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How to start drawing with oil pastel

This is my first article for beginners about different art mediums that are out there, how to use them and what you need in terms of art supplies. I hope this will simplify art for you and inspire you to create something, today!

Now, what is oil pastel? Oil pastel is a painting and drawing medium in a form of a stick that is a non-drying mixture of oil and wax. When I tried it for the first time I found it weird. However after some practice, I fell in love with it and kept drawing. It’s so easy to use and it does not require a special surface! It’s perfect for beginners.

How to start drawing? First, you have to buy the right art supplies!

If you want to try oil pastel you need only 2 things:

  1. Oil pastel set

  2. Toned paper

1. Oil pastel set.

I’ve tested different brands of student quality oil pastel and I can recommend you Sakura Junior Artist set. If you are a beginner you do not have to buy expensive professional sets. It does not matter if you are a child or adult. However you should buy as big a set as possible if we talk about oil pastel because you cannot mix oil pastels as well as watercolour. With more colours, you can create a more vivid picture. So my recommendation - set of 50 sticks.

Where to buy? Here is a set on Amazon and on Curry’s.

Pay attention, the prices are very different! I bought my set in Curry’s.

2. Paper.

Great news - oil pastel does not require a special paper! You can even draw on cardboard! The main idea is that the paper surface should be toned. My favorite tones are black and brown (kraft). However you can use different colors.

I recommend you to buy 1 cheap sketchbook with toned paper and at the beginning it is enough. You can even go to Dollarama or any dollar store and find a kraft sketchbook there. Or use construction paper for kids.

Also you can check out Walmart, Homesense, Amazon and of course any art supplies store. You can find sketchbooks with toned paper there (black, beige, kraft, grey).

Don't buy a tiny size, 3x5" for example, it's tough to draw on a small surface with oil pastel sticks. Popular size 9x12" requires more time and you can draw 2 or 3 sketches on one page. For me to finish a sketch pretty fast, ideal paper size is around 6x8".

My favorite sketchbooks in my favorite store in Guelph (they do shipping) with a good price are:

Conclusion: if you buy an oil pastel set in Curry's like me and the kind of sketchbook above, your oil pastel set will be $12+$9=CAD$21+tax. If you buy a sketchbook or any toned paper in dollar store it will be even less.

I hope this inspires you to try oil pastel and makes the process of beginning easier!

I will be creating more posts on different techniques for drawing with oil pastel and describing other drawing mediums as well.

For now you can watch a timelapse of me drawing a winter scene with Caran D'Ache neopastels:

This Friday January 8th I’ll post a simple lesson with oil pastel. Stay tuned!

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