Soft Pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. They are available in varying degrees of hardness, the softer varieties being wrapped in paper. Pastels are available in several types: hard, soft, oil and pastel pencils, each with their own unique characteristics. All you really need to get started are some pastel sticks, a sheet of paper, and your fingers! No other medium allows you to apply rich color to the support as quickly as you can with pastels. Despite their simplicity, pastels are very versatile. This versatility means that you can use pastels for all kinds of subjects and genres.
Soft pastels are the traditional form of pastels and also the most used. They have a very high concentration of pigment that is held together by the least amount of gum binder as possible. As a result, they crumble very easily, but their colors are wonderfully intense. This fragile consistency and powdery texture makes them well suited to blending, layering on lots of color, and for painterly effects.