Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

Living Edition
| Editors: Ronnier Luo

Pastel Colors

  • Malvina Arrarte-Grau
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27851-8_250-2



In painting the term pastel comes from the French pastille (Delamare, 1999, p.117), meaning small loaf or lozenge, in relation to the characteristics of the stick used as a coloring medium. The noun “pastel” also denotes the artwork produced with pastel crayons. As an adjective, “pastel tones” refer to light, pale, clean colors, as those produced with pastel crayons.

The Pastel Crayon

A pastel crayon is a compact stick used as a dry coloring medium, which combines a pure powdered pigment and a neutral binding for cohesion and plasticity. A calcium carbonate component, such as chalk, gypsum, or pumice, is used in the preparation of the stick, resulting in various degrees of hardness and in gradations from the purest to the highly luminous. Hard pastels contain a higher proportion of binder, are sharper, and work for drawings and sketches. Soft pastels usually come wrapped in...


Calcium Carbonate Painting Surface Landscape Painting Interior Design Pale Color 
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  1. 1.
    Delamare F. and B. Guineau. 1999. Les Materiaux de la Couleur. France. GallimardGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Geddo C. 2008–9. Il “pastello” ritrovato: un nuovo ritratto di Leonardo? Italian in Artes, no. 14. http://www.lumiere-technology.com/Artes14.pdf. Accessed: August 24, 2015
  3. 3.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastel. Accessed: August 24, 2015

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arquitectura Paisajismo ColorLimaPeru