Many manuals on pastel painting take for granted the use of traditional soft pastels, a dry medium that provides the richness and variety of paint colours. Soft pastel is certainly the most versatile and widely used, but the modern range of materials include other pastel types that have their own specific.
The techniques described in the A-Z section of this encyclopedia are related to the full pastel range - soft pastels, hard pastels, pastel pencils, oil pastels and water-soluble pastels. The exact characteristics of all these media vary slightly between different manufacturers' ranges and you may find a particular brand that you prefer for its ease of handling or colour qualities, but it is quite possible to mix and match from different selections.
In the second part of the book, Themes, you can see the techniques in context. Illustrated with a gallery of paintings, as well as informative step-by-step demonstrations, it shows how well-known artists apply their own knowledge and experience to the interpretation of a subject, whether landscape, portrait or still life.
Judy Martin is a painter and teacher also known as the author of a number of practical art books. She lives and works in Brighton, on England's south coast, and exhibits in her home studio every year for the Artist's Open Houses during Brighton Festival. She studied painting and printmaking at Maidstone College of Art and went on to a two-year postgraduate degree at Reading University. She was a freelance writer and editor for a period of fifteen years, and has subsequently worked in adult education and at a mental health day centre, facilitating groups in art craft and ceramic work.