A pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation. The color effect of pastels is closer to the natural dry pigments than that of any other process.
Pastels have been used by artists since the Renaissance, and gained considerable popularity in the 18th century, when a number of notable artists made pastel their primary medium.
An artwork made using pastels is called a pastel (or a pastel drawing or pastel painting). Pastel used as a verb means to produce an artwork with pastels; as an adjective it means pale in color.