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Using PanPastel       Techniques        Substrates

tipsVersatile and easy to use
Use PanPastel for a variety of techniques, including:

For Painting & Drawing

  • Painting (with & without pastel sticks, pencils and other media
  • Drawing – for sketching & blocking-in drawings
  • Subtractive (reductive) techniques – tone paper with PanPastel then subtract drawing using an eraser
  • Underpaintings e.g. initial sketch for paintings
  • Backgrounds e.g. for colored pencils
  • Color studies prior to painting in other media e.g. oils


For Mixed Media
Combine with inks, watercolors, pencils, encaustics, acrylics, pastel sticks and lots of other media for a variety of techniques (see examples).

For Digital / Photography
For hand-coloring digitally printed images on matt ink-jet & laser papers (see example)

watch video demo

Select a Sofft Tool, for example a Sofft Knife with matching Cover (as shown).

Load Sofft Tool with color by gently swiping over the pan surface 1-3 times with a circular motion. Swiping the pan’s surface more than necessary will generate excess dust.

Use gentle pressure - do not dig into the color.
Work the entire surface of the pan evenly

Re-load the tool as required and apply color multiple times for a more intense color application.

Apply color to paper / surface – try varying pressure and the angle of the tool during application to change the effect.
Do not over-blend color during application. 

Important: Do not apply wet tools, fluids or mediums directly to the pan’s surface. Liquids should only be applied to the working surface (e.g. paper).

Mix colors – like paint – to create intermediate colors.

Note: Traditional painting rules apply to prevent “mud” when mixing and applying colors.


Change colors quickly and easily – to use the same tool with several colors – simply “clean” between colors by wiping sponge/applicator on a dry paper towel.

Every now and then you may need to wash the Sofft Tools for a deeper clean. Wash gently with warm water and a mild soap. Squeeze. Lay on a paper towel to dry and air dry fully.

Sofft Tools can be re-used several times (depending on the surface used).

If a pan’s surface becomes contaminated with another color, gently wipe away the unwanted color with a clean Sofft sponge or a dry paper towel.

PanPastel is a very forgiving medium. If you don’t like the results you are getting you can easily erase with any eraser (prior to fixing).


Although it is not essential, fixative can be used to protect artwork. PanPastel is compatible with all pastel (spray) fixatives.

Fixative can also be used as a way to isolate previous layers of color when working with pastels, especially on less toothy surfaces.
Whether or not to use fixative and the technique chosen really depends on personal preference and your working method.

Visit our TECHNIQUES page for basic techniques suggestions.

QUESTIONS? Visit our FAQ page for more information on using PanPastel.





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