Oil Pastels For Beginners

Oil Pastels For Beginners

Are you thinking of trying oil pastels for the first time?

Not sure where to start?

Check out my top 5 oil pastels for beginners below:

Oil pastels are a great medium for artists who are looking to take their work to the next level from just watercolor painting or liquid-based paint mediums to the fantastic finish that is oil pastel. Oil pastels look just like crayons but they work very differently to them.

Oil pastels are much softer, more malleable, and blendable.

This review guide will cover everything from oil pastel techniques to the best oil pastels available for your artwork.

Oil pastel sticks come in various qualities and shapes and by the end of this guide, hopefully, I will be able to get you on the right path to securing some of the best oil pastels for your oil pastel masterpieces.

01) Paul Rubens Oil Pastels

36 Pastel Colours Dry Soft Non-Toxic for Artists, Students and Children

Paul Rubens Oil Pastels main image


  • 32 different colored oil pastels
  • Cylindrical shape
  • Artist quality oil pastels work
  • Flat paint for better oil pastel techniques


36 brightly colored soft pastels make coloring easier with a smoother transition and blending technique. A wide range of oil paintings can be done on any kind of material with ease. They are also eco-friendly, so paintings can be made without the worry of harming the environment.

They can be layered and mixed to create different shades, and are the best oil pastels available in the market.

  • Creamy texture and vibrant color
  • Cylindrical shape
  • Use on any medium
  • Comparatively more expensive than other oil pastels
  • Lack of dark colors


The set contains a wide range of pastels for your convenience. The pastels are usually easy to blend due to their soft nature making them great for light pressure blending and easy to take chunks off using a palette knife.

Overall, the set of pastels is a great purchase for any beginner artist who is looking to acquire a decent range of pastels for a mediocre budget and this set is definitely worth a run for your money.

Mungyo Gallery Soft Oil Pastels main image


  • Wood case
  • 72 colors
  • Extra soft oil pastels


72 oil pastels come in an attractive wood case for easy carrying. They are easy to blend oil pastels that are widely used by professional artists. They can be used to create brighter and darker colors compared to colored pencils.

The set contains easy-to-use oil pastels while coming in a wide array of colors that can be additionally mixed for more variety, something that can not easily be done with colored pencils or crayons.

  • A huge array of colors
  • Easy to blend oil pastels
  • Eco-friendly that are non-toxic
  • Slightly more expensive
  • May have quality-related issues


A good buy for beginner artists who are looking to pack their arsenal with a huge array of pastels. The pastels have a soft nature and can be easily cleaned off with paper towels and reapplied on a solid surface.

Overall, a value purchase that gives decent use and as far as pastels go this brand of oil pastels makes a great purchase for beginners.

03) Sennelier Plein Air Oil Pastels Set

Wooden box set 36 Colour Landscape


  • 36 colors
  • Wood case
  • Fine point
  • Non-toxic


36 colored oil pastels can be used by professional artists and amateurs alike. Artists can use oil pastels on any kind of paper, starting from toned paper to scrap paper with smooth application, and can also be removed easily from surfaces with paper towels.

  • Easy to use oil pastels
  • Among the more reputed paint brands
  • Easy to clean pastels
  • Carry case
  • Difficult to thin
  • More on the pricey side


A great quality set for both beginners and professional artists who need a quick fix from a reputable brand. Easy to use oil pastels that come with a quality wooden case and a variety of colors.

Overall, a great buy if you have the extra budget lying around and do not want a lot of time to spend figuring out which brand is right for you without trial and error.

04) Holbain Oil Pastels

50 color set

Holbain Oil Pastels main image


  • 50 colors
  • Stick shaped
  • Easy to remove with paper towels and reapply


50 colors of oil pastels. The sticks can be used by themselves, or they can be mixed with petrol or turpentine to create more colors. In both ways, they give rich and vibrant pigments to be used for any kind of painting.

  • Amazing selection of colors
  • Bright pigments
  • High-quality oil pastels
  • On the pricier side
  • Lack of branding and reviews for the oil pastels


This Holbain set of oil pastels has an amazing collection of colors that can be thinned to perfection with turpentine or any consistency of your choice. You can apply these paints on a glass surface or matte and remove them easily with a paper towel.

Overall, a good purchase if you are looking for a variety of colors with a decent enough quality. Additionally, a few tips would have been given if there were any reviews, however, it remains that the Holbain set is a very obscure selection in the list and you will have to rely on the faith of this review.

05) Sakura ESP36

36-Piece Cray-Pas Specialist Assorted Colors Oil Pastel Set

Sakura ESP36 main image


  • Highly pigmented
  • Cray-Pas specialist
  • Light-fast performance


36 assorted colors oil pastels are made of wax binder. They can be used for fine-art, commercial art and illustrations for artists of all ranges. Bright colors can be used for realistic drawings using reference photo and oil pastel tutorials for beginners.

  • Highly pigmented
  • Lightfast paints
  • Versatile colors
  • Not among the higher quality oil pastels


The Sakura is a great buy for anyone on a budget and in a pinch for a decent set of pastels. The set, however, unlike linseed oil pastels uses a different kind of substance for their sticks.

Overall, a decent enough purchase that gives good value for money without breaking the bank and maintains a good selection of colored pastels.

General Information About Oil Pastels For Beginners

Oil pastels are great for exploring your horizons beyond watercolor and acrylics. They are easy to use but hard to clean and that’s nothing you can’t take care of. The nature of oil pastels is to give a fun experience for your art projects.

How to Blend Oil Pastels

Oil pastels are very much like crayons however when you look closely at them they are not waxy, but contain a wax binder within their pigment. This gives the artist more range with the medium as you can blend them with your finger, a paintbrush.

How to Blend Oil Pastels With your finger

Take 2 colors of oil pastels, place them side by side on your paper. Now, rub your finger over the surface of the 2 colors until they are thoroughly blended. Leave areas dark for contour lines and lighter areas where you want to blend more.

How to Blend Oil Pastels With a Paintbrush

Choose 2 or more oil pastels that you would like to blend together. Now, gently drag the brush across the surface of the pastel. You will see a slight difference in color from where you began and where you stopped dragging your brush.

How to Blend Oil Pastels With Watercolor Pencils

This is my favorite way of blending oil pastels, simply because it gives me total control over how I want the colors to blend. Plus, it goes really fast and you can control the degree of your blends.

Choose 2 oil pastels that you would like to blend together, then outline them with a watercolor pencil. Now fill in the area around and inside of the first color (the first color will be your starting point, this is where it begins to blend out). Fill in the inside of your color with watercolor pencils. Now, begin to blend the inside of your color outward with a brush dipped in clean water (this is referred to as wet on wet blending). You will see that you can control how far out you would like for this blend to go by adding more or less water to the brush.

Conclusion / Roundup

The list contains most of what you can find in a budget or beyond a budget if you have the extra dollars to spend. The selections made were cherry-picked for your optimal drawing experience. A good deal of trial and error is always a good option.


Are oil pastels easy for beginners?

This versatile crayon has a soft and light oil constituent which makes it fun to mix and good for beginners to just dip their toes into.

Can you use normal paper for oil pastels?

Yes, but my advice is to try out many different types to see what effects you can create. It is ideal to initially work on cheap drawing paper so you don’t do too much experimenting on expensive or hard to come across surfaces. Since they are oil-based pastels, you have to be careful what you apply them on.

Are oil pastels hard to use?

The nature of the pastels makes it so that they are easy to mix and experiment with. You can easily get a grip on the techniques of oil pastels in no time.

Define; Soft Pastels

Soft pastels are a dry, compressed pigment that is fixed to a non-absorbent surface such as paper. It comes in the form of sticks and is readily available in art supply stores. They are also easy to use and can be applied to almost any medium including watercolor paper, canvas boards, and illustration boards.

What is meant by oil pastel techniques?

It is a painting technique that uses oil pastels to create paintings.

Since the oil pastel can be layered like paint, it is possible to add colors and details to your work by layering the pastels. It’s basically like using various oil paints at once.

Affiliate Disclosure

In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about all links, posts, photos and other material on this website: Any/all of the links on this website are affiliate links of which The Big Red Illustration Agency receives a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. www.bigredillustrationagency.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk. Pages on this site may include links to Amazon and its affiliate sites on which the owner of this website will make a referral commission.

FULL TERMS HERE Cookie preferences: cookie preferences

Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.