Soft pastels are the traditional form of pastels and also the most used. They have a very high concentration of pigment that is held together by the least amount of gum binder as possible. As a result, they crumble very easily, but their colors are wonderfuly intense.
This fragile consistency and powdery texture makes them well suited to blending, layering on lots of color, and for painterly effects. You can also use the edges for fine lines, but most artists use hard pastels or pastel pencils for detail work and preliminary sketches.
Soft pastels come in a wide range of colors - more than other pastel types - with some manufactuers offering up to 500 colors! Soft pastels come in cylindrical sticks and a range of sizes: whole sticks, half sticks, and thick sticks. You can buy them individually, but if you're buying your first pastels it may be easier to buy a starter set with a balanced color palette that you can build on over time.
Each manufacturer uses a slightly different formula which can affect the powdery texture and how easily they crumble.
Here at Tritec we currently stock a high quality, Australian made Soft Pastel by Art Spectrum.