Best Hard Pastels

Best Hard Pastels US

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 27050 Premier NuPastel Firm Pastel Color Sticks

36 Count (Pack of 1)

Prismacolor 27050 Premier NuPastel Firm Pastel Color Sticks main image


  • Pack of 36, great addition to your art supplies
  • Can be used in both wet and dry conditions
  • Applicable on various surfaces
  • Versatile color selection


Prismacolor 27050 pack of 36 is a versatile pack of hard pastels that are truly strong and sturdy and the amount of binder used in each stick of pastel makes it so that it does not kick up a lot of dust. Upon application, they can be blended easily due to the consistency of the pastel.

Most artists prefer these pastels as they are great for beginner artists and professional artists alike.

  • Vibrant pigment
  • Hard edges for finer lines
  • Creamy consistency
  • Very limited sticks


For the price, each stick is of decent enough length and quality. While you generally would be investing more for more pastels in the long haul, this is good value for the time being.

Overall, a great set of hard pastels for a great price if you’re looking to try out hard pastels or need a stand-in on a budget.

02) Jack Richeson Signature Assorted Hard Square Pastels

Set of 72

Jack Richeson Signature Assorted Hard Square Pastels main image


  • Set of 72 square shape pastels
  • Semi-hard pastels
  • Stunning colors
  • Lightfast


The Jack Richeson Signature Assorted Hard Square pastels are a set of semi-hard pastels that have the best of both worlds with features of hard and soft pastels alike. This enables you to have better control over your creative processes if that’s what you’re looking for.

The pastels break easily due to having less pigment but that’s a sacrifice when you are going for semi-hard pastels to fulfil multiple types of finishes for your art projects.

  • Rich pigments
  • Square edges / square shape
  • You are free to easily blend the colors
  • They are prone to smudge easily


This set is a great set for anyone looking to get familiar with the works of soft pastels and hard pastels. With the right tools, you are on the straight path to creating amazing masterpieces for your art projects.

Overall, a great selection for student quality pastels and if you are looking for less binder in this useable form, then definitely worth your money to add to your collection of art materials.

03) Lyra Grey Tones Set of 12 Fine Art Hard Pastels

Artist Quality Hard Pastels Made in Germany

Lyra Grey Tones Set of 12 Fine Art Hard Pastels main image


  • Set of 12
  • Great for sketching and detailed work
  • Incredible consistency
  • Lightfast


If you have developed a taste for the monochrome life or maybe a sketch of the moon or things in that general area. The Lyra Grey tones set of 12 hard pastels has you covered for just that.

These are also great for preliminary sketches as you don’t need color to do those and this set features artist quality hard pastels that do just that.

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Waxy finish
  • Grey chalks
  • Unless you are a more experienced artist you will not find much use in monochromatic art


The Lyra set of 12 grey chalks is unlike other color sticks as you would expect. However, to have a healthy set of art materials this isn’t that bad of a pickup, especially if you want to work in monochrome and sketching this is just right for you.

Overall, a great purchase to expand your art materials and add a little bit of black and white to your arsenal. If you are a professional artist all the more reason for you to pick these up.

04) Cretacolor Pastel Carre

Set of 72

Cretacolor Pastel Carre main image


  • Set of 72
  • Hard edges
  • Less dust kick up
  • Rich pigments


Cretacolor Pastel Carre is a set of 72 that contains a selection of great hard pastels. The Cretacolor hard pastel brand is unlike other pastels simply because of the intricacy and quality of its products. Each stick has its number embedded for ease of identification.

It contains a healthy set of 72 colors including brown and gray chalks. Additionally, it contains hard pastels that are great for tightly rendered drawings, something that is really hard for conventional brands to do.

  • Creamy pigments
  • High-quality hard pastel product
  • Less dust in each of the color sticks
  • May face quality-related issues in mass production


The Cretacolor hard pastel set is a brilliant set of hard pastels containing rich and creamy pigments in each stick from brown and gray chalks to red and blue, each perfect for crisp lines and fine details.

Overall, Cretacolor hard pastels are extremely affordable, and this fact makes them an amazing contender as an entry-level set that can go a very long way in your art supplies.

05) Mungyo Gallery Semi-Hard Pastels

Cardboard Box Set of 36 – Assorted Colors

Mungyo Gallery Semi-Hard Pastels main image


  • Set of 36
  • Lightfast pigments
  • Square shape for easy holding
  • Vibrant colors


The Mungyo Gallery Semi-Hard Pastels feature a set of 36 assorted colors that are great as both soft pastel and hard pastel while being technically hard pastels or rather semi-hard pastels. These pastel sticks also sport a square shape for easy holding and produce vibrant colors.

Although they can serve quality similar to soft pastels they have the best of both worlds with more pigment in each stick that makes pastel painting super fun. Additionally, you get the dust-free application process due to the nature of the ingredients of hard pastels in general.

  • Lightfast and will retain shape without smudging
  • Versatile selection of colors
  • Great for intricate details and creating outlines
  • A very limited set of sticks for the price


The Mungyo brand is a decent brand of cheaper pastels as opposed to other brands. You may have a hit-or-miss experience with cheaper brands but these pastels, while bearing qualities of soft pastels, have a firmer consistency so you can use them for detail works with no worries.

Overall, this pack is a great purchase for a tight budget and are classed as high-quality products allowing you to easily get into hard pastel painting.

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 are hard and soft pastels?

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.

Any other pastel brands to add to the best of all the hard pastel brands?

Two other great brands to mention is perhaps koh i noor gioconda and faber castell

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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.