Oil pastel techniques

Here are my previous posts about different types of oil pastel to read before this one:

- basic set

- student quality

- professional quality


Okay, let’s say you’ve already purchased oil pastel and probably more than one set and you do not know what to do.


First of all, when you buy your new set or colors, you should explore them. Do a color chart, try every single color to see how it looks like on paper and write down a name of color. It helps you to learn your material better and you discover for yourself what names your colors have. This is helpful since teachers often mention colors by name in their tutorials.




Second: just play with your pastel!


1) Do dots, short and long strokes, lines. Keep more distance between them or draw dots/strokes very close to each other. Fill a distance with other colors. Play with different colors and color combinations.




2) Practice with light and hard pressure. You can see when you do not press on your stick, the pigment does not cover paper very well. If you press harder, you apply more pigment on your paper. These are 2 different applications of oil pastel which you should use in your drawings.




3) Apply the first layer to paper, then on top of the first layer the second one.

For that, take a dark color for the first layer and for the second a light color. See how light color covers the dark one. Do the opposite - light and dark. Play with different color combinations. Try to create a soft transition between colors. This exercise helps you to understand the coverage ability of your pastel. You should probably buy a few sticks of very soft oil pastel especially white and light colors which you will combine with your regular set. As for me, I use 3 sets all together because they have different softness and in addition 3 sets give me a wider color palette.




These are all only techniques that I personally use in my drawings. I do not like blending with oil pastel. I believe that dry pastel is the best for this technique. However if you want to blend, you can do it with paper towel or fingers, there are a lot of tutorials on YouTube.


Sometimes I use a sgraffito (in Italian "to scratch") technique. It’s fun! It's worth a try.

I showed this technique in my tutorial. Use something sharp, in my case it's an old credit card. You can show a toned paper through scratching or first layer of oil pastel.



Actually oil pastel allows you to draw on other surfaces than paper: canvas, wood, fabric etc. In general, oil pastel is a really rich material which gives you a lot of opportunities, opens new horizons for your creativity and it’s very easy to use!


Last tip: use a toned paper (black, grey, brown, orange etc.) to draw with oil pastel and incorporate this tone in your drawing.


January was all about oil pastel in my blog and on my YouTube channel!

If you want to try this medium or improve your skills, read all posts about oil pastel and watch speed drawings and tutorials on my channel. You can see your own progress, for sure!

I am definitely going to come back to the oil pastel later. Because so far, I just touched the basics - the top of the iceberg.


Next month - February I would like to dedicate to watercolor! Stay tuned!


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