Pastels are not chalk. Chalk is made from talc, like from the White Cliffs of Dover in England. Pastels are in a stick form, like chalk, but are a high quality pigment or powdered color with enough binder to hold it together in a stick form. I have about 180 different colors, and other pastel painters may have many more. The colors range from white to black and everything in between. Originally pastels were only made in light colors, hence the name pastel. Instead of taking maybe 10 colors of paint and mixing them together to get all other colors to form a painting, pastel is like taking one already mixed color and putting it on top another already mixed color to make a new color. I also use a pastel paper which is fairly heavy and has a grit to it like fine sand paper. This helps hold the layers of pastel. The paper also comes in a variety of colors. I usually use a dark paper which pops out the pastel colors. The process is more like drawing than painting. I can make it linear like drawing, or smear the pastel to make a smooth velvety surface, or a combination.