Dive into Oil Pastels: Your Fun and Easy Guide to Getting Started

Dive into Oil Pastels: Your Fun and Easy Guide to Getting Started

Welcome to the colorful world of oil pastels! Whether you're a seasoned artist or just dipping your toes into the creative pool, oil pastels offer a vibrant and versatile medium to unleash your imagination. In this guide, we'll explore what oil pastels are, why they're loved by artists, how to choose the right materials, and some handy tips to keep things clean and vibrant. 

What are Oil Pastels? 

Oil pastels are a unique art medium made from pigment, a non-drying oil, and a wax binder. They come in stick form, much like crayons, but with a creamy texture that allows for smooth blending and layering. Unlike dry pastels, oil pastels don't shed dust, making them cleaner and easier to work with. 

Why I Love Oil Pastels 

There are countless reasons to fall in love with oil pastels, but here are a few highlights: 

Vivid Colors: Oil pastels boast rich, intense pigments that pop off the page, making your artwork come to life. 

Easy to Blend: Their creamy consistency makes blending colors a breeze, allowing you to create seamless transitions and gradients. 

Versatile: Whether you're sketching, painting, or adding intricate details, oil pastels adapt to your artistic style with ease. 

Long Lasting: Unlike other mediums that dry out or harden over time, oil pastels remain workable indefinitely, giving you ample time to perfect your masterpiece. 

Created with Pentel pastels on paper. 

They are Easy to Store 

Oil pastels come in sturdy stick form, making them easy to store and transport. No need to worry about fragile containers or messy spills—simply pop them in a case or box, and you're ready to create wherever inspiration strikes. 

They are Affordable 

Compared to other art supplies, oil pastels offer excellent value for money. With a wide range of quality options available, you can find budget-friendly sets without sacrificing vibrant colors or blendability. 

They are Easy to Use 

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned artist, oil pastels are incredibly user-friendly. Their smooth application and forgiving nature make them ideal for experimenting and exploring new techniques without fear of making mistakes. 

Choosing Your Oil Pastels 

When it comes to choosing oil pastels, there are a few factors to consider: 

Grade: Oil pastels come in two grades—artist and student. Artist-grade pastels have higher pigment levels and offer superior color intensity and longevity. For beginners, student-grade pastels are a budget-friendly option that still delivers impressive results. 


Brand: Pentel Arts pastels are highly recommended for beginners due to their quality and affordability. Available in various pack sizes, they provide a versatile range of colors to kickstart your artistic journey. 

How to Choose Your Paper 

Selecting the right paper is crucial for achieving optimal results with oil pastels: 

Weight: Opt for paper that's at least 80 lb to prevent buckling or warping. Pastel paper, with its textured surface or "tooth," provides excellent grip for the pastels to adhere to. 

Brand: Canson and Strathmore offer quality pastel papers in various shades and textures. Consider experimenting with different tones to enhance the mood and impact of your artwork. 

Keeping Things Clean 

Cleanup: Keep paper towels and baby wipes on hand to wipe away excess pastel from your hands and surfaces. 

Preservation: Unlike some mediums, oil pastels never fully dry and may smudge if left unprotected. Frame your finished artwork under glass or apply a spray fixative and varnish to seal and protect it for years to come. 

Parchment Paper: To protect your artworks from smudging or sticking together, place sheets of parchment paper between layers when stacking or storing them. This simple trick prevents accidental damage and ensures your creations remain pristine. 

Space-Saving Storage: Because oil pastels are typically used on paper, they don't require much space for storage. Unlike bulky canvases or easels, you can easily store a collection of pastel artworks in a compact portfolio or folder. This convenience makes oil pastels an excellent choice for artists with limited studio space or those who enjoy creating on the go. 

Exploring Different Brands: As you become more familiar with oil pastels, don't hesitate to experiment with different brands and qualities. While Pentel Arts pastels are an excellent starting point, higher-end brands offer unique color ranges, textures, and blendability for advanced techniques and professional results. 

Metallics: For added flair and sparkle, consider incorporating metallic oil pastels into your artwork. These shimmering shades add depth and dimension to your creations, allowing you to explore new artistic possibilities and create eye-catching effects. 

By incorporating these preservation techniques and exploring the diverse range of oil pastel options available, you can ensure your artworks stand the test of time while unleashing your creativity to new heights. 


With these tips and tricks in hand, you're ready to dive headfirst into the colorful world of oil pastels. So grab your pastels, unleash your creativity, and let your imagination soar!