Getting Started with Oil Pastels for Beginners

If you’re interested in learning how to use oil pastels, then this guide is for you.

I’ll cover everything from what supplies you need to get started, to the different techniques you can use to create beautiful artwork.

What Are Oil Pastels?

Oil pastels are a type of paint made with pigment and oil, which gives them a smooth, creamy texture. They are available in stick form making them a crayon-like art medium.

The great thing about oil pastels is that they don’t require any special equipment – just a few basic supplies. All you really need to get started are oil pastels and oil pastel paper.

That’s it! With just these few supplies, you’re ready to start exploring the world of oil pastels.

Why Are Oil Pastels Great for Beginners?

If you’re new to this painting medium, you might be wondering why oil pastels are a good choice for beginners. Here are a few reasons:

They’re easy to use. Oil pastels don’t require any special techniques or equipment, so they’re perfect for beginners.

They’re versatile. Oil pastels can be used for a variety of different projects, from sketches to finished paintings.

They’re affordable. Oil pastels and oil pastel paper are relatively inexpensive, so you can get started without breaking the bank.

*I earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

strawberry oil pastel painting
Artist Credit: _doha_drawing

Choosing Your Oil Pastels

When you’re shopping for oil pastels, you’ll notice that there are two different types: student quality and artist quality.

Student quality oil pastels are typically less expensive and have a lower pigment content, which means they’re not as bright or vibrant as artist quality oil pastels.

However, they’re still a great option for beginners who are just starting out with oil pastels.

On the other hand, artist quality oil pastels are made with higher quality pigments and binders, which gives them superior color and texture.

If you’re serious about creating artwork with oil pastels, then artist quality is the way to go.

The Pentel Arts Oil Pastels are a great option for anyone just starting out with oil pastels. They include a lot of color options and are very affordable.

pentel arts oil pastels

Choosing the Right Paper for Your Oil Pastels

The type of paper you use will also make a difference in your final results. For oil pastels, you’ll want to use heavyweight paper that’s at least 80 lb (160 gsm). This will ensure that your paper is not prone to tearing.

The most important aspect when it comes to choosing your paper will be the tooth of the paper. The tooth is simply the texture of the paper.

Pastel paper has a greater tooth than your typical drawing paper. This allows the color to latch on to the paper better as well as allows you to easily add layers on top of each other.

The Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad is a great paper for creating beautiful oil pastel paintings.

oil pastel paper

How to Keep Things Clean While Working

Believe it or not, oil pastels are a bit messy. But, there are a few things you can do to keep the area around you clean.

Keep paper towels on hand to wipe your hands and clean up any messes made with the oil pastels. You can also use paper towels to wipe off the oil pastels.

I often have scrap cloth laying around the house from old t-shirts and whatnot. So I’ll get those scraps damp and it handy while working.

Oil Pastel Paint Ideas

If you’re just starting out, still life is a great thing to paint. Fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other inanimate objects are easy to set up.

One advantage to painting with oil pastels is that you can layer the colors on top of each other. This creates interesting effects and can be used to create shadows and highlights.

Another great thing about oil pastels is that they’re perfect for painting small details.

So, if you’re someone who likes painting intricate patterns or detailed landscapes, oil pastels might be the right medium for you.

If you’re not sure what to paint, try looking for inspiration in nature. Take a walk outside and see what catches your eye.

You can also look through magazines or online for ideas. Once you have an idea of what you want to paint, gather your supplies and get started.

flower oil pastels
Artist Credit: hulishin

How to Blend Colors with Oil Pastels

To blend your colors, start by selecting the colors you want to use. Then, apply the pastels directly to the paper. When it’s time to blend, rub the paint back and forth on the paper.

A few things that you can use to blend your oil pastels are your fingers, blending stumps, paint brushes, cotton swabs, and different types of fabric.

Experiment with different techniques until you find the one that works best for you.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with color. Oil pastels come in a wide range of colors, so feel free to mix and match until you find the perfect combination.

When you’re finished coloring, add some finishing touches, such as highlights or shadows. You can also add details, such as lines or dots.

If you want a more textured look, try using different strokes, such as circular or zig-zag motions.

Oil Pastels Never Dry

When getting started with oil pastels, you may not be aware that oil pastels never dry.

Once your painting is complete, it is important to protect your work from dust or being smudged. You can do this by placing it in a glass frame or using an oil pastel fixative.

Are you excited to try out oil pastels? I hope this guide has inspired you to get started and experiment with this fun medium. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and be creative.

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