One of the most useful tools for a practising artist is a personal colour chart of all the pastels in his/her collection - leaving room for additions either by hue or tonal value. The next most useful tool is a set of manufacturers' colour charts. These will allow you to see the full range of colours available, and also permit you to preselect pastel sticks before sending your hard-earned money into the ether. Most manufacturers provide a colour chart online - either a pdf document or a set of jpeg images. Some makers will provide a printed chart, with or without an online version; the posher ones will do a handmade chart - at a price. I am listing here the major pastel makers, with a web address for their colour chart pages. The sample chart I am posting here is a jpeg from Henri Roché Pastels - one of the ten magnificent charts provided on their website.
Pastels Henri ROCHÉ are currently available in 650 colours.A colour chart is available as 10 jpeg images, as a pdf nuancier, or as a hand-made colour-chart of 648 nuances for 240 euros. http://www.lamaisondupastel.com/shop/shop_classic.php?langue=en
Sennelier Pastels, also French, are very soft and come in a range of 525 colours including the glitters. You may download a pdf chart at http://www.sennelier.fr/article/photo/dossier1/Nuancier_Pastel_Ecu.pdf
Swiss manufacturers Caran d'Ache have just (April 2012) launched a range of pastel "cubes" (square sticks) and pencils in a range of 84 colours, to complement one another. The colour chart may be saved as a pdf at http://www.pastels.carandache.com/pdf/nuancier_pastels_pencils_cubes_carandache.pdf
The very soft Schminke pastels of Germany likewise provide a pdf version of their selection at http://www.schmincke.de/fileadmin/bilder/Farbkarten/Pastell_Farbkarte.pdf
Belgian manufacturer Blockx has 204 colors in individual sticks or assortments. Again a pdf is provided at http://www.blockx.be/fr/produits/cartes%20de%20nuance/PASTELS%20W.pdf
Dutch maker Rembrandt has a range of 214 colours - each colour enlarges on screen on mouseover, but you can download the chart at http://rembrandt.royaltalens.com/en/colourchart/colour/rsp
Great American Art Works are available in 468 colors. There are four charts presented as savable jpegs: Earth; Grey; Unique; Chromatics. The link is http://www.greatpastels.com/color_chart.html
Back to France.
Pastels Girault has 300 colors, although they are aiming for a range of 526. Currently these colours are graded by theme into four sets: Portrait, Landscape’ Flowers/Fruit, Background. Click on each colour to see it at sidebar - they cannot be downloaded. The whole website needs a makeover. It seems stuck in the same time warp as the French Pastel Society used to be before it escaped! Roché Pastels currently has the coolest website - it was designed by Antoine Leblond, son of pastellist Camille Leblond. http://www.pastelsgirault.com/girault_pastels.htm
Terry Ludwig has a 515 colour pastel line. Only hand made charts are available at 40 dollars each - I don't know if that is per set, or for all 515. No charts are visible on line, so I have not given the web address - it is easy to find with a search engine.
Diane Townsend has three lines of pastel - softform, terrages, and thin line. You can download a jpeg image of the collections - boxed sets, not a chart. There are sets of all 120 Solid pure colors, 120 Light (L) and 120 Dark (D) variations of each color and 48 exotic colors set (10 fluorescent, 7 iridescent, 15 pearlescent and 16 metallic). That comes to 408 in total. Go to http://www.townsendpastels.com/ and choose the line you want.
Holbein are a Japanese product. The 144 colour line is made using an entirely computerized process to ensure uniformity of both color and consistency. The medium soft consistency and the square shape are suitable for edge, lines and detail. You can buy a handmade colour chart for 15 dollars from suppliers such as Dakota. The Holbein website has a range of colour charts for their various products, and you can print off the chart you want. If you want to download the pastel chart you must right-click on the link and open the link in a new tab or window. Or just go directly to: http://www.holbeinhk.com/images/ch_artist_soft_pastels.jpg
Mount Vision has 347 colours with 3 duplicates added to make an even 350. Greg Biolchini chose the colors for the 50 Workshop set. It is an all-purpose set containing colors that mix well, with the selection weighted toward darker colors. The 25 Basic, Portrait and Landscape Add-on sets allow you to expand the Workshop 50 set with no duplication of colors! A handmade chart is available from supplier for 25 dollars.On the website the colurs are present as sets of 3 to six shades ( there are 11 greys) and these must be saved individually; you can also right click between the colours and choose the print option. Go to http://www.mountvisionpastels.com/colors.htm
Australian manufacturers Artspectrum have a range of approximately 150 colours. The chart can be printed off the website, but not saved as am image, although again the individual colours can, if you have the patience. The web address is http://www.artspectrum.com.au/soft_pastles.html
Note: the mis-spelling of "pastles" is a real error in the web address; use it as spelled, do not correct it.
Faber Castell have a range of soft pastels, and pastel pencils, that complement each other. Colour charts are available as downloadable pdf files - you will nee Adobe Acrobat reader (or an alternative such as Nitro pdf reader.) THe 60 Pitt pastel pencils chart is at http://www.fabercastell.com/bausteine.net/file/showfile.aspx?downdaid=6037&domid=1010&fd=0
The 120 Polychromos pastel sticks link is http://www.fabercastell.com/bausteine.net/file/showfile.aspx?downdaid=6035&domid=1010&fd=0
Pan Pastels are available in 20 pure colours, 20 tints, 20 shades, and 20 extra darks. Go to http://www.panpastel.com/colors.html to download a pdf file. Or go directly to http://www.panpastel.com/images/pdfs/colorchart.pdf and miss a step.
NuPastel charts are available from a number of websites. There are 96 colours in this range of square section firm sticks. You can download a blank chart in which to put your own colours from http://www.prismacolor.com/Style%20Library/PrismaColor/media/promotions/PrismacolorPastelChart.pdf
If you want a pre-coloured chart there are several options: http://www.jaynscott.com/prismacolor/nupastel-chart.html and go to this link for the complete NuPastel colour chart as a downloadable GIF file: http://www.reuels.com/reuels/Nupastel_Half-Hard_Pastel.html
or here as a pdf: http://www.hyatts.com/pdf/ARTMNupastelCC.pdf
Or you can download a set of seven small images at http://www.rexart.com/media/color_charts/sanford/nupastel/nupastel1.html
A hand-made chart for the Korean Mungyo Gallery Artists semi-hard pastels has been posted on the WetCanvas forum on http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=617284 Just scroll down the page until you find them. The Mungyo range includes extra-fine soft; soft; and semi-hard pastels (oil pastels too). To download the most comprehensive colour chart ever, that encompasses the whole range, go to http://www.mungyo.co.kr/eng/color.pdf
Derwent Pastels 36 square hard pastels chart: http://www.pencils.co.uk/streamblob.ashx?blob=%2ffiles%2fproductchart%2fPastels+Chart__u50vdhgr.pdf
For the pencils, go to http://www.pencils.co.uk/product.aspx?mid=725 and click on the colour chart link at the bottom of the page.
Stabilo CarbOthello pencils don't seem to have a chart that may be downloaded, but you can print this page if you right click and take the print option: http://www.stabilo.com/penfinder/fineart/html/products_gb/gb/carbo_c.htm
Finally, from the United Kingdom, Unison Pastels. There are nearly 400 colours ranging from subtle greys and earth colours to brilliant reds, blues, greens and yellows. The pastels are supplied in Mixed, Portrait and Landscape colours in boxes of 8, 18, 36 and 72 colours, but are also available individually. The colour charts are available only on screen – they cannot be downloaded except, curiously, as individual colours – have fun! The best you can do is download the image of the half-stick set of 63, on http://www.unisoncolour.co.uk/colours.aspx?Group=half%20stick%20sets&Page=half%20stick%2063%20set You can email the manufacturer for a printed version. Of course, you can always use the Prt Sc button on your PC and paste the image into Photoshop or some such program and save it as a jpeg. The result is not too bad - I can't post it here for copyright reasons; just be aware that Unison point out that the online colour is approximate, and of course it will depend on your PC's colour card and monitor.