Best Hard Pastels

Best Hard Pastels uk

Want to take your artwork to the next level with the best hard pastels on the market?

Then check out these top 5 picks below:

Hard Pastels have been around for quite a while in the market now and are well established as a trusted element to any artist’s go-to supplies.

Artists work with a variety of mediums of paint and pastels alike and hard pastels are one of the most popular mediums among pastels. They are quite similar to pastel pencils with the only real difference being that the pastel is enclosed in wood just like you’d find with a conventional pencil as opposed to a paper wrap or cover.

This review will cover some of the best hard pastels money can buy for your convenience. The term, ‘soft pastels’ will be used from time to time as a point of reference as they are quite similar in terms of ingredients.

Hard pastels are conventionally made up of a binder like gum arabic, white chalk, and pigment for the color. Surprisingly, if you check the ingredients of soft pastels they are the same. The difference between the softer pastels as opposed to hard pastels is the amount of binder used. The more binder the stronger and harder the pastel sticks are.

Moving forward with the guide it’s good to keep in mind that all the pastels covered in this list are hard pastels that are tried and tested to be quality products for your budget and art supplies arsenal.

01) Prismacolor 27055 Premier NuPastel Firm Pastel Color Sticks

96 Multicolor Pastels

Prismacolor 27055 Premier NuPastel Firm Pastel Color Sticks main image


  • Pack of 96
  • Square shape sticks
  • Rich creamy pigments
  • Dust-free


The Prismacolor collection of 96 pastel sticks features vibrant colors for your pastel painting with a finish similar to pure pigment due to the richness of the ingredients. You also get great shades of brown and gray chalks.

Among pastel brands, they are known for providing decent, good value for money and great-looking colors.

  • Vibrant colors
  • High-quality set of pastel stick
  • Non-toxic
  • Not very inexpensive


Prismacolor pastels are one of the best budgeted among all of the brands of hard pastels in the market. While they are not very cheap they also do not compromise in terms of quality.

02) Conte Crayons 36 Pack

Assorted Colours Hard Pastel

onte Crayons 36 Pack main image


  • Box of 36
  • Storage box with three tiers
  • Assorted color sticks
  • Square shape sticks


The Conte set of 36 hard pastels come in a box of 36  assorted and vibrant colors. Great for detailed lines, crisp lines, tightly rendered drawings and fine details due to the shape of each stick.

It is especially convenient when you have square-shaped sticks as you have four even flat sides to work with when you can simply just turn over when one side becomes blunt. All you have to do is rotate and instantly get an even flat side back for your work.

  • Rich pigments
  • Versatile selection of pastel colors
  • Comes with a 3 tier storage box easy for safekeeping
  • Hard edges for creating outlines using finer lines
  • May have availability issues
  • May break easily if used without care


Overall, the Conte Crayons is a great set as an entry-level set of hard pastel stick. What this set has to offer is the perfect bare bones to what you need as a hard pastel artist. Great value for money sticks and an excellent collection to your art supplies.

Definitely, worth every penny if you are able to get your hands on a set.

03) KOH-I-NOOR GIOCONDA 8196 Artist’s Hard Pastels

Beautiful Wooden Box Set (Pack of 48)

KOH-I-NOOR GIOCONDA 8196 Artist's Hard Pastels main image


  • Sold in a beautiful wooden box
  • Pack of 48
  • Assorted colors
  • Reliable distribution of products


The Koh-I-Noor Gioconda set of hard pastels are a great set of pastels as the brand has been around for over a century in making great quality hard and soft pastels. So it’s not surprising they were able to achieve such a status in crafting art materials.

The package comes packed in a beautiful wooden box that gives extra protection just like you would expect in a tin box.

  • Versatile selection of colors
  • Decent amount of sticks
  • Square shape
  • Lack of bright colors


The Koh-I-Noor box offers a great set of color drawing sticks. While being very affordable they are also perfectly apt for your working allocation with the collection of colors that they offer.

Additionally, you are working with square sticks that are easy to hold and will have an even flat side every time you blunt a side and get angular shapes retaining an appropriate width. Great purchase for your art materials.

04) Mungyo Gallery Semi-Hard Pastels

Cardboard Box Set of 36 – Assorted Colors

Mungyo Gallery Semi-Hard Pastels main image


  • Set of 36
  • Comes in a card box for safekeeping
  • Artist quality hard pastel set
  • Semi-Hard pastel


The Mungyo brand is a great brand for pastels in general ensuring you have a brilliant pastel painting experience. The packaging secures each stick very carefully and as securely as you would see in a tin box.

Additionally, the experience is great with most artists with this brand as even though they are semi-hard pastels they kick up less dust and work great on many surfaces.

  • Versatile color selection
  • Dust-free
  • Great for blending
  • Limited sticks


Mungyo Gallery art provides excellent pastels across all mediums. This makes them an extremely reliable brand for beginners.

Overall a great buy for your arsenal of art supplies where you get great value for money sticks.

05) Jack Richeson Signature Assorted Hard Square Pastels

Set Of 36

 Jack Richeson Signature Assorted Hard Square Pastels


  • Set of 36
  • Lightfast
  • Expert quality hard pastel
  • Square shaped / square edges


The Jack Richeson signature assorted set of 36 colors feature an expert quality selection of pastel stick ensuring you have the best experience while painting with your hard pastels.

Additionally, due to their high quality ingredients they are great for under painting and can be easily used in collaboration with other mediums of pastels such as oil pastels and soft pastels

  • Versatile color selection
  • Easy to hold
  • Excellent pigmentation
  • Very limited sized sticks.


This set is generally great for more experienced artists as they have great texture and finish and comes at a very affordable price.

Overall, a great purchase if you’re on a tight budget and want to quickly solve your hard pastel needs.

General Information About Soft Pastels

What to Look for When Buying Hard Pastels

The Correct Size

The correct size pastel is essential for your hands and experience while painting with pastel since it will dictate the comfort for you.

This is crucial simply because art is a very time-consuming endeavor and you want to make sure you have the correct fit for yourself.

The Right Colors For You

Clearly when you are painting you must have a certain style. Every artist has it, the inhibition that lies within an artist to go for a certain colour scheme is undeniable.

This entails that you will have to make sure the set that you get has the right colors for you.

Choosing The Right Strength

The right strength depends on what sort of painting you are doing and if you are using other mediums of pastel in your project.

With a designated working allocation for each medium, you need to make sure you are choosing the right strength for your pastel sticks.

Complimentary Materials

This dictates what else you will be using for your paintings, if you want to blend more and with ease then you may need a blending sponge or scraper knives.

Gauging The Right Price

 Gauging the right price is crucial to each individual and entails what sort of budget they are able to work with.

Keying in on how serious and sure you are about a product you should explore your options by comparing features and quality.

Other Important Factors to Consider

What is a hard pastel?

Hard pastels are a medium of pastels that are great for drawing detailed content and generally a great medium to paint with.

They contain different yet similar elements to other mediums of pastel in their family.

They are kind of like soft pastel but have more binder and kick up less dust.

How do they work?

They work like crayons to put it simply and you can use the edges to draw in lines, pretty much like any other medium of stick pastel that you would expect.

Who are they for?

They are for anyone who is looking to draw detailed drawings without having the need to use brushes and paints.

Easy and quick to work with.

What types of hard pastels are there?

There are a few types of hard pastels such as semi-hard pastels, normal hard pastel colors, angular shape and rectangular shape.

There is no telling how vastly different the pastel market is for how much it changes and innovates.

Why do you need hard pastels?

As mentioned earlier you need hard pastel if you want to make quick and easy work of your art projects.

Conclusion / Roundup

Overall, with all that being said what you want is simply dependent on you.

What you prefer is what will be the best for you.

Keep an open mind, have patience and keep trying to strive for perfection and you are set.


What types of hard pastels are there?

There are a few types of hard pastels such as semi-hard pastels, normal hard pastel colors, angular shape and rectangular shape.

It is difficult to assume the variation of the pastel market, for instance, how much it changes and innovates.

Why do you need hard pastels?

As mentioned before, hard pastels are required if you want to get your art projects done quickly.

What are pastel pencils?

As the name implies, a pastel pencil is a pastel but in the form of a pencil. ie the pastel is encased in a wooden pencil covering

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.