Categories Oil Pastels

Oil Pastel

Hello! We’re back today to share with you a medium that we all share a love-hate relationship with – Oil Pastel.

Oil pastels used to be the medium I turn to back when I was a student, it was really easy to create beautiful pieces in a really short amount of time. But the lack of control and details, accidental smears and smudges eventually turned me away from it and seek other mediums.

However as an art teacher, I couldn’t avoid it forever. I have to pick it up again in classes and I’m really glad I did. The techniques I’m sharing today are really simple but really helps to add more to your art pieces while. My students really enjoyed the oil pastels lessons that we did (using the following techniques) and I hope you’ll enjoy them too!

Oil pastels
Drawing paper
Coloured paper
Paper towels
Metal ruler/ Palette knife
Turpertine/ Baby oil
Cotton swab
Paint brush

Get to know your pastels!
White – highlightsLights – bright areas
Mids – blending
Darks – shadows and shaded areas

Paper towels will be your best friend when using oil pastels. Besides using it to clean your pastels, place some under your hand before pressing onto areas that you had already filled up to reduce risks of accidental smears and smudges.

The tip of your pastels can be used to create intense colours and the sides to quickly cover a big area. It will be a good idea to do a few practices with your oil pastels before starting on your artwork.
1. Colour value scale
2. Pressure
3. Blending
4. Coloured paper

Pressure + Blending
By layering colours on using heavy pressure, you will achieve a rich and intense blending look. On the other hand, layering colours on using light pressure will let you achieve various values or even different hues.

Experiment with blending methods! Some of the methods I often use are, blending with just pastels, wrapping a paper towel around a finger and blend in a circular motion and using a cotton swab.

Use small strokes to create a stippling effect. Play with colours and layers to give more depth.

Scribble with even pressure. Slowly build up the layers with various colours or tones till you reach your desired value and texture. I find this technique extremely useful for filling up trees.

Sgraffito aka Scratching
Apply 2 layers of colours, one on top of the other. Gently use a pointed tip to scratch off the top layer. You can keep layering on colours and scratch with varying pressure to create textures!

Using a cotton swab soaked in baby oil or turpertine, smooth it over the oil pastel. Besides blending the colours beautifully, it also gives your artwork a painted look. Try rubbing a thin layer of oil pastels over a big area and paint on top of it with baby oil/turpertine!

It’s pretty difficult to create fine details with oil pastels. It’s good to always have a blending stump or tortilon on hand to help you to do so. I sometimes resort to using outline pencils, but try to avoid them as much as I can.

Probably one of my favourite technique to! If you recalled, we did resist with watercolour. Both mediums work extremely well together. I often teach this to my kiddos by showing off my signature “magic trick” – draw on a white paper with white pastel and paint a wash of dark colour over.

Tiger Oil Pastels

Tiger Oil Pastels by Ashton, 9

Always remember that there is no sure way when using an medium. It is important to be adventurous and experiment! It’s all about having fun while creating! xx Teacher Cherlyn