This is a great question. Pastels will get onto your hands – this is unavoidable unless:

  1. You wear disposable gloves. Although your hands will remain clean, they may get wet from perspiration. Sometimes finger tips only of gloves can be used which will eliminate the perspiration problem. Another option is to simply tear the palm of the hand away from the glove once you put it on your hand and your hand will remain relatively dry.
  2. A second option is to use a barrier cream for dry work (available from Chemists) that will give a protective film over your hands to prevent the pigment from seeping into the pores of your skin. Your hands will appear dirty from the pastels but the cream makes washing your hands easier after you have finished pastelling – the colour washes off with relative ease. The cream also assists in the prevention of experiencing dry hands. Re apply each time you wash your hands.
  3. A third option is to use a pastel holder. These are available in both round and square formats from quality art stores. You may require multiple holders and the ones that will adjust to various widths of pastels would be ideal. This can be cumbersome and fiddly but totally doable.
  4. To keep your work area clean simply make some sort of channel that you place on the ledge at the base of your easel that will catch any pastel dust that falls from your surface as you work. At the end of your work period simply empty the channel into the bin. An idea is to fold newspaper into an open style envelope to catch the dust and this can then be thrown away at the end of the work period.
  5. Don’t blow excess pastel away from your work at ANY TIME as this is a sure way to spread pastel dust and to facilitate you breathing it into your lungs
  6. Work less vigorously with your pastel sticks to eliminate pastel dust from spreading into the air as you work.
  7. Don’t work with a cross flow of moving air such as a fan as this will move the pastel dust around in the air
  8. Wet wipe your work area clean when you are finished your pastelling session. Avoid brushing the pastel as this will lift it into the air.
  9. Pick up dropped pastels immediately and wet wipe the area otherwise pastel can be walked by you throughout the room and maybe your home. Check underneath your shoes to ensure no pastel fragments are lurking there.

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