A pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all coloured art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation. The colour effect of pastels is closer to the natural dry pigments than that of any other process.

Pastels have been used by artists since the Renaissance, and gained considerable popularity in the 18th century, when a number of notable artists made pastel their primary medium.

Pastels are available in several types: hard, soft, oil and pastel pencils, each with their own unique characteristics.

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