Oil Pastels: What are they? How do you use them? Let's dig in!

Oil Pastels: What are they? How do you use them? Let's dig in!

We love oil pastels for lots of reasons - their versatility, user-friendliness, they play really well with other art forms - just to name a few. But what exactly IS an oil pastel and what are some ways that you can use them? Allow us to enlighten you... 

What are oil pastels?

Oil pastels are made from a pigment that is bound together using wax and a type of drying oil such as linseed oil. Because of this heavy oil consistency, oil pastels create a more painterly look than that of a “soft” pastel.

The best comparison for an oil pastel is to a wax crayon. But unlike crayons - you are not limited to that crayon-like texture. As oil pastels are layered on top of one another,  they become buttery and paint-like. 

PRO TIP: Oil pastels can be quite messy to work with. So be sure to wear an outfit you like to get messy in or roll up those sleeves and keep some paper towels close by.


Although we do not believe in one “right” way to use any art material, these are some helpful techniques to encourage exploration and maybe even improve your skill! 

Oil Pastel and Oil Pastel - oil pastels can be layered on top of each other and rubbed together to create beautiful gradients and blends - but be sure to layer slowly as you will find the surface your are layering onto will get to a point where it cannot take anymore colors and the blends will become muddy.

 

Oil pastel and fingers - You can use the natural oils from your fingers to rub and blend oil pastels together. This can get messy very quickly! Another option is to purchase a blending stump* or if you don’t have access to that- wrap your fingers in a paper towel.

Oil Pastel and other kids of oil - You can use a dry brush or q-tip to apply another form of oil (we use baby oil) to your oil pastels which allows you to push the oil pastel across larger surface areas and create smoother areas of color. 

 

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