Lucky, lucky me! I received a new full set of Mungyo Gallery Soft Pastels from Jerry's Artarama along with a package of UART Sanded Pastel Paper just in time for my holiday break. I have been asked by many people how these pastels perform so here is my review:
The full set of 200 is an excellent starter or base set with a wide variety of color choices packed into a beautiful sturdy and classy box which is perfect for travel. The set that I received was perfectly intact without a single break (I don't like broken new pastels). The colors are nicely arranged and AP non-toxic. Each pastel is about the size of woman's thumb, very similar to Unison Soft Colour Pastels. For me, the size is perfect.
The quality of each pastel was consistent across the range of colors I used. The pigments are pretty rich…at least the blue/green colors that I pulled out for this piece and I assume that is true for the other colors.
Gallery Handmade Soft Pastels have the approximately the hardness/softness of something between Rembrandt Pastels and Unisons. They are only slightly less blendable than the Unisons for this reason. The option to subtly shift tones in additional layers is excellent but for some, to significantly change a color with a subsequent layer would require a softer pastel such as Unison, Mount Vision, Townsend, or Schminke. This also may depend on the surface you prefer and how much pressure you apply when painting. Still, they are good for blending and layering and are a great base set for professionals and students.
The Gallery's handled very well on the UART paper (600 grit) which is my favorite surface so far. I imagine they would be good on any professional pastel surface.
My overall impression of these pastels was excellent and even more impressive when one considers the value. The full set is priced at $624.99 but on sale through Jerry's (but out of stock, sadly-10-30-13) for $499.99, you really can't beat the price at all for the overall value.
I'd love to hear your thoughts or any questions you have but I hope this helps. Happy painting!