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Tips for oil pastel painting

Oil pastel painting

Oil pastels are particularly versatile and possess great expressive power. They contain oil and wax as binding agents. As a result, they do not cause dust and they adhere very well even to smooth paper. Their vibrant colours are reminis- cent of oil paints. They have superb coverage characteristics and best effects are achieved when the colours are applied thickly. Any surplus colour should be removed every now and again with a cotton cloth or piece of kitchen towel.

Painting surface for oil pastel painting

In addition to this, attractive, smooth transitions of colour can be created by smudging. Oil pastels are not really suitable for detailed work. However, the crayons can be sharpened a little (it is recommended to place them in the fridge for a while beforehand).Another alternative is to take the desired colour and apply it to a piece of e.g. card, partially dissolve it using a brush dipped in solvent and then paint any details on using the brush. Highlights and shadows are emphasise as a last step using black and white crayons.In this example, impressive effects have been created by a clear, linear structure, leaf metal and relief elements in gold.

Painting surface for oil pastel painting:
Oil pastels are a versatile medium which adhere to a whole variety of surfaces such as paper, cardboard, canvas, wood, stone and even smooth surfaces like glass and plastic.

Storage of oil pastel paintings:
Oil pastel paintings are not particularly sensitive but it is, nevertheless, recommended to protect artwork with a transparent cover sheet or to frame it under glass straight away.

Useful accessories:
The only tools really required are fingers, though for certain techniques the following can be helpful: Turpentine substitute, alcohol or linseed oil, scratching tool, e.g. a small knife, fork or nail file, wet wipes for cleaning hands, a small brush for detail work, cotton buds, an old piece of cloth and kitchen towel for smudging, brush for dissolving, sharpener or knife for sharpening.

Useful accessories for oil pastel painting

Basic techniques for oil pastels:

Oil pastels dissolving technique


Oil pastels can either be partially dissolved and painted with directly on the painting surface itself using turpentine substitute or oil or can be prepared on a palette first. This technique enables the painting of fine details with a brush.

Tip: When working with turpentine substitute you should air the room regularly even if there is not a noticeable odour.

Oil pastels hatching technique

Hatching technique:

Hatching can have different effects depending on whether the lines are made in one direction or in a criss-cross pattern. This technique adds rhythm to a picture.

Oil pastels Sgraffito technique

Sgraffito technique:

This is the painting term for all techniques involving a picture or parts of a picture being scratched. The motif is created by scraping off the top layer of two overlaid colours.

Oil pastels Overlaying technique


Blended tones are achieved by overlaying different colours.


You need the following STAEDTLER products:

STAEDTLER® 2420STAEDTLER® 2420Oil pastelCardboard box containing 12 oil pastels in assorted colours
STAEDTLER® 2420STAEDTLER® 2420Oil pastelCardboard box containing 24 oil pastels in assorted colours
STAEDTLER® 2420STAEDTLER® 2420Oil pastelCardboard box containing 36 oil pastels in assorted colours
STAEDTLER® 2420STAEDTLER® 2420Oil pastelCardboard box containing 48 oil pastels in assorted colours

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