Saturday, May 5, 2012

Colour charts

I don't usually post anything other than reviews on this blog, but I went to some trouble to collect all these links for my other blog and I thought that I might as well repeat it here for those of you who don't check out Pastelprogress. (Shame on you!)
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. 

Jackson's Soft Handmade Pastels are new to to the market as of April 2014. Of the highest professional quality, There are 200  colours, tints and shades in the full range, as well as wide array of themed selection sets. Sets of 14 individual Soft Pastels ordered are presented in a handy pastel set box. Each pastels is about 2 ins (50 mm) in length and about 5/8 inch wide; they are not unlike Unison. They are described as lightfast, with the exception of the 4 fluorescent colours; in use they are soft and buttery,  not quite as soft perhaps as Sennelier, and Schminke, but not far off. They retail at approximately £1.50 each, thus making the full set reasonably attainable for the serious pastellist. A colour chart will be available in pdf format; this is an image of the range:

Jackson's Hard Pastels are manufactured by Jackson's Art Supplies. The full set consists of a modest 64 colours supplied in square half-sticks. There is a very useful range of neutrals in grey and in earth shades; two rather day-glow shades of pink and orange respectively; and a set of blues and greens that includes shades for blue and turquoise seas. When I checked the catalogue the full set appeared to be retailing at an astonishing £7.95 - at that price they are perfectly pitched at the beginner who wants a decent range of colours without breaking the bank. This set retails at the price of about 3 full sticks from the main pastel makers. I have given them a brief trial, and they glaze well over existing layers on paper such as Canson Mi-Teint Touch. They are softer than Nupastel,  - somewhere in the region of Rembrandt perhaps. There is no colour chart, so I have photographed the set for posting here. I have no information on light-fastness or pigment to binder ratio at this time.
Jackson's Pastel Set

Blue Earth Pastels are available in 10 boxed sets, each consisting of 21 individual sticks, organized by hue, value and intensity. Six of the boxes represent the warm and cool side of the primary colors and three boxes are devoted to the secondary colors. Each contains the hue in six values from light to dark and 14 greyed variations. The tenth box is composed of warm and cool grays, warm and cool whites, and black.
As of Fall 2013, this range has been expand to 336 pastels. For each of the color ranges, a fourth row or 'D' line has been added. This row is further de-saturated with the complement for a very subtle, neutralized, grayed row of color. With this addition, each color range set now has 28 colors. A new Turquoise set of 28 colors was added to fill a gap in the previous color range.
Here is the Blue Earth colour chart before the expansion of the range (for the updated chart, see the website).

The website is and the pastels are available from Dakota Art Pastels.

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 850 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.

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

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
The very soft Schminke pastels of Germany likewise provide a pdf version of their selection at

Belgian manufacturer Blockx has 204 colors in individual sticks or assortments. Again a pdf is provided at

Dutch maker Rembrandt has a range of 214 colours - each colour enlarges on screen on mouseover, but you can download the chart at 

Great American Art Works are available in 468 colors. There are four charts presented as savable jpegs: Earth; Grey; Unique; Chromatics. The link is

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.

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 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:
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
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
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
The 120 Polychromos pastel sticks link is
Pan Pastels are available in 20 pure colours, 20 tints, 20 shades, and 20 extra darks. Go to to download a pdf file. Or go directly to 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
If you want a pre-coloured chart there are several options: and go to this link for the complete NuPastel colour chart as a downloadable GIF file:
or here as a pdf:
Or you can download a set of seven small images at
A hand-made chart for the Korean Mungyo Gallery Artists semi-hard pastels has been posted on the WetCanvas forum on  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
Derwent Pastels 36 square hard pastels chart:
For the pencils, go to  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:

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 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.


  1. Thanks for this collection of useful links, I did notice though that the reference numbers in the Faber-Castell 60 pastel pencils were not the same as in the other Faber-Castell colour charts eg:

    Maybe it's an old(er) version.
    Anyhow, thanks again for this post.

  2. Thank you for the information on Faber-Castell. I posted what I found, but I don't actually have any of that brand so I could not compare the reference numbers. Anyway, the colour charts are only ever going to be a guide to what is available. I make up my own charts when I buy the pastels.

  3. Thanks so much posting this listing of pastel color charts.
    It's thoughtful of you.

    1. Thank you Laurel. I must admit I find them useful myself!

  4. Thank you for sharing your hard work in finding these links! I am kind of new to pastels and like to learn all that I can. Thanks!

  5. Dinah, I'm happy they are of some use. It's a useful directory of brands, but you need to test them yourself to find those that best suit your approach!

  6. The Art Spectrum web site listed above is now
    invalid, it's changed to: Yes, the "pastles.html" is a real error in the address! The company is changing and updating it's whole web site. Hopefully when that is completed that particular spelling mistake will be corrected!