Friday, February 26, 2010
Blick Artists Pastels
4" x 6"
Blick Artist soft pastel sample plus a Terry Ludwig and Sennelier for comparison
White sketchbook paper
Anything will go well on sanded papers, I've noticed, so I tested this pastel in my sketchbook. I also made some random marks on a scrap of PastelMat just to see if it would cause a problem on coated paper -- not.
The full range of 90 colors is ludicrously inexpensive at $124.99 at Dick Blick. This isn't the first time I've tried a Blick house brand product, so I was optimistic about the quality when I emailed them for a sample. Happily, the sample they sent is a good full strength color -- it's hard to tell sometimes with the swatches whether a color has full intensity or not. Cadmium Red Hue is definitely strong and intense!
The tip of the pastel was crumbled on one end, possibly from the way it was packaged as a sample. Other friends noticed the tip was crumbled on theirs, but once past the little bit of cracked part it went on very smooth and soft. Good strong pigment saturation and a nice medium soft texture a bit softer than Rembrandt.
I compared it with a Terry Ludwig pastel, which was much softer, and a Sennelier that was also distinctly softer -- but it was closer to the Sennelier than to a Rembrandt. I definitely enjoy this texture.
The full range of these colors include hues rather than mineral pigments, so that keeps the cost down and also makes it safe to use these around my grandkids. That's another point in favor of my picking up the full range. I noticed a good variety of tints in the full range judging by swatches, also plenty of muted and grayed colors for those who enjoy using muted colors.
Based on the swatches, it seems a little short on deep dark colors, but there is a full spectrum of tints and several degrees of tints available in some. There is a dark green, Terre Verte Hue 4, plus Prussian Blue, so that'll help for depths of foliage and so on, as well as a couple of very deep dark browns and Chestnut Red 4 for dashes of a deep dark reddish tone in shadows.
Overall, this product is a great value. I'd definitely recommend it for beginners because of the price, quality and lack of toxicity. Once again, Blick has created a "house brand" artist grade product that stands up well to comparison with other artist grade brands -- and every time they do, my wallet sighs in relief!
The sticks are round and wrapped, about the size of a Sennelier or Rembrandt stick, pretty standard. I don't have a photo of just the one stick, but you can get a sample for yourself emailing Dick Blick through their contact form. Definitely give these a try, they can seriously help start or fill out the medium-soft range!