Oil Pastel Techniques - Oil Pastel Drawing Beyond the Basics

Oil pastel drawing

Oil pastels are a unique medium with a world of creative possibilities.

Faber-Castell Oil Pastels are perfect for students and beginning artists. In this article, we will discuss tips and techniques for artists that are familiar with oil pastels. If you are new to oil pastels, we recommend that you check out our article “How to Draw with Oil Pastels for Beginners."

Painting with Oil

Oil pastel painting

Give oil pastels the feel of a whole new medium by adding oil. Adding baby oil or turpentine oil to pastels transforms them to a painted appearance. This technique helps you when creating with larger areas and is also suitable for accentuating acrylic or oil paintings. Create a beautiful mixture of color by using crushed pastel shavings with the oil.

Artist’s note: the quality of oil determines the transparency of the color.


Oil pastel with sgraffito technique

The sgraffito drawing technique is all about the contrast of light and dark. Start by creating your desired drawing with bright colored oil pastels. After, cover the entire drawing with dark or black oil pastels. Use a scalpel or blunt needle to carefully scrape lines, areas, or structures from the black area to create contrast. Sgraffito is a great technique because it not only highlights contrast but gives your picture depth.

Artist’s note: before covering your drawing in black, take a photo of your colored drawing that you can reference in order to make sure you only expose the right parts of the drawings with your scalpel or needle.


Oil pastel encaustic technique

Encaustic artwork is unique and fun but will take some practice to get familiar with. First you will need an encaustic iron (different than a household iron) as well as special paper. Apply colors to the hot metal surface of the iron and smudge the iron on the paper.  

Other Useful Tips

Oil pastels and house drawing

  • Use a knife to remove specific light reflections and structuring lines form the color surface to give accents of depth.
  • Add extra detail by using a blunt needle to imprint the paper before drawing.
  • Last but not least – apply a fixative to protect your oil pastel artwork!

Faber-Castell Oil Pastels are available in boxes of 36, 24, or 12. Learn more about our oil pastels here. Coming soon neon and metallic oil pastels!


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