September 30, 2023


How Art Works

Sarah Dyer Curates Units of Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels

8 min read

It was a dream to be requested to curate a number of new mushy pastel units from the 200 color vary of Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels. Jackson’s Delicate Pastels are prime quality, artist grade pastels, they’re rigorously made by hand which makes them very mushy with a easy buttery consistency. They’ve a low binder to pigment ratio which makes them wealthy and luminous, permitting for each delicate and daring mark making. Jackson’s have some themed units already that are widespread so it was nice to have the ability to suppose how these new units I used to be curating would work alongside them.



All 200 colors of the Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels have been despatched to me to check in my studio – they turned up in containers of 14 and after I laid them out in entrance of me they regarded like little jewels of color. Their glorious lightfast qualities imply that pastel work created with them won’t deteriorate over time. The three fluorescent colors are the one exception; like all fluorescent colors they don’t seem to be lightfast. The pastels are made solely from pigments, a bentonite clay binder, and calcium carbonate (chalk). Every pastel measures roughly 55 mm in size and 15 mm in diameter.



I began by swatching every field and labelling the numbers and color names of every beneath. I swatched on a Clairefontaine PaintOn Multi-Method Pads with 250 gsm 100% cellulose paper produced from uncooked supplies from sustainably managed forests. It’s a white paper with a really slight texture. The feel is beneficial in holding extra color on the web page, and whereas it’s not my most well-liked paper to work on, I do suppose it offers the most effective illustration of the true color of the pastels and I didn’t need to be confused by cream or off white paper in my sketchbook.



I referred again to those color swatches in making my decisions. All of the swatches I pinned up on my studio wall so I might see at a fast look the vary out there. I wished to intuitively select colors primarily based partly on what I like to attract, colors I’m naturally drawn to and in addition serious about different small mushy pastel units I already personal and regularly attain for. I lately went on the Colour Workshop course run by Juliet Docherty and located that gave me nice confidence in with the ability to choose for the units.


Panorama Set of 28 Handmade Delicate Pastels

I began with the Panorama Set of 28 as I felt it might be the toughest set to determine on. I wished the panorama set to cowl extra than simply foliage panorama – significantly to be helpful in city environments too. I’ve included extra muted tones on this set in comparison with say the starter set, however while additionally ensuring I’ve sufficient mild and darkish shades too. Generally after swatching a bunch of colors I’d take a photograph on my telephone and swap it to black and white mode so I might double examine the values of the colors chosen. I needed to depart the panorama 28 set and are available again to it on the finish as I used to be discovering it too difficult to slim down!


Handmade Soft Pastels

Panorama Set of 28 – Take a look at 00


Handmade Soft Pastels

Panorama Set of 28 – Take a look at 01


Handmade Soft Pastels

Panorama Set of 28 – Take a look at 02


Portrait Set of 56 Handmade Delicate Pastels

I made a decision to maneuver on to the Portrait 56 set. I felt extra comfy selecting this set. It’s an issue I like to attract quite a bit and so I felt assured realizing what I and hopefully others would need out of a much bigger set. I primarily based my selections on the 28 Portrait set that Jackson’s have already got out there. I felt that there have been colors lacking appropriate for shadows so I added in some blue hues to the set and a few muted greys and beiges too. I discover if the mannequin is towards a white wall having these colors is so helpful in describing a background, or shadow. I additionally included a number of pops of color I believed is likely to be useful for cheeks and lips – Vermillion Orange and Apricot Pink specific favourites. I additionally added in another darks, Darkish Umber for very darkish hair or pores and skin tones and in addition Burnt Umber to supply one other darkish alternative but in addition a hotter brown for pores and skin tone too. The opposite colors, greens, burgundy reds and yellows really feel like good all spherical helpful colors to have if doing a portrait with some clothes or props. I’ve hopefully coated sufficient bases so this 56 set would have all you wanted.


Portrait Set of 56


Starter Units of 28 and 56 Handmade Delicate Pastels

In selecting the Starter set of 28 I took the unique 14 set Jackson’s already has and considered the place there have been potential lacking hues or values. The 14 starter set is mostly a brighter assortment of colors and so I wished to maintain that in thoughts but in addition herald complementary hues alongside the brights. I’ve included extra muted greens and a lighter and darker blue in addition to together with pale peach and heat browns for panorama or easy portraits.


Starter Set of 28


Making this starter set right into a set of 56 then grew to become simpler as I added in-between the colors already chosen slight varieties in tone. Rising the vary of blues, greens, reds and yellows out there to try to cowl all bases. I’ve additionally included each whites, a cool and a heat and a handful of muted greys which I hope will probably be helpful set for folks beginning out in addition to skilled artists.


Handmade Soft Pastels

Starter Set of 56


Sea and Sky Set of 28 Handmade Delicate Pastels

The Sea and Sky set of 28 was one other actually beautiful one to sort out. I generally seize the ocean in my drawings because it’s native to me and might recognize the ever-changing palette of it so wished to ensure I coated all bases of winter gray British seas by to extra tropical climbs! I generally trace at a sky in my drawings but it surely’s not one thing I sort out typically. I consulted a buddy that likes to seize skies, and particularly sunsets, concerning the palette I’d picked thus far to ensure I’d included sufficient peaches and heat tones to have the ability to create a night sky by to nighttime too. I’m hoping the heat and flexibility of the Apricot pastel will have the ability to do these dusky night skies justice. The pop of color from having Fluorescent Pink within the set will add to sunsets in addition to probably seize the hints of fishing life discovered on the seas – which is a selected favorite subject material for me. Then the muted greys will probably be helpful on wet days when the sky is uninteresting or dramatic, and I hope may work so as to add in a touch of panorama, rocks, cliffs and so on when out maybe utilizing the set for observational drawing.


Sea and Sky Set of 28 – Take a look at 01


Sea and Sky Set of 28 – Take a look at 02


After finishing these units I used to be feeling extra assured in my color decisions having swatched the mushy pastels a number of occasions testing numerous combos of colors. I got here again to the primary Panorama 28 take a look at I did and felt that it was maybe too secure in color decisions, possibly too much like mushy pastel units by different manufacturers already on the market. I went on to attempt one other couple of attainable combos of the 28. I actually wished it to perform as the right set for somebody after numerous totally different colors to make use of in lots of environments however that was much less shiny in hue to the Starter 28 set. This Panorama Set I hope has sufficient pure colors to have the ability to seize fields, foliage, by to hotter landscapes, rocks, and seashores, while additionally being helpful in city settings. The inclusion of some colors could seem stunning – significantly Blue Violet and Fluorescent pink. Nevertheless when positioned among the many very muted palette of the colors I’d chosen I simply felt they introduced all of it to life. I see this set working rather well for somebody that maybe enjoys combined media – a stunning addition so as to add texture excessive of paint, brush pens or working alongside color pencil.


Panorama Set of 28 – Take a look at 03


Panorama Set of 56 Handmade Delicate Pastels

The Panorama 56 set was a lot simpler to place collectively as soon as I’d dedicated to the 28 set of pastels. It felt very nice to have the ability to add within the additional colors and I really feel this set is a very good all rounder now. Once more in a position to sort out a large number of environments, so should you have been a pure pastel painter you wouldn’t want for anything on location. I feel this set and the Portrait 56 are my favorite units.


Panorama Set of 56 – Take a look at 01


Handmade Soft Pastels

Panorama Set of 56 – Take a look at 02


It was onerous to stay completely unbiased in curating the Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels units. I undoubtedly discovered I leant in the direction of sure colors – I feel naturally as artists we’ve our personal color palettes, colors we select to make use of commonly and colors that convey robust feelings. There additionally gave the impression to be colors I’d attain for time and again from the number of 200 and that simply appeared to work so properly subsequent to numerous different colors. Hopefully these colors will show to be actually versatile within the units. Particularly Smalt Blue White appears to be in nearly each set in addition to Pale Peach and Gentle Gray Inexperienced being one other couple of colors I simply couldn’t assist however return to. I actually hope folks benefit from the units I’ve put collectively and discover them a welcome addition to their artwork follow.



Additional Studying

Pastel Portray With Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels

Utilizing Delicate Pastels for Observational Drawing

Every thing You Must Know About Pastel Paper

Contained in the Sketchbook of Sarah Dyer


Store Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels Units on


Sarah Dyer

Sarah Dyer is an image ebook maker and illustrator. She enjoys working exterior on location for reference and color which feeds again into her ebook work. In between writing and illustrating Sarah attends festivals and colleges to hold out occasions and workshops and she or he additionally teaches on the Basis course at Kingston College.

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