Friday, October 28, 2011

The Wonders of PanPastels

Earlier this year, Joanne Livingston of DesertMountainBear was sharing her method of using pastels for hand-shading her bears.  I was spellbound.  I have been looking and looking to no avail for a way to easily hand shade my bears that would be permanent and light fast.  And, lo and behold, Joanne led me right to what I needed.  She is SO generous with her information and insights.  So, taking a page from her book, I decided it was high time to tell you what I found out late this summer.

We have a marvelous art store in our area--quite marvelous.  Even my Mom (who is an abstract artist) likes to take pilgrimages to The Art Store when she visits us.  So, finally, this summer I made my way there to search out appropriate hard pastels that I could sand into a fine dust and apply to my bears.  However, my plans detoured after talking to one of their amazingly knowledgable staff.

She told me that, yes, I could make a dust from hard pastels, but that using the new product, PanPastels, would be easier and extremely effective.

Well, she sold me!  They truly are fabulous.  They are kind of like pastels that have already been ground up into a fine dust.  There are special foam tools (like the one above) made for using with them, but, as time has worn on, I find that I prefer to use a VERY short and stiff brush to apply the pastels around the eyes and foot pad details and a big, fluffy one to apply a dash of colors on the fur (like around the ears).  I just couldn't get the foam applicators to be precise enough in tight corners.  Oh, and I also frequently use my fingers to mix and apply the pastels, as well.  One should never forget the convenience of the finger tips!

I just lightly tap the brush in the pastel and then dab the brush on a piece of paper towel to remove the extra dust so that the pastel isn't applied to dark and thick. Removing the extra pastel works quite nicely for being sure that the color doesn't rub off onto anything else (like clothing) when hugging a bear--it's nice and permanent (kind of like how one uses a stencil brush and removes most of the paint to get an even application when stenciling).

PanPastels come in lots of lovely colors and the pans twist onto each other so you can store them in a neat and tidy stack--very nifty and convenient.  I've since bought a few more colors like ivory, pink, and lilac and am never disappointed in how lovely they look on the bears.  How more perfect could they be?!  They are lightfast, permanent, and have dense beautiful colors.
If you are interested in trying them yourself and you don't have an amazing art store in your area, Dick Blick carries all of the colors.
Heaps of Hugs,


  1. Joanne is lovely about sharing her knowledge, and thank you for sharing this too :o) I've been using my fingers and the pastels and got really rather messy!

  2. Funny enough today I was looking into using oil pastels. These seem a great idea. Thanks to both of you for sharing this.

  3. What an interesting product! Thanks for sharing, Cheryl. Do you think they'd be good for cloth dolls, too, on muslin faces, etc? Hmmmmm. Another product to try. :-)

  4. I must say your very generous too! it is very nice of you to share. HUGS Lorraine xx

  5. Thanks so much for the information on Pastels. I have seen them for awhile now, but I have never tried them. I must give it a go.

  6. I found a box of oil pastels at an estate sale ... they originally cost $1.10 but I paid only $1!! With a stiff stencil brush, they work well!


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