Pastels. Pftooie! My current opinion is based on very little experience, virtually no experience at all. Right now I would rate watercolors above pastels and even acrylics above them, too. That's a lot for me to say, but if you've been reading my blog for any time at all, you'll recognize this for what it is - an opinion based on too little experience.
Today I started my first pastel, and I don't think it's going very well. Being the first one I've ever done may have something to do with it. Think about it. Pastels like the ones I am using are shaped like the chalks I used in school but are a little bit softer.
|Pastel Practice Piece|
However, the surface on which I am drawing is nothing like a blackboard. Blackboards are smooth because if you were as lucky as I was, your blackboard was still slate. The paper I used today is - well, paper. But it isn't smooth; it has texture like a honeycomb. The other side is smoother - instead of a honeycomb it has more of a ripple effect.
Now, try to put those two things together. Soft chalk on a bumpy surface. If you rub the chalk over that surface, it adheres to the high points of the paper leaving the valleys looking like white regular shapes. Then you make a pass with the chalk going across the swatch you've colored. Some of the valleys are filled in, but mostly the peaks just get darker. Can you smudge the color to distribute it more evenly? Yes, but I don't recommend using your fingers. Talk about dirty! A quill of paper can be used or even a Q tip. Both have their strengths, but both cause loose chalk particle to fly around.
Mixing colors on the paper is also possible, but I don't find the colors mix as I expected them to. It will take more practice to know ahead of time what I will get! But here is the biggest drawback of all; pastels have no points! Imagine writing a note with an unsharpened #2 Ticonderoga pencil. There must be a way to do it, and I bet it has to do with getting used to them.