Hey there! I’m excited to share with you all about my experience with the Paul Rubens soft pastels – the professional handmade ones.
I had so much fun sampling the colors and creating swatches to see how they blended, layered, and covered. And I even made a complete artwork using them! I have to say, I was absolutely delighted with the outcome.
If you’re curious about my experience and want to know more about these pastels, keep reading! I’ve included a summary and all the details for you to enjoy.
Both professional pastel artists and newbies who want to try this fascinating medium will be quite happy with these Paul Rubens professional soft pastels. At their affordable price, they have super vibrant pigments, handmade quality and they blend, layer and cover exceptionally well.
|➕ Safe packaging (didn’t break during travels)||➖ Missing pigment names|
|➕ Vibrant and highly pigmented||➖ A few hues felt granulated and scratchy|
|➕ Silky smooth flow||➖ A fair amount of dust (expected)|
|➕ Easy blending||➖ Some tips break a little|
|➕ Easy covering|
|➕ Great color range|
Using Paul Rubens Soft Pastels in Artwork
In the video below, I am using Paul Rubens soft pastels and sharing my tips for improving your art.
Why Did I Choose to Try Paul Rubens Soft Pastels?
As a digital artist, I spend most of my time creating artwork on my iPad using Procreate.
But every once in a while, I like to step away from the screen and experiment with traditional media.
That’s why I was excited when the folks at Paul Rubens reached out to me to try their artist-grade soft pastels.
Having already tried Caran D’ache Neocolor I wax pastels and Neocolor II water-soluble pastels, I was eager to see how Paul Rubens’ chalk soft pastels compared.
When choosing pastels, these are the most important criteria for me:
Key Decision-Making Critera
- Color range (hues)I am looking for a variety of hues in pale, light colors, vibrant colors and dark hues – a mix of warm and cool tones.
- ContrastI am looking for various dark and light hues pastels in the set so I can easily create between light and dark parts of my drawings.
- Vibrant colorsI want the pastels to have vibrant pigments because I like my drawings to “pop”.
- Blending, layering and smooth flowI want to blend and layer them easily and I don’t want them to leave streaks. The pastels should be easily to blend when I want to but the colors should stay separate when I want to layer them.
So let’s see how Paul Rubens soft pastels measure up!
Unboxing Paul Rubens Soft Pastels
I was a bit worried about the soft pastels breaking during transit, as they have a chalky texture.
However, I was relieved that they arrived safely and were not broken.
The packaging looks impressive, and I could even travel with them without any issues or breakages, despite not being too careful with them.
The box is sturdy, with a foam insert that allowed me to place the pastels at an angle, making them easy to remove when needed.
There is also a booklet with instructions, but the text is so small that I couldn’t read it properly, so I didn’t end up using it at all.
Color Swatches – Sampling Paul Rubens Soft Pastels
I think the range of colors in this Paul Rubens soft pastel set is fantastic!
With shades ranging from pure white to eggshell whites, beige, orange, warm red, cold red, pink, and purple hues.
The blue hues are also great, although I wish there was one more darker blue. To compensate for this, I often mix one of the blues with the darkest purple.
One thing I didn’t love about this set was the initial placement of the colors in the box.
I found it a bit confusing, so I reorganized them based on values within the hues. I organized them from lightest yellow to darkest yellow, orange, and red. I think this makes it easier for me to find the color I’m looking for when I’m in the middle of an artwork.
While I love the range of greens in this set, I would prefer more green shades and fewer yellow pastels – that’s just my personal preference.
While this set is fantastic overall, I do wish there was more variety in values and hues. For example, I would love to see a darker green hue and a dark brown added to the set. Talking about green hues, one green pastel broke in half when I picked it up. However, this did not impact my ability to use the pastels effectively.
Layering – Testing Paul Rubens Soft Pastels
The pastels have a silky smooth flow, so I find them easy to use and blend. I used my finger to blend the pastels, although you could use other blending techniques.
I could also layer many different colors on top of each other with success, and the colors remained vibrant even when used on darker paper.
I only noticed a few small things, such as one of the sky blue hues looks a bit more granulated than the others, making it a bit difficult to blend smoothly. And one of the dark, colder reds can feel a bit scratchy on larger surfaces, but it works great for smaller details.
Drawing a Landscape with Paul Rubens Soft Pastels
I really enjoy using these Paul Rubens soft pastels because they are highly pigmented, which means that the colors are vibrant and bold.
The color range in this set is fantastic, and I’ve created a really beautiful semi-realistic scenery with it.
I really appreciate these soft pastels have good covering power, meaning that I could use them to cover large areas of a painting without much effort.
Compared to when I draw with colored pencils, I could cover a bigger area with less hand movement, which I appreciated very much. And compared to the Caran D’ache wax pastels I mentioned above, I didn’t have to press so hard to release the rich pigment.
I especially love using this set for landscapes because there are so many colors to choose from, allowing me to create gradients with layering and subtle color shifts.
These pastels are incredibly versatile, and I think they can be used for various subjects and styles.
Even with a limited selection of colors, I can still create beautiful sketchbook spreads that look fantastic.
If you are wondering which sketchbook I used to create the drawing, it’s this one:
Don’t Forget a Fixative
If you are a newbie to soft pastels, don’t forget about the fixative.
I love creating these beautiful landscapes and scenes with these soft pastels. They are easy to blend, colors stay separate when I am layering details, and the outcome is vibrant and beautiful artwork.
However, as with any other soft pastel, they are also extremely delicate and prone to smudging or smearing.
This is where a good quality fixative comes in.
A fixative spray helps to set the pastel particles in place, preventing them from moving or rubbing off the paper. If you don’t use a fixative, you can lose detail and color vibrancy in your artwork and the risk of the artwork becoming damaged during transportation or framing.
So, to ensure that your soft pastel artwork remains intact and vibrant, don’t forget to use a good quality fixative specifically designed for soft pastels.
Should You Get Paul Rubens Soft Pastels?
Yes, I think you should get Paul Rubens soft pastels.
I would highly recommend this set of soft pastels to anyone looking for a versatile and high-quality set of colors to use in their artwork.
Unlike other brands, these Paul Rubens soft pastels don’t break or crumble much when I use them. There were only a few instances where the edges of some colors crumbled slightly, but this was not a major issue for me.
If you are new to the fascinating medium of soft pastels, remember that using soft pastels can be messy due to the dust they produce, but this is to be expected. I found it helpful to have wet and dry tissue on hand when switching colors and blending with my finger to avoid unintentionally mixing colors.
Overall, I would recommend these soft pastels for anyone looking for a smooth, blendable, and vibrant option that is easy to work with, with only minor issues to be aware of.
Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »
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