Pastel Art Blog

Lightfastness of Pastel Pencils

Lightfastness of pastel pencils. Information about lightfast ratings of different brands.

I use pastel pencils for all my detailed work plus sometimes for base layers too but did you know the lightfastness of pastel pencils varies from brand to brand so not all pastel pencils are created equal!!!

Some pastel colour pencils facts for you - Did you know.....

✏ Not all pastel pencils (pans and sticks too) are lightfast! If you want to produce archival and professional work it's best to find the colour charts for each brand and cherry pick the lightfast colours you will use the most. No brand offers a complete set of lightfast pastels.

✏ Art supply manufacturers use a test called the blue wool test for their pastel pencil sets originally used by garment and wool companies to test lightfastness. The product is exposed to UV light for a set period of time and then compared to the original colour for fading and then graded.

✏ To make things even more confusing none of the manufacturers use the same grading scale for the lightfastness of pastel pencils results, Derwent marks on a scale of 8, Faber Castell a scale of 3, Caran D'ache and Stabilo on a scale of 5 etc so it's difficult to compare brands.

✏ To my knowledge only Conte a Paris and Caran D'ache make a fully lightfast red.

✏ If you are just practicing and not selling your art it's fine to use student grade or non lightfast pencils, maybe you'll only sell prints, well then lightfastness isn't a problem. If you sell your artwork, you need to be serious about your supplies. Lightfast pencils are no more expensive than the non lightfast pencils from each brand, you just need to search them out.

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✏ Pastel pencils can be bought individually, you don't need to buy the whole set so this is an easy problem to solve.

✏ All brands of pastel pencils can be used together, they will blend, mix and layer over each other with no compatibility issues.

✏ Framing your pastel pencil artwork behind museum grade UV protective glass will also ensure your work doesn't fade as well as using archival and acid free papers and mounts.

Some lightfast charts for chalk pastel pencils to look through

Faber Castell - Stabilo CarbOthello - Derwent - Koh - I - Noor Gioconda - Conte a Paris - Caran D'ache

Categories: pastel pencils


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