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Faber Castell Pitt Pastel Pencils
Cloud Illustration of Faber Castell Pitt Pencils
Faber-Castel Pitt Pencils
Although I mainly use Unison Pastels in my work, there is always a place for Faber-Castell's wonderful Pitt pencils. I tend to use them when I want fine lines, or particularly defined edges within my work, for example, perhaps I might want to highlight the edges of fluffy or stormy clouds. Some pastel artists solely use pastel pencils, although, I find creating broad areas of colour, such as sky or water very tedious and expensive to do with a pencil.
Faber Castell is an old, established European manufacturer that makes quality writing/drawing materials. Their information states that they produce over 1800, 000,000 pencils a year, so they must be getting something right!
The company was founded in 1761 and is still family run. Originally a small workshop, Faber-Castell now has 14 factories. Their range comprises watercolour pencils, coloured pencils, pastels crayons, drawing ink and many other drawing and sketching materials.
Why Pitt Pencils?
The pencils have a fine round wooden body which means they turn easily in the hand so I can create broad and fine lines just by rolling the pencil in my grip. The fine-grained wood casing allows for easy sharpening without splitting (more about sharpening later).
The polychromos colours are clear and vibrant and complement my Unison Pastels really well, and the pastel core is soft, but not so fragile that it keeps breaking when I use it. They are great to use over stick pastels to create fur on animals.
With 120 colours in the range and several tones of each colour I never struggle to find the right shade for my work.
Jack Russel Using Pitt Pencils and Unison Pastels
Which Pastel Pencil Sharpening Method?
I use two methods of sharpening pastel pencils.
Long lead method:
If I want a long length of pencil core so that I can use the pencil on its side to create broad strokes, for clouds perhaps, I use an craft knife (I like a nice Stanley knife) to shave away the wood from the tip of the pastel, leaving about 1/4" of core showing. It's important not to shave away the pastel core with the blade, or it will split and break off when you wish to use it. To create a fine point, I then rub the pastel core on some medium sandpaper whilst rolling the pencil in my hand, thus creating a fine point with a long length of core pigment.
Fine Point method:
If I simply wish to sharpen the point of my Pitt Pastel pencil, maybe for creating a dog's fur, there is no need to have a long length of pastel core showing, so no need to use the craft knife. I simply rub the side of the pencil tip on medium sandpaper whilst rolling the pencil in my hand. This is sufficient to remove the wood casing and create a nice point.
NEVER USE A PENCIL SHARPENER
The two photos illustrate two uses of Faber-Castell Pitt pencils. The sky and clouds were created using Unison Blue Violet stick pastel with varying shades of Pitt Pastel pencil over. The clouds were created using the Pitt pencils on their sides to create dense broad strokes of colour and giving the cloud edges a defined shape.
The dog's fur was created using Unison pastel for the base colour, then drawing over it with Pitt pencils, but using the tip of the pastel, creating fine lines for the fur.