Rembrandt Soft Pastels: 218 Shades of Excellence

Pastel pencils changed my way of thinking about creating and allowed me a lot of freedom, but I confess that I’ve always been a little reserved about trying soft pastels.  My childhood memory of pastels involves chalky dust everywhere and a lack of control I was hesitant to repeat.

Royal Talens has been manufacturing artist materials for over 115 years and the Rembrandt series is renowned for its high quality products.  The Rembrandt Soft Pastels boast no less than 218 colours and with superior lightfastness ratings are therefor considered artist grade. Your artwork is guaranteed to last.  It was therefor with great anticipation that I awaited the arrival of my very own set!

Royal Talens Rembrandt
Rembrandt Soft Pastels Set

The box itself really seemed high-end and classy and I was quite impressed with the vivid colours.  Best of all – they didn’t only seem bright, the pigment just bursts onto the paper with minimum effort.  Pastels are pure pigment mixed with a fine clay and minimal binder – and Royal Talens proudly displays the fact that no harmful pigments are used in the Rembrandt range.

My box set boasted both half- and full sticks.  While the half sticks were unwrapped, the full-sticks featured wrappers detailing the colour, lightfastness rating and colour code of each pastel.  I like this as it enables me to replace individual colours without purchasing a whole set again.

Soft Pastel Review
Sketching with Rembrandt Soft Pastels

Rembrandt pastels are considered to be a medium soft pastel by pastelists.  I have in the meantime tried and tested other brands and Rembrandt remains a firm favourite.  Due to their medium softness you can achieve finer lines without the pastels crumbling onto the paper, yet they cover and blend much easier than a hard pastel.  I prefer breaking a full-stick for ease of application and again the medium hardness proves its worth with minimum crumbling.  This is the best feature of these amazing little tools – I definitely did not repeat the dusty nightmare from my childhood!  The pastels blended into the paper with a velvety smooth finish and colour mixing on the paper was as easy as painting.  There is definitely merit in the fact that Rembrandt is the best-selling soft pastel worldwide.

Rembrandt Review
Finished artwork

Rembrandt pastels are available in a selection of sets (in both half- and full sticks) with specific sets aimed at landscape and portrait pastelists. The general selection set offers a balanced palette of colours across the range.  I am also eagerly anticipating the open stock range which will soon be available – this means you can easily replace that favourite sky blue without buying a whole new box!

All-in-all I have fallen in love with soft pastels and Rembrandt is my workhorse pastel – due to the bright selection of colours and intuitive ease of application I would recommend it to anyone.  I love the tactile nature of the medium and the versatility of this specific brand.

Keep an eye on the blog for more soft pastel posts with tips, tricks and how-to’s involving the Rembrandt range.

This review was done using the Rembrandt Soft Pastels on Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper.

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