Artist Jacqueline Bright paints commissions for pet portraits, as well as creating wildlife art from her studio in Norfolk, UK. Jacqueline works in a realistic, traditional style using soft pastels. She wrote a review on jacksonsart.com explaining her search for a range of soft pastels which would best suit her style, and why Jackson’s Soft Pastels are some of the best she has used. We asked her to expand on her review and share some further comments.
By Jacqueline Bright
I bought two sets of the Jacksons 14 x soft pastels, a flesh tone set and a grey set, and to be honest I did not expect too much from them, just because sometimes own-brand products can be a bit below par. They are much cheaper than some other brands such as Unison. At just under £23 per set of 14, I thought it would be rude not to give them a chance.
Well, I’m so pleased I did! The quality of these pastels really has exceeded my expectations. They are very reasonably priced for the high quality, and the range and the subtle changes in the colours are brilliant.
There are 200 colours to choose from, and you can buy these in a number of ways. Individually, in themed sets, or you can pick and choose your own 14 colours to make a personalised set. They are very well packaged, very secure and nice quality boxes, each individual pastel has its own little place in the foam to rest securely.
The pastels themselves are wrapped in a paper sleeve, so you don’t get too much on your fingers when you are working with them, although they are not nearly as dusty as some other brands. They are a nice size to hold as well. I only work on Clairefontaine Pastelmat, so I can only comment on how the pastels work on this surface type, but they really do work wonderfully well.
I like to use soft pastels after a base layer of Panpastels, but before adding details with pencils, as I find these are great to get a more vibrant colour laid down.
Jackson’s soft pastels glide over the Pastelmat wonderfully, laying down plenty of colour without leaving lots of dust.
I start by drawing out the outline of the subject with a pastel pencil, marking out where the main shadows and highlights are. I often then start with the eyes and finish them straight away, as it’s just so important to get these right. The eyes are usually just drawn with pencils so I can get the detail in, but I will often add to them with soft pastels for added colour vibrancy.
The pastels are lovely and smooth and creamy, similar to Unison pastels, but a touch harder. I tend to prefer pastels that sway more towards the soft end of the spectrum, rather than hard, like for instance, Conte sticks.
I find hard pastels a little scratchy, and the pigment intensity is just not present in the harder brands. You could class Jackson’s pastels as a medium soft pastel as they are the best of both worlds. They are hard enough to create a certain amount of detail, yet soft enough to provide great colour vibrancy and expressive mark-making.
I like to blend the pastels and layer them for subtle tonal changes. They blend well with a finger, or with a paper blending stump. You can really push them into the paper without losing the marks you have made.
Truly a great purchase, I look forward to using Jackson’s soft pastels a great deal more in my work in the future, and look forward to purchasing more soon. The trick is deciding which colours to buy next!
About Jacqueline Bright
Jacqueline lives in Norfolk, UK, and works in pastels in a realistic, traditional style. She offers commissions for pet portraits and also creates original wildlife art in between commissions, which she sells through local exhibitions, craft fairs, and online.
‘I find that pastels are lovely to work with to create fur and various textures on animals, and they really capture their spirit and character. They are one of the oldest and most reliable media to use, and if properly taken care of will last a lifetime without fading. I have always been an animal lover and had a lifelong passion for drawing and art, so I decided in 2016 that it was only natural that I combine these two things, so I took the plunge and set up my little business right then, offering commissions for pet portraits and wildlife art.’
Jacqueline is a member of the SAA (Society for All Artists), the Association of Animal Artists and the WNAA (West Norfolk Artists Association), and has taken part in several local exhibitions and shows in the last few years. Jacqueline has a Diploma with Distinction in Pet Portraits and has had several mentions and awards in recent years, including ‘Best In Show’ award at the Norfolk Creative Arts Exhibition 2018 and the People’s Choice Award in our 2018 Emerging Artist Prize.
More information can be found on Jacqueline’s website and Facebook.