Pastels are my fave! They provide a smooth finish that's great for creases, shading, and blushing. My favorite brands are Rembrandt and Unison, but lately I've been experimenting with recently popular Pan Pastels. Many reborn artists are using them now, as they have superior pigment load. Due to their incredible strength, you have to mix them with Colorless Blender (also made by Pan Pastel). Reborn artist April Yap created a beautiful, FREE tutorial for reborning with Pan Pastels that you can find here:
I've been playing around with different ratios of blender and various colors mixed together. I don't measure anything, so I can't tell you exact recipes. But I don't like all that loose powder floating around. (Did you know pastel dust is harmful to inhale? Yep. Don't do it.) I've figured out a way to make a clean, covered, powder-free palette of custom colors!
Mix up your batch-o-color. I start with the Colorless Blender and gradually add color. Use a palette knife or other thin, rigid tool to scrape powder from the cake. Always start with your lighter, less intense colors. It's much easier to darken a batch than lighten it! I test the mix as I go on a practice limb until I'm happy with the color. Make sure it's mixed well and there are no big chunks of pastel.
Add isopropyl alcohol. Again, I just eyeballed this. I used a plastic pipette. Mix thoroughly, making sure there are no lumps. I used a silicone tool, but if you don't have one you can use your finger. You want a consistency like thin pudding.
Pour into the well of a clean palette. I like the simple white plastic 10-well palette with a lid. You can find them at art supply or craft stores. Let it dry, and you're ready to go! I like to label the palette with colors I used in the mix. If you change colors later, sharpie can be cleaned off the palette with rubbing alcohol.
I hope this is helpful! Here are the colors I used in the palette shown above (mixed together in different ratios):
Magenta extra dark
Red iron oxide shade
Burnt sienna shade
Ultramarine Blue (Rembrandt brand)
P.S. You can also use rubbing alcohol to fix shattered pan pastels...and pressed powder makeup!
A fellow artist pointed out that isopropyl alcohol strips acrylic paint. I use Genesis Heat Set Paint, so this method of creating custom pastel palettes using alcohol has NOT been tested on air dry/acrylic. When in doubt...consult with your test limb! 😉