Understanding the Cost of Pastels: A Comprehensive Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Types of Pastels
  2. Cost Differences between Soft, Hard, and Oil Pastels
  3. Price Variations Based on Pastel Brands
  4. How Pastel Quality Affects Price
  5. Cost of Pastel Accessories
  6. How and Where to Buy Pastels
  7. Money-Saving Tips for Buying Pastels
  8. Why Invest in High-Quality Pastels?

If you've ever found yourself wondering, "how much does pastels cost?", you're not alone. Understanding the cost of pastels can seem like an art in itself. But, don't worry, you're about to get a whole lot clearer on this topic. Whether you're an aspiring pastel artist or a seasoned pro looking to restock, this guide will help you understand the different types of pastels, their cost variations, and how to make smart buying decisions without breaking the bank.

Types of Pastels

First things first, let's talk about the different types of pastels. A little knowledge about the types will help you understand why there's such a range when it comes to how much pastels cost.

There are typically three main types of pastels:

  • Soft Pastels: Soft pastels have a creamy texture and are easy to blend. They're the most commonly used type, perfect for creating vibrant, rich artworks. But be careful, they can be a bit messy due to their soft texture.
  • Hard Pastels: Hard pastels have less pigment and more binder. This makes them harder and less vibrant, but they're great for detailed work as they can make finer lines. They also tend to be a bit more affordable.
  • Oil Pastels: Oil pastels are a whole different beast. They're made with oil and wax, which gives them a buttery texture. This makes them great for bold, intense color application. But, they're a bit more difficult to blend and can be the priciest of the lot.

You might find other types too like PanPastels, pastel pencils, or even artist-grade versus student-grade pastels. However, the three types mentioned above are the most common ones you'll come across. Now that you know the types, it'll be easier to understand their cost differences in the next section.

Cost Differences between Soft, Hard, and Oil Pastels

So, how much does each type of pastel cost? Well, as you might have guessed, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The cost of pastels can vary widely based on their type.

Generally speaking:

  • Soft Pastels: These are typically priced in the mid-range. You might find a good set of soft pastels for anywhere between $20 and $100, depending on the brand and number of colors.
  • Hard Pastels: These are generally the most affordable of the lot. You can get a decent set of hard pastels for under $20. But again, the price can go up based on the brand or set size.
  • Oil Pastels: These tend to be the most expensive. A set of oil pastels can cost anywhere from $30 to $150 or more. The price tends to be higher due to the unique formulation and the intense pigmentation that oil pastels offer.

Remember, these are just ballpark figures. Prices can vary based on various factors like the brand, quality, and where you're buying from. But this gives you a basic idea of what to expect when you're wondering, "how much does pastels cost?"

Price Variations Based on Pastel Brands

Just like with any other product, the brand of pastels you choose can greatly affect the price. So, when you ask, "how much does pastels cost?" consider the brand factor too.

Rembrandt: A well-known brand favored by many artists, Rembrandt pastels offer high quality at a mid-range price. For a box of 30, you can expect to pay around $50-$70.

Faber-Castell: This brand offers a wide range of pastels at various price points. A set of 60 soft pastels might cost you somewhere around $25-$35.

Sennelier: Known for its luxury art supplies, a set of 50 Sennelier soft pastels could set you back by around $100-$120. But the quality and richness of color they offer make them worth the extra cost.

Mungyo: If you're just starting out or on a tight budget, Mungyo offers good quality pastels at a very affordable price. A set of 64 soft pastels could cost you less than $20.

Remember, the brand is just one aspect of the cost. Quality, type of pastel, and where you buy them also play significant roles in the final price. And while expensive doesn't always mean better, investing in a good brand can often give you a better art experience.

How Pastel Quality Affects Price

Now that we've talked about brands, let's focus on another factor that directly impacts the question - "how much does pastels cost?" Yep, you guessed it right – it's the quality.

Quality in pastels is all about the richness of the pigment, the smoothness of the texture, and the durability. Superior quality pastels contain more pigment and less binder, meaning the colors are more vibrant and less likely to fade over time. They're also smoother to work with, making your art experience a joy, not a chore.

But superior quality comes at a cost. High-quality pastels can be significantly more expensive than their lower-quality counterparts. For example, a high-quality set of 48 pastels could cost around $100, while a similar-sized set of lower-quality pastels might cost less than $30. That's a big difference!

So, should you always go for the higher quality? Not necessarily. If you're just starting out or experimenting, cheaper sets can be a great way to learn without breaking the bank. But if you're serious about your art or planning to sell your work, investing in high-quality pastels can be a smart move.

Remember, the cost of pastels isn't just about the price tag. It's also about the value you get from them in terms of enjoyment, ease of use, and the visual appeal of your final artwork.

Cost of Pastel Accessories

Alright, moving on from the pastels themselves, let's talk accessories. Yes, these too play a part in answering "how much does pastels cost?"

Just as a proper outfit isn't complete without the right shoes and jewelry, your pastel art journey isn't complete without some handy accessories. These can include items such as pastel papers, blending tools, fixatives, and storage boxes.

First off, pastel papers. These are not your ordinary printer papers. They have a slightly rough surface that grabs and holds onto the pastels. A pad of 24 sheets can cost anywhere from $10 to $30, depending on the brand and quality.

Next, blending tools. These can range from specially designed blending stumps to your own fingers. Blending tools can cost as little as $5 for a basic set.

Don't forget a good fixative to protect your artwork. A can of fixative spray can cost around $10-$20. Lastly, a sturdy storage box to keep your pastels safe and organized can cost around $20-$50.

So, when you're adding up how much pastels cost, don't forget these little extras. They might seem small, but they can add up quickly, and they do make a difference to your pastel experience.

How and Where to Buy Pastels

Now that you've got a good idea of the cost of pastels and their accessories, let's talk about where you can actually get your hands on them. As we explore this, keep in mind the question, "How much does pastels cost?" because where you buy can impact the price.

Two of the best places to buy pastels are art supply stores and online. Art supply stores are great because you can see the pastels in person, feel them, and sometimes even test them out. Plus, there are usually knowledgeable staff members who can help answer any questions you might have.

Online shopping, on the other hand, offers a wider variety of choices. Websites like Amazon and eBay have extensive selections of both new and used pastels from a wide range of brands. This allows you to compare prices and read reviews before making a decision. However, keep in mind that you might have to pay for shipping, which can add to the overall cost.

Another option is to check out local art schools or community centers. Sometimes they have sales where you can get high-quality pastels at a lower price.

So, when considering how much pastels cost, remember that the 'where' is just as important as the 'what'. You might find a great deal or a special discount that can make your pastel purchasing experience even more satisfying!

Money-Saving Tips for Buying Pastels

So, you're wondering "how much does pastels cost?" and if there's a way to spend less. Well, you're in luck! Here are some practical tips to help you save money when buying pastels.

Buy in Bulk: Often, buying a larger set of pastels can be more cost-effective than buying individual sticks. Plus, you'll have a wider range of colors to work with right from the start.

Look for Sales: Keep an eye on sales at art supply stores and online. Holidays, end of season, and back-to-school periods are often great times to find discounts.

Start with a Starter Set: If you're new to pastels, consider starting with a basic set. These usually come with a selection of general colors and are cheaper than specialized sets.

Reuse and Recycle: Don't throw away your pastel stubs! Smaller pieces can be used for detail work, or they can be combined to create new colors.

Remember, the goal isn't just to find cheap pastels. It's to find quality pastels that fit your budget. So, while you're figuring out how much pastels cost, also consider the value you're getting for your money.

Why Invest in High-Quality Pastels?

When considering "how much does pastels cost?", it's easy to opt for the cheapest option. But investing in high-quality pastels can make a big difference in your artwork.

Better Pigment: High-quality pastels have a higher pigment concentration. This means you get richer, more vibrant colors that can really make your artwork pop.

Longer Lasting: Good pastels tend to last longer. They're denser and don't crumble as easily, so you won't need to replace them as often.

Smoother Application: When you're working with pastels, the experience matters. High-quality pastels glide on smoother, making your drawing process more enjoyable.

Healthier: Quality pastels often contain less harmful ingredients. If you're spending a lot of time with your art, this can be an important factor to consider.

So, while high-quality pastels might cost more upfront, they can provide better value in the long run. Remember, art is an investment—not just of money, but also of time and passion. The right tools can help you make the most of it.

If you enjoyed learning about the cost of pastels and want to explore further ways to creatively use colors in your illustrations, check out the workshop 'Illustration Tips: Creative Storytelling with Colour palettes' by Carolina Vázquez. This workshop will teach you how to effectively use color palettes in your illustrations and enhance your storytelling skills through your artwork.