The Art Gear Guide  

The Art Gear Guide is your one stop shop for the most recent, up to date, honest reviews on all your favourite art supply products. 


Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastels

Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastels

Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastels

When I first became involved and started watching colored pencil artists on YouTube; marvelling at the amazing art they were creating, I knew it was something I wanted to aspire to achieve. As I became more and more confident with colored pencils, I started looking at other similar mediums such as pastel pencils and pastes in general. Again, the art I was watching pastel artists create was mind blowing and so I just knew I wanted to try my hand at them as I was developing so many ideas for paintings with them. 

At the beginning of the this year ( 2018 ) Koh-I-Noor sent me out quite a range of supplies for me to review which I am eternally thankful for and humbled that a company such as Koh-I-Noor are happy enough with my reviews that they trust their products with me to deliver an honest review. 

So far I have had the privilege of testing and reviewing the Koh-I-Noor Polycolor, Mondeluz and Woodless pencils, all three outstanding products and at incredibly affordable prices. Knowing Koh-I-Noor as I do, in all honesty, when I received these Extra Soft Pastels to review, I obviously knew I was in for a treat, however, there is more to reviews than just having fun and that is what I intend showing you guys in this review. 

Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastels Available Sets  

The only criticism I have with the Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastels is that there is not more of them. The largest set in this range is 48, with smaller sets ranging from 12, 24 and 36. The really good thing however is that the pastels are sold in open stock form, so if you use a particular color much more than others, you can replace it as a when needed. 

Although I have mentioned that I would like to see larger sets than 48 because I love them so much, it is also worth mentioning that the Extra Soft Pastels are not the only Pastel Koh-I-Noor produce, they also have pastel pencils which I will also be reviewing for you very soon, they also do dry pastels in round and rectangle studs as well as oil pastels.

Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastel Characteristic  

The Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastel are cylinders of buttery gems, when you remove the sleeve from the box and remove the box lid, you are greeted with a spectrum of brilliant color gently nestled in between black foam slots to protect their delicate composition. 

Each cylinder is wrapped in a protective clear plastic coat, which obviously serves the purpose of protecting the actual pastel and displaying the relevant information about the individual pastel. 

Printed on the plastic is the Koh-I-Noor Logo, at the side of which in large print is "Extra Soft Pastel" which is the particular brand. Just above this is printed "Toison D'or" which I think is French and means "Golden Fleece" according to Google Translate. 

Further on round the plastic sleeve is printed the pigment name of the Pastel, followed with a numerical code which relates to the individual pastel should you need to replace a particular pastel. Next to the code and perhaps most important of all the information is the lightfast rating. Of all 48 Extra Soft Pastels, the lightfast ratings are really good, 5 star being the most lightfast and 1 star being the least lightfast, of the 48 Extra Soft Pastels 39 are 5 star, 5 are 4 star, 2 are 3 star and 2 are 2 star with no 1 star. So as you can see the vast majority of the pastels are 5 star rating and in fact only 4 of the pastels may not be used if you are completing a commission for someone, which on a ratio bases is absolutely excellent. 

Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastels Performance 

When I very first got started in pastels, because I wasn't sure as to whether or not I was going to like them, I purchased cheap pastel paper, which I soon discovered was a bad idea. I always tell people that the surface you are creating your art on is just as important as the art mediums you are using, that cheap pastel paper I used was perhaps the biggest reason I disliked pastels at that stage. It wasn't until I done a bit more research and discovered good quality pastel paper, that I discovered just how amazing pastels are to work with. 

One of the excellent points about them is that you can come back in with lights over your darks, something that simply cannot be achieved with colored pencils. With the Koh-I-Noor Extra soft Pastels, laying them down on the pastelmate, which was my first surface of testing, the pigment to the pastelmat was almost magnetic. The lightest touch transferred ample pigment, when gliding along the paper, it was clear to feel and see just how creamy and buttery the pastels are. Koh-I-Noor are not messing about when they claim them to be extra soft. 

The next surface I tried the pastels on was UART sanded paper, for this test I chose a middle of the line paper in terms of sanded grade, with 800 being the smoothest paper and 200 the roughest, I used the 320 grade. Again, because of the sand paper nature of the surface, the very lightest touch between pastel and surface claimed the pigment, delivering bright and vibrant layer. 

I was able to create a simple piece of art and speed painting using the Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastels, hoping to help demonstrate to you just how wonderful they are, their vibrancy and easy layering ability. In the art work I also used the Koh-I-Noor Pastel Pencils which I will be reviewing for you very soon as well.

Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastel Pricing

To purchase any of the Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastel sets here in the UK, you can expect to pay for the smallest set of 12 £8, the 24 set £11, the 36 set £24 and the largest set of 48 will cost you £31. As you can see, for £31 you can purchase for yourself 48 excellent quality Koh-I-Noor extra soft pastels, but more importantly, all but 4 of them are excellent lightfast rating, you can do as many commissions as you like and know with confidence your art is protected against the light. 

In America to purchase the same excellent quality pastels will cost you $18 for a set of 12, for the 24 set $27, for the 36 set $39, and for the largest 48 set it will cost you $41. 

For those of you in Europe you can expect to pay €12 for the smallest 12 set, for the 24 set €17, for the 36 set €23 and for the largest 48 set you will pay €27. 

Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastel Conclusion

When you take into consideration the incredibly low price tag for the Koh-I-Noor pastels and the amazing lightfast rating throughout all 48 pastels, I really don't think you can go wrong with these wonderful pastels. 

Even if you take all these amazing qualities about the pastels away, their beautiful soft smooth consistency and easy ability to lay down pigment and blend, any artist regardless of experience is going to have a lot of fun with them.

I personally loved using them, making my only criticism of the Koh-I-Noor Extra Soft Pastels all the more pertinent and that is that there is no enough of them. I know, with the other pastel sets combined, Koh-I-Noor have a total of 120 tones across those ranges. With the Extra soft pastels I would love to see a 72 set or if I was really allowed to push things 120 and I say this only because I love them so much. 

As well as the SpeedPainting you can also check out our YouTube review of the Pastels and see a full demonstration of them. 


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