Best Oil Pastels For Blending
When it comes to blending, not all oil pastels are equal.
Take a look at my top 5 recommendations below:
Pastels are a great medium to work with in terms of texture and finish. The creamy texture and the vibrant colors you get while painting with pastels are tremendously satisfying.
However, sometimes just painting normally does not cut it. You want to let free your inner inhibitions and try and blend different colors to see what comes up only to find out that you simply cannot get them to blend or even get the right texture.
Whether you are an experienced artist or an amateur, your bases will be covered with the oil pastels reviewed in this guide. Keep in mind that although oil pastels and oil painting have the same name in them, they are quite different in terms of usage.
There are many things to consider while thinking of good-quality oil pastels. Oil pastels, as opposed to soft pastels, can be very easy to blend, but you have to have the right quality oil pastels.
For starters, student-grade pastels are appropriate as oil pastels for beginners. You will get the conventional smooth and creamy texture but just a notch below artist-grade paint that most professional artists have an affinity for.
The difference between professional-grade oil pastels and student-grade oil pastels is the richness of the colors and the quality of the binders. It’s not a make-or-break kind of situation with artist-grade pastels, it’s just artists tend to prefer the richer colors for their work.
If you’re a student and you’re just getting into oil pastel painting perhaps sticking to cheaper pastels might not be the worst idea. You are just wanting to experiment and learn further and that may just be enough to get started.
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01) Sennelier Picasso Oil Pastel Set
120 Count, Multi
- Highly reputed brand
- Set of 120 sticks
- Great quality binder for blending
- Comes in a sturdy wooden box
Sennelier is a brand that competes with a lot of other brands with their high-quality pastels. They hold the title of being the flagship among art materials. Offering intense colors, rich pigments, and soft texture they are an easy sell.
Serious artists generally suggest this brand due to the reliable quality and very few compromises. Sennelier pastels are one of the best oil pastels one can recommend among oil pastel brands.
Overall, each stick is great for painting due to its cylindrical nature making them super easy to hold. Sennelier oil pastels take the cake for being the most premium on the list even though they are a bit on the pricier side of things.
02) Caran D’ache Neopastel
Set of 96 – Assorted Colors
- Set of 96
- Comes in a metal box
- High-quality oil pastels
- Vibrant shades
Caran D’ache Set of 96 neo pastel sticks is a great selection for both beginner artists and professional artists. Their sticks offer a smooth texture like other brands.
Their sticks have a consistency that is best described to be very similar to the ones you would find in Holbein oil pastels or Sennelier oil pastels which most artists prefer when speaking of different brands.
When buying oil pastels you would need to worry about the pricing and the quality, especially when it’s a brand that does not have many reviews. Oil pastels tend to have various consistencies in their sticks.
However, when talking about oil-based pastels, being close to Holbein artists’ oil pastels is a bold claim as they have some of the best oil pastels in the market. Overall, a great purchase as suggested by many artists and they are similar to professional quality oil pastels.
03) Mungyo Gallery Soft Oil Pastels
Wood Box Set of 120 – Assorted Colors
- Soft and creamy texture
- Enables blending colors within the set
- Very affordable price
The Mungyo Gallery Soft Set of oil pastels is one of the best mentions in this list. Oftentimes, people and artists label them as budget Senneliers.
The consistency of the oil pastels is similar to the ones that you find in more expensive brands yet you are paying only a fraction of what you would expect to pay.
The Mungyo set of oil pastels is great for practicing and perfect as an entry-level set for someone who is just looking to dip their toes in the oil pastels world.
Overall, coming in at only a fraction of the price of the high-budget oil pastels, this set of sticks is pretty much a steal if you can get your hands on them.
04) Cretacolor Watersoluble Oil Pastels
Aquastic Tin Set of 40
- Water-soluble oil pastels
- Set of 40
- Comes in an attractive tin box
- High-quality pigment
The Cretacolor brand is known for its great quality art supplies. This set is great for any oil pastel work and you can get to work with just your fingers and pastel papers due to the nature of its solubility.
The consistency is very similar to oil paints as its water-soluble and many oil pastel artists recommend these especially when it comes to blending oil pastels.
The Cretacolor set of oil pastel is quite different from other oil pastels due to their water-soluble feature. Additionally, it saves you from spending too much on art supplies from the get-go and enables you to give this medium a try before investing more.
Overall, at this price range for oil pastel, it is worth every penny if you’re looking for a great sustainable and versatile oil pastel.
05) Pentel – Oil Pastel Set
12 Color Set With Carrying Case. Assorted 432 Pack
- Assorted pack of 432 colors
- Comes with a carrying case
- Easily blendable colors
- Versatile colors
Pentel has been in the art supply business for the better half of a century. While they provide exceptionally great products, the oil pastel set that they offer is just about as good as any collection of oil pastels.
You don’t have to go for professional oil pastels every time you buy, student-grade oil pastels such as these Pentel arts oil pastels have some of the best oil pastels at a very cheap price similar to Crayola oil pastels.
With the Pentel oil pastel set, you will be getting just what you ask for. All the oil pastels in the set offer vibrant shades and a creamy consistency something many artists love.
For the price, these are some of the best oil pastels offered by Pentel, a reputable household name for great oil pastels, offering great value for money.
General Information About Soft Pastels
Oil pastels are generally great for blending due to the binders being used in the ingredients of the sticks. However, your mileage may vary depending on how much binder is being used in the oil pastels.
Conclusion / Roundup
Various brands use different binders and the quality ranges from blendable to very difficult to blend.
It is advised to keep an open mind while trying out different oil pastels as your budget and your taste will dictate what you will spend your time and money on.
And always remember, a fair deal of trial and error is required for you to find what is the perfect fit for your needs.
Can oil pastels be blended?
Oil pastels contain a waxy consistency as the name suggests oil, it is indeed quite simple to blend.
You may require some medium of thinner for the ease of blending such as baby oil to move the pastels easily on the surface you applied. If you do not want to use any other substance you may stick to the traditional heavy pressure blending where you just go to work with your fingers or your paint stick.
Layering is a great way to blend and you can get quite creative with the blending methods.
Which oil pastels are best for blending?
There aren’t any particular oil pastels that are the best for blending. However, if you must pick and choose from one, the best place to start would be to find out which pastel has a good quality binder.
Since the binder is the main ingredient that makes or breaks blending for pastel painting, it is advised to take heed of the quality of the binder if blending colors is your main agenda.
Are oil pastels toxic?
Oil pastels are generally not toxic and are very safe to use without any protective gear. Often artists work with this medium with their bare hands and it rarely has any side effects.
The only thing to perhaps worry about is the cleaning process as the medium consists of oil and binder.
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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.