This is a medium popular with artists from the 18th century onwards. It consists of pigments bound in gum which are set in moulds the size of easily usable sticks. Pastel was especially popular for portraits in the 18th century because it took less time than painting in oil.

Pastels can be either soft or hard; the distinction has implications for the type of image created.

La Tour and Degas are widely recognised as being among the most accomplished pastellists.