officially called Sofft Covers. The Sofft Covers are non-abrasive, so they glide easily over even toothy paper (and this is true of all the Sofft Tools). Its the sponge head that picks up the pigment (more of this below under the Techniques section).

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