Soft pastels contain less binder thanhard pastels, which gives them their velvety texture or "bloom". They also contain more pigment, so the colors are richer and can be blended or smudged easily with a finger or soft tool. Soft pastels tend to be more delicate and can break more easily. Their soft texture (and smaller amount of binder) also creates more dust during use.
Available in square sticks, hand-rolled round sticks, one-of-a-kind pastel blocks, and even innovative "painting pastels" that come in stackable, interlocking jars, Nevada Fine Arts' broad range of individual pastels and sets include many specially developed for landscapes, portraits, seascapes, and more. The same softness that makes soft pastels easy to blend also allows them to be accidentally smudged, so it's always a good idea to use a spray fixative after completing a pastel painting.