Oil pastels are a drawing medium that can be used on their own or along with other pastels. The pigment is mixed with a non-drying oil and wax binder making a soft, buttery consistency which fills the grain of the paper. They create no dust at all and can be used on almost any surface including slick surfaces that would not hold a regular pastel.
The image above shows the marks made by Caran D’ache Neopastels on a textured paper.
On any surface, oil pastels can be easily blended using cotton buds, tortillons or paper towels. The oil does not dry, but remains soft so that it can be reworked and more layers can be added over a long period of time. The Arty Factory’s website includes a step by step guide of how the image below was achieved using this technique.
Sgraffito is another way oil pastels can be manipulated. Colours are applied in layers then scraped away using razor blades or palette knives to reveal the colours below. Robert Sloan has used the sgraffito technique in this drawing of leaves and acorns.
Oil pastels can also be used to create a wash by moistening with solvents, or to add final surface touches to an oil or acrylic painting. Finished work should always be kept away from heat and framed in glass to prevent any damage.