Ok, ive been reading like crazy and to me it sounds like oil pastels are for me. But i also like the idea of Pastel Pencils. As a beginner what would you all start off with? I know they all have their pros and cons but if you had to choose one (if i had the money id buy them all and try them, lol) Thanks in advance for any suggestions

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Joni, I had heard that cockatiels can talk.  I have a friend who has one, he's now about 30 years old!  They can bite, that much I do know about them, my brother and his wife owned 2, and they hated being touched, they would bite!  (yikes!).   As you already know, cats DO make great companions.  I remember a news article a couple years back that suggested people get a CAT if they want to live long and be healthy.  Interesting that they didn't say a puppy, although a puppy will have the SAME effect!  Also, I visited nursing homes awhile back and I remember seeing cats quietly laying on the beds of terminally ill patients.  All animals are awesome, Joni!  

Riley was S-P-O-I-L-E-D (lol)! When someone approached his cage he didn't know he would say "pretty bird" and he also said that every time he looked in his mirror.  He loved being out and he would roam around on the floor and play with the cat toys, he'd climb up my pants leg and up onto my shoulder and kiss me on the cheek but I couldn't wear earring around him, he would try to take them off my ears (lol).  He loved to have his head rubbed he would even make what we called the "pet my head" gesture at the cat when he would walk by him.  The cat didn't mess with him.  Now the only "pet" I drew the line on was one my eldest son brought in when he moved back in with me for a while - for a week we have a Savannah Monitor - a small one thankfully in an aquarium in his room.  Drove the cat batty! Buzzy (cat) would sit on Michael's dresser all day and just stare at the thing.  It stayed for a week and Michael took it to the local flea market and came home with a shitzu (sp) puppy for his fiance.  Now don't get me wrong, I love lizards - outside - not in my house.  We had a big 30 gal aquarium years ago when the boys were little and they talked me into getting a crab at Walmart one evening for it and that little demon kept climbing up the intake tube and I would find him scooting across the kitchen floor.  I feared I would wake up in bed with it at some point in time, I was glad when it finally died.

Ok, I'm confused...thinking about pastel pencils and don't know which are best. I don't think I want oil, because I really want to be able to blend them. Which do you all prefer and why? I know it's probably been answered on here, but thought I'd ask again....not enough time to surf through all the answers. Thanks!

I've used both and that's a good choice. One happy thing about pastel pencils - it's very easy to work small with them!  General's are good ones, I've used them. They are pretty decent for the money. That brand is good for charcoal and graphite pencils too. If you get into it and want a larger range, mixing brands on pastel pencils is fine and will allow you to build a collection much larger than any brand's full range. With pastels, the more colors you have to work with, the easier it gets. 

Don't feel like you're limited to just one type of pastels. Oil pastel is almost its own medium and student grade oil pastels are so cheap you might as well play with them in your sketchbook and see if you like them. Some brands you can get fifty or sixty colors for five bucks - it's worth that for a toy. I don't worry about lightfastness in a sketchbook since the pages do not get exposed to light very often, it's not like wall art where it will be exposed day after day whether you look at it or not. 

Pastel sticks handle a bit differently and you can make broader marks turning them on their sides. This is why many artists break their pastel sticks to have inch-wide pieces for bold strokes. Most serious pastelsits I know eventually collect several brand in different hardnesses and textures, unless their style is using just one. Some brands work better with different papers too - it's a lifelong exploration for me now that there's so much wonderful variety in sticks an dpapers.

One place to try out lots of cool things is check eBay for used sets of pastels and pastel collections, from artists who changed mediums or someone moved and left it, etc. You can get enormously valuable supplies cheap used in random collections - sometimes inside boxes and containers that were themselves pretty expensive bought separately. This is a good way to build up a large palette and try different textures for less money. You can compare the used ones that feel different - softer, harder, shaped different - by looking at the pastels in physical art stores to find those that feel the same when you handle them. I've tried a lot of different brands so if I get a grab bag I can usually identify what's in it by feel and occasionally by proprietary color.

Christina Mcclintock said:

ok so i purchased the pencils (Generals) and some pastel paper (Canson) and some blending tortillons. I will probably start with something really small tonight (way to much to do today). I went to Hobby Lobby/Michaels (had 50% off coupons) and that was the only pastel pencils they had.

Christie..yea, i fretted over this discussion for awhile and i decided on the pencils. Im sure they are not the best (orginal cost $19.99 for 12 pencils) but I am dabbling in all mediums and dont want to put alot of money into something till i know i like it (or am half way decent at it)

Aww I'm with you. My cat is thirteen years old and he is a great companion. He's an official emotional support animal, with papers that'd let me take him with into some places I couldn't normally bring pets (on account of my disabilities). This cat takes care of me and on pain days he will distract me at exactly the right moment. Hard to think about the pain if I've got a furry head banging under my chin and a loud purr and those big blue eyes demanding attention. But if I'm lost in creativity he will actually wait till I slow down and get stuck before going with the "Love me daddy," routine.

We have the food and water reminder worked out simple. Every time I get up for anything, it's time to check his needs and give him at least a couple of fresh kibbles on top of the bowl to show I care and he'll ankle bang and purr and be sweet. I found out he really likes his water refreshed seven or eight times a day, he no more likes tepid water than I do, it's best when cold and freshly served.

Jenifer Nadira Knight said:

Joni, I had heard that cockatiels can talk.  I have a friend who has one, he's now about 30 years old!  They can bite, that much I do know about them, my brother and his wife owned 2, and they hated being touched, they would bite!  (yikes!).   As you already know, cats DO make great companions.  I remember a news article a couple years back that suggested people get a CAT if they want to live long and be healthy.  Interesting that they didn't say a puppy, although a puppy will have the SAME effect!  Also, I visited nursing homes awhile back and I remember seeing cats quietly laying on the beds of terminally ill patients.  All animals are awesome, Joni!  

I found 48-pc high quality soft pastel pencils on Craigslist for less than half their retail value. The package hadn't been opened.

there's another type of pastel that doesn't get mentioned often you might like to try... conte crayon... which is a hard pastel. A different look and feel to both soft pastel and oil pastel. just throwing the idea out there, cuz that's my favorite pastel to work with! ;o)

I sketch with a black conte crayon.

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