Although I haven’t used them myself, I’ve had a number of requests to talk about Pan Pastels. So what I thought I’d do is curate some resources to get you started!

First, what are Pan Pastels?

They are pastels that are in a “pan” rather than on a stick. Because of this, they’re more blendable and can be applied almost like paint. I kind of think of them like foundation makeup that’s applied from a container with a sponge! 


A selection of Pan Pastels (from the PanPastels website)
A selection of Pan Pastels (from the PanPastels website).


I’d say the best place to start is on the PanPastel® website itself. There you’ll find tutorials and info including basic techniques.

You’ll also be inspired by the work of a number of artists including Sydney McGinley, Karen Israel, and Dawn Emerson.


Sydney McGinley, "Woman in Patterned Wrap." From the PanPastels website.
Sydney McGinley, “Woman in Patterned Wrap.” (From the PanPastel website.)


Karen Israel, "Autumn Alchemy." From the PanPastels website.
Karen Israel, “Autumn Alchem.,” (From the PanPastel website.)


Dawn Emerson, "Cave Buffalo," From the PanPastels website.
Dawn Emerson, “Cave Buffalo.”   (From the PanPastel website.)


You’ll also see Alex Louisa listed there. She does incredible wildlife paintings. When I was looking for a guest artist to write about Pan Pastels for HowToPastel a number of years ago, she graciously accepted my invitation. Read her words and see her work here.


Alex Louisa, "Pieces and Pinecones," 2013, PanPastel on Pastelmat, 16 x 28 in.
Alex Louisa, “Pieces and Pinecones,” 2013, PanPastel on Pastelmat, 16 x 28 in. (From the HowToPastel website)


Then there’s this post that shares a fascinating interview with the founders of Pan Pastels, the wife and husband team of Bernadette Ward and Ladd Forsline. You’ll read about why they created this form of pastel, their professional backgrounds and how that helped, and how they envisioned the pastels being used.


How to Use Pan Pastels


Read about how Sandrine Pelissier uses Pan Pastels. She enjoys using them wet, “like a pigment you mix with water.”

In the video below, artist Kirsty Partridge tries Pan Pastels for the first time. She shares all she’s thinking and experiencing, what she likes and doesn’t.



Another Kirsty – Kirsty Rebecca – offers a beginner’s guide to using Pan Pastels and show us the pastels in use as she paints a landscape. 



And here’s a fascinating video showing Pan Pastels being used on three different papers – Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolour paper, Fisher 400 sanded paper, and Canson Mi-Teintes. Included in her exploration is Shel’s use of solvents and fixatives!



And, just because, there’s nothing like seeing reviews both good and bad, you may find these reviews on Amazon useful.

Hope that all gets you started investigating this alternative pastel medium and how you might use them! Let me know!


Award-Winning Scottish Artist Specialises in Pastel


I first met Lynn Howarth when she was an Administrator (thank you!) for my newly started HowToPastel Facebook group. This meant that early on I got to know her work and her warm personality. So you can imagine how delighted I am that Lynn is joining this year’s Pastel Live faculty!


Lynn Howarth, “Waiting at the Modern Two” pastel, 40×30cm
Lynn Howarth, “Waiting at the Modern Two” pastel, 40×30cm.


Lynn graduated from Grays School of Art and then went on to have a long career in graphic design before returning to drawing and painting in 2012. She also now teaches art part-time at Strathclyde University teaching Life Drawing and drawing and painting. She also holds her own private online pastel classes. 

If you’re interested in portraiture, you may enjoy her guest blog on the subject on HowToPastel. 


Lynn Howarth, “Sir Billy,” pastel, 30×24 cm
Lynn Howarth, “Sir Billy,” pastel, 30×24 cm.


She is regularly asked to do demonstrations for various art groups all over Scotland and also teaches pastel workshops abroad, most recently in France and The Netherlands. 

Lynn is an elected member of Glasgow Art Club, Paisley Art Institute, and Glasgow Society of Women Artists and is a Signature Member of the Pastel Guild of Europe and Associate Member of the Pastel Society of America. She’s a full member of the Pastel Society of Ireland and a Platinum Member of the Red Rock Pastel Society of Nevada.

Pastel Live starts in one week! It’s going to be awesome with 25 artists showing their stuff! I’m excited to be part of it! You can still get tickets by clicking HERE.

And that’s it for this time!

Like this post? Be sure to leave a comment on the blog. 



  1. The texture of pan pastels sounds a lot like oil pastels. They start out like crayon but blend like oil when you apply them thickly.


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