Richard McKinley and Pastel Pointers - always the best of information. If you haven't subscribed to McKinley's blog, you are really missing out. He is generous with instruction tips as well as broad overviews of everything pastel.
Here's a quick link for subscribing. http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThePastelPointersBlog.
Today's post by McKinley is about hard v. soft in pastel and in the artist's touch: "The pastel stick, surface, and artist’s hand all work in harmony to produce a desired outcome. Having the latitude to choose a softer or harder pastel stick broadens the technique possibilities and, ultimately, creativity. With the options available to us today, it is no longer the choice that is hard—it’s the pastel."
PSST Blog is written by Carolyn Hancock