Sarah Dyer Curates Units of Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels

It was a dream to be requested to curate a number of new smooth 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 smooth 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 common so it was nice to have the ability to assume 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 packing containers of 14 and after I laid them out in entrance of me they seemed 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 constituted of 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 popular paper to work on, I do assume it provides 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 accessible. I needed to intuitively select colors primarily based partly on what I like to attract, colors I’m naturally drawn to and likewise desirous about different small smooth pastel units I already personal and incessantly 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 will be the toughest set to determine on. I needed 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 gentle and darkish shades too. Generally after swatching a gaggle of colors I’d take a photograph on my cellphone 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 tough to slender down!


Handmade Soft Pastels

Panorama Set of 28 – Check 00


Handmade Soft Pastels

Panorama Set of 28 – Check 01


Handmade Soft Pastels

Panorama Set of 28 – Check 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 rather a lot and so I felt assured realizing what I and hopefully others would need out of an even bigger set. I primarily based my choices on the 28 Portrait set that Jackson’s have already got accessible. 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 in opposition to 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 perhaps useful for cheeks and lips – Vermillion Orange and Apricot Pink explicit favourites. I additionally added in another darks, Darkish Umber for very darkish hair or pores and skin tones and likewise Burnt Umber to supply one other darkish selection but additionally 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 lined 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 usually a brighter assortment of colors and so I needed to maintain that in thoughts but additionally 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 turned simpler as I added in-between the colors already chosen slight varieties in tone. Growing the vary of blues, greens, reds and yellows accessible 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 shall be helpful set for individuals 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 pretty one to deal with. I typically seize the ocean in my drawings because it’s native to me and might recognize the ever-changing palette of it so needed to ensure I lined all bases of winter gray British seas by means of to extra tropical climbs! I typically trace at a sky in my drawings however it’s not one thing I deal with typically. I consulted a good friend that likes to seize skies, and particularly sunsets, in regards to 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 means of to nighttime too. I’m hoping the heat and flexibility of the Apricot pastel will be capable of 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 specific favorite material for me. Then the muted greys shall be helpful on wet days when the sky is uninteresting or dramatic, and I hope may also 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 – Check 01


Sea and Sky Set of 28 – Check 02


After finishing these units I used to be feeling extra assured in my color decisions having swatched the smooth pastels a number of occasions testing numerous combos of colors. I got here again to the primary Panorama 28 check I did and felt that it was maybe too secure in color decisions, possibly too much like smooth pastel units by different manufacturers already on the market. I went on to strive one other couple of attainable combos of the 28. I actually needed it to perform as the right set for somebody after plenty of totally different colors to make use of in lots of environments however that was much less brilliant 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 means of to hotter landscapes, rocks, and seashores, while additionally being helpful in city settings. The inclusion of some colors could seem shocking – significantly Blue Violet and Fluorescent pink. Nonetheless 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 beautiful addition so as to add texture excessive of paint, brush pens or working alongside color pencil.


Panorama Set of 28 – Check 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 capable of deal with a large number of environments, so in the event you have been a pure pastel painter you wouldn’t want for anything on location. I believe this set and the Portrait 56 are my favorite units.


Panorama Set of 56 – Check 01


Handmade Soft Pastels

Panorama Set of 56 – Check 02


It was laborious to stay completely unbiased in curating the Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels units. I positively discovered I leant in direction of sure colors – I believe naturally as artists we have now our personal color palettes, colors we select to make use of repeatedly and hues that convey sturdy feelings. There additionally gave the impression to be colors I’d attain for over and over from the number of 200 and that simply appeared to work so effectively subsequent to plenty of different colors. Hopefully these colors will show to be actually versatile within the units. Particularly Smalt Blue White appears to be in virtually each set in addition to Pale Peach and Mild Gray Inexperienced being one other couple of colors I simply couldn’t assist however return to. I actually hope individuals benefit from the units I’ve put collectively and discover them a welcome addition to their artwork apply.



Additional Studying

Pastel Portray With Jackson’s Handmade Delicate Pastels

Utilizing Delicate Pastels for Observational Drawing

Every little 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 he or she additionally teaches on the Basis course at Kingston College.