Pastels fall into the category of a dry drawing
medium. They are generally finger-size
drawing sticks made of compressed powdered
pigments combined with a minimum of binder
such as kaolin clay. When applied to a velour
surface, they produce a bright and vivid
result. When pastels are applied linearly, it is
classed as drawing. When applied in the
pre-late 19th century method of rubbing,
smearing, and blending, it is regarded as
painting. I combine both methods, so my work
can be categorized as either drawing or
painting or both. While pastels adhere quite
well to a velour surface, I apply 5 to 7
treatments of final fixative for protection.
There are many types and brands of pastels. I use a combination of soft or extra soft, semi-hard, and hard. Soft pastels are mostly bulky and rather fat, and I use these for primarily broad areas such as skin, hair, clothing, etc. Semi-hard and hard pastels are usually square with pointed edges and are best used for detailed linear drawing. I use many of the brands available (except ones with toxic elements).
Rest assured, in commissioning me, you will receive a sturdy portrait on stiff
velour board, which will be shipped to you flat, rather than paper artwork,
rolled up and shipped to you in a tube. This is an important thing to consider
when commissioning an artist, especially a pastellist, as rolled up pastel artwork
on paper will remember its rolled up condition and prove to be nearly
impossible to handle without losing pastel, particularly during framing.
There is no surface pastels adhere to better than velour, which accepts
fixative very well without altering colors.