Unlock Creativity: How to Use Pastel Crayons

  • By: Michael Smith
  • Time to read: 14 min.
Michael Smith
I'm Michael Smith, the founder and creative director of Art and Drawing. With over a decade of experience in the art and design industry, my keen eye for detail and passion for creating inspiring artwork drive my work. I'm dedicated to capturing the world's beauty through vibrant, expressive pieces that spark imagination and emotion.

Oil pastels are a fantastic medium for budding artists to explore their creativity. With their vibrant colors and creamy texture, they offer endless possibilities for creating stunning artworks. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the various techniques and tips to help you make the most of your pastel crayons.

From blending and layering to shading and color blending, you’ll learn the essential skills needed to create beautiful pastel crayon art. With step-by-step tutorials and practical advice, you’ll gain confidence in your artistic abilities and unleash your imagination on paper.

So grab your pastel crayons and let’s dive into the world of pastel art!

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to use pastel crayons to unlock your creativity.
  • Discover various pastel crayon techniques, including blending, layering, and shading.
  • Gain practical tips and advice for creating vibrant and textured artwork with pastel crayons.
  • Explore step-by-step tutorials to enhance your skills and expand your artistic repertoire.
  • Unleash your imagination and create stunning pastel crayon art!

Easy Oil Pastel Drawing: Tips and Tricks

Creating stunning art with oil pastels is a rewarding and enjoyable experience, especially if you’re a beginner. Whether you’re exploring oil pastels for the first time or looking to refine your skills, this guide will provide you with essential tips and tricks to make your oil pastel drawings pop with vibrant colors and striking textures.

Oil Pastel Drawing:

  1. Choose the right paper: Use a heavy-weight or mixed media paper that can handle the heavy application of oil pastels without tearing or smudging.
  2. Start with a sketch: Before diving into your oil pastel drawing, sketch out your composition lightly with a pencil. This will serve as a guideline for your colors and shapes.
  3. Layering for depth: Build up your colors by layering them gradually. Start with lighter shades and gradually add darker hues to create depth and dimension.
  4. Blend colors seamlessly: Use your fingers or blending tools to blend colors smoothly and create beautiful gradients. This technique adds a soft and seamless touch to your artwork.

Easy Oil Pastel Techniques:

  1. Scrumbling: Use short, circular strokes to create a textured appearance. This technique is great for adding depth to your drawings.
  2. Impressionism: Apply small dabs of color side by side and let the viewer’s eye blend them together. This technique gives your artwork a vibrant and lively look.

Pro Tip: Experimentation is key! Don’t be afraid to try different techniques and explore various effects. The beauty of oil pastels lies in their versatility, so let your creativity flow.

With these simple tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to creating mesmerizing oil pastel artwork. Remember to practice, have fun, and let your imagination guide you. Happy drawing!

Choose the Right Oil Pastels: Quality Matters

When it comes to oil pastels, quality is of utmost importance in achieving outstanding artwork. Choosing high-quality oil pastels ensures vibrant pigments and smooth application, allowing you to fully explore your creativity. Investing in reputable brands that are trusted by artists will give you confidence in the materials you use.

Quality oil pastels offer a range of benefits:

  • Rich Pigments: These pastels are made with high-quality pigments that produce vibrant and intense colors, allowing you to create bold and eye-catching artwork.
  • Smooth Application: The texture of good-quality oil pastels makes them easy to apply on various surfaces. They glide smoothly across the paper, allowing you to effortlessly blend colors and create seamless transitions.
  • Blendability: High-quality oil pastels have a creamy consistency that makes them blend effortlessly, enabling you to achieve beautiful gradients, shading, and subtle variations in color.
  • Durability: Investing in quality brands ensures that your artwork will stand the test of time. These pastels are less prone to crumbling or breaking, ensuring your creations will remain intact for years to come.

When selecting the best oil pastel brands, consider well-known names in the artist community that are renowned for their quality and performance. Some popular oil pastel brands include:

  1. Sennelier: Known for their rich pigments and smooth application, Sennelier oil pastels are favored by professionals and artists worldwide.
  2. Holbein: Holbein oil pastels are known for their exceptional color saturation and lightfastness, making them an excellent choice for artists looking to create long-lasting artwork.
  3. Caran d’Ache: Caran d’Ache oil pastels are highly regarded for their high pigment concentration, allowing for vibrant and saturated colors.
See also
Uncover the Lifespan of Your Pastels: Learn Now

These brands offer a wide range of colors and variations, ensuring you have the necessary tools to bring your artistic vision to life.

Remember, the quality of your oil pastels will significantly impact the final result of your artwork. Investing in good-quality oil pastels not only enhances your creative experience but also ensures that your creations are of the highest standard.

Comparison of Top Oil Pastel Brands

Brand Features Price
Sennelier Rich pigments, smooth application $$
Holbein Exceptional color saturation, lightfastness $$
Caran d’Ache High pigment concentration $$$

By choosing quality oil pastels, you give yourself the tools to create breathtaking artwork. The richness of pigments, smoothness of application, and overall durability will elevate your artistic expression. So, don’t compromise on quality; invest in the best oil pastels available and unlock your true creative potential.

Experiment with Different Surfaces

When it comes to using oil pastels, the surface you choose can greatly impact the overall look and feel of your artwork. Experimenting with different surfaces not only adds a unique texture but also allows you to explore various techniques and effects. From traditional paper to unconventional options like canvas or cardboard, each surface has its own distinct qualities and advantages.

Let’s take a closer look at some popular surfaces for oil pastel art:


Paper is a common choice for oil pastel drawings due to its availability and versatility. The texture of the paper can vary, offering different levels of tooth (roughness) that can affect how the pastels adhere and blend. For best results, choose a heavyweight paper specifically designed for pastels to prevent the surface from tearing or smudging easily.


Canvas provides a more durable and resilient surface, allowing you to experiment with larger-scale oil pastel artworks. The rough texture of canvas enhances the blending and layering of colors, creating a beautiful depth and richness in your piece. Consider priming the canvas with gesso before applying oil pastels for better adherence and longevity.


Using oil pastels on cardboard can add a unique, gritty texture to your artwork. The rough surface of cardboard allows the pastels to catch the crevices, creating interesting patterns and effects. While cardboard may not be as archival as other surfaces, it can be a great option for practicing or creating experimental pieces.

Additionally, oil pastels can be used on wood, glass, or even colored paper to achieve distinct effects. The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to explore and push the boundaries of traditional surfaces.

Experimenting with different surfaces not only broadens your artistic horizons but also helps you discover the best medium to bring your creative vision to life. Each surface offers a unique tactile experience and can inspire new ideas and techniques.

Remember, the choice of surface should align with your style, desired effects, and the overall goal of your artwork. Explore, try new things, and find the perfect surface that enhances your oil pastel masterpiece.

Experimenting with various surfaces adds a unique texture to your oil pastel artwork.

Layer for Depth and Vibrancy

One of the advantages of oil pastels is their ability to layer colors. By layering oil pastels, you can create depth and achieve vibrant, eye-catching results in your artwork.

To start layering, begin with a light layer of color. Apply the oil pastel gently to the paper, allowing the colors to blend naturally. This initial layer serves as the foundation for your artwork, providing a base for the subsequent layers.

As you progress, gradually build up the intensity by adding more layers of oil pastels. The process of layering enhances the richness and luminosity of the colors, giving your artwork a three-dimensional effect.

Experiment with blending different colors together in layers to create new shades and tones. By combining complementary colors or layering different shades of the same color, you can achieve interesting visual effects and add depth to your artwork.

Layering also allows you to create texture in your oil pastel drawings. By varying the pressure and thickness of each layer, you can create different textures and surface qualities, adding further visual interest to your artwork.

Remember, practice is key when it comes to layering with oil pastels. Experiment with different color combinations, layering techniques, and subjects to develop your own unique style and achieve the desired effects in your artwork.

Benefits of Layering with Oil Pastels

Layering oil pastels offers several benefits, including:

  • Enhanced depth: Layering allows you to create a sense of depth in your artwork, making it appear more realistic and lifelike.
  • Vibrant colors: By layering multiple colors, you can achieve vibrant and bold hues, adding energy and visual impact to your artwork.
  • Texture and dimension: Layering helps create texture and dimension in your artwork, making it visually interesting and engaging.
  • Blending possibilities: Layering allows for greater blending possibilities, as the colors mix and interact with each other, resulting in unique and harmonious color combinations.

By mastering the art of layering with oil pastels, you can unlock new creative possibilities and create stunning artwork that captivates the viewer’s attention.

Examples of Layering Techniques

Layering Technique Description
Glazing Applying multiple transparent layers of oil pastels, allowing the colors underneath to show through, creating a luminous effect.
Scumbling Using a light, scribbling motion to layer lighter colors over darker colors, creating a textural effect that simulates the appearance of rough surfaces.
Impasto Applying thick and heavy layers of oil pastels, creating a raised texture that adds depth and dimension to the artwork.
See also
Pastel Art on Canvas: Tips & Techniques for You

These are just a few examples of layering techniques you can experiment with. Feel free to explore and combine techniques to achieve the desired effects in your artwork.

Blend with Fingers or Tools

Blending is a fundamental technique in oil pastel drawing that allows you to create smooth transitions and seamless color gradations. Whether you prefer a more hands-on approach or desire precise control over your blending, there are various methods you can employ to achieve the desired effect.

Blending with Your Fingers

Blending oil pastels with your fingers is a tactile and immersive way to create stunning effects in your artwork. By gently rubbing or smudging the colors together, you can achieve a soft and blended appearance. This technique is especially useful when creating backgrounds or large areas of color.

Here’s how you can blend with your fingers:

  • Start by selecting the colors you want to blend together.
  • Apply the colors side by side, slightly overlapping them.
  • Using your fingers, gently blend the colors together with small circular motions.
  • Continue blending until you achieve the desired result.

Blending with your fingers gives you a great deal of control and allows you to feel the textures and nuances of the pastels as you work. It’s a fantastic way to connect with your artwork on a deeper level.

Blending with Tools

If you prefer a more precise and controlled blending technique, there are several tools you can use to achieve professional-looking results. These tools help you blend colors seamlessly and create smooth transitions.

Here are some popular blending tools for oil pastels:

Blending Tools Description
Cotton Swabs These versatile tools allow for detailed blending and are perfect for small areas or intricate designs.
Blending Stumps Also known as tortillons, blending stumps are pointed tools made of tightly rolled paper. They are excellent for creating smooth transitions and blending colors together.
Colorless Blending Pens These pens contain a clear blending solution that can be applied directly to the pastels, helping to dissolve and blend the colors together.

When using blending tools, it’s essential to work gently and gradually build up the blending effects. Start with light pressure and add more as needed to achieve the desired result.

Experiment with both finger blending and blending tools to find the technique that suits your style and desired outcome. Each method offers its own unique characteristics and allows you to achieve different effects in your oil pastel artwork.

Create Texture with Different Strokes

Adding texture to your oil pastel artwork can bring it to life and make it visually captivating. Experimenting with various strokes allows you to create unique textures and dimensions. There are several stroke techniques you can use to enhance the texture in your oil pastel drawings. Some of these techniques include:

  • Hatching: This stroke technique involves drawing parallel lines closely together to create shading and texture. By varying the distance between the lines, you can achieve different effects.
  • Cross-hatching: Cross-hatching involves drawing sets of parallel lines in different directions, creating a crisscross pattern. This technique can add depth and complexity to your artwork.
  • Stippling: Stippling involves creating tiny dots or marks with your oil pastels. By varying the size and density of the dots, you can create interesting textures and shading.
  • Scumbling: Scumbling is the technique of applying layers of broken lines or dots to create a textured effect. This technique is great for adding softness or roughness to different surfaces.

By combining these stroke techniques and experimenting with different pressure and colors, you can add depth and visual interest to your oil pastel drawings. Don’t be afraid to get creative and discover your own stroke techniques that uniquely express your artistic style.

Take a look at the image below to see how different strokes can create texture and dimension in oil pastel artwork:

Oil Pastel Art Ideas: Ignite Your Imagination

Are you seeking inspiration for your next oil pastel masterpiece? Let’s explore a range of creative oil pastel art ideas that will spark your imagination and help you embark on your artistic journey. Scenic landscapes, expressive abstracts, and vibrant portraits are just a few ideas to get you started.

Landscape Oil Pastel

Embrace the beauty of nature with landscape oil pastels. Capture breathtaking sunsets, rolling hills, or serene seascapes. Experiment with blending techniques to create smooth transitions between colors and textures that mimic the lushness of landscapes.

Abstract Oil Pastel

Unleash your creativity with abstract oil pastel art. Let your imagination guide you as you explore bold shapes, vibrant colors, and unique compositions. Play with different strokes and layering techniques to add depth and texture to your abstract creations.

Portrait Oil Pastel

Bring faces to life with portrait oil pastels. Whether you choose to capture the likeness of a loved one or create imaginary characters, oil pastels offer a versatile medium for portraying emotions and details. Experiment with blending skin tones, adding highlights and shadows, and capturing the essence of your subjects.

“Oil pastel art allows you to express your creativity through vibrant colors and rich textures. Whether you’re drawn to landscapes, abstracts, or portraits, the possibilities are endless. Let your imagination run wild and create artworks that truly reflect your unique style.”

Oil Pastel Techniques: Master the Essentials

Unlocking the full potential of oil pastels involves mastering essential techniques that will elevate your artwork. By blending, layering, creating texture, and adding highlights and shadows, you can create mesmerizing oil pastel drawings that captivate viewers. Let’s explore these techniques in detail:

See also
Discover How to Color Oil Pastel Like a Pro

Blending Oil Pastels

Blending is a crucial technique that allows you to seamlessly transition between colors and create smooth gradients. You can blend oil pastels using your fingers, blending tools, or a combination of both. Experiment with different blending techniques to achieve the desired effect. Whether you prefer subtle blending for a soft look or bold blending for vibrant color transitions, blending is an essential skill to master.

Layering with Oil Pastels

Layering is a technique that adds depth, dimension, and richness to your oil pastel artwork. By applying multiple layers of color, you can create luminous and vibrant effects. Start with a light layer of pastel and gradually build up the intensity by adding more layers. Experiment with layering different colors to create unique hues and captivating visual effects.

Creating Texture with Oil Pastels

Oil pastels have a distinct texture that allows you to add depth and dimension to your artwork. Explore various strokes and techniques to create textures that bring your subjects to life. Whether it’s rough brushstrokes for a rugged effect or delicate cross-hatching for a softer texture, the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to experiment and let your creativity run wild.

Adding Highlights and Shadows

Highlights and shadows play a crucial role in creating a realistic and dynamic appearance in your oil pastel drawings. By carefully observing light sources and applying lighter and darker shades, you can create a sense of depth and realism. Highlight the areas where light hits your subject, and dark shadows where light is obstructed. This technique adds depth, dimension, and visual interest to your artwork.

Now that you have learned these essential oil pastel techniques, it’s time to put them into practice. By combining blending, layering, creating texture, and adding highlights and shadows, you can create stunning oil pastel artwork that showcases your unique style and creativity.

Quick Tips:

  • Experiment with different blending tools like cotton swabs, blending stumps, or tortillons to achieve various blending effects.
  • Create depth and dimension by layering complementary or contrasting colors.
  • Explore different textured surfaces such as canvas or rough-textured paper to enhance the tactile quality of your oil pastel artwork.

With these techniques and tips in your artistic toolkit, you’ll be able to take your oil pastel drawings to new heights. So grab your oil pastels, unleash your creativity, and let the vibrant colors and captivating textures come to life on the canvas.


Oil pastels offer an incredible range of artistic possibilities, making them an ideal medium for beginners to explore and experiment with. Whether you’re sketching simple drawings or creating vibrant landscapes, the tips, techniques, and art ideas in this comprehensive guide will help you unlock your creativity and create stunning oil pastel artwork.

By following the easy oil pastel drawing tips and tricks, you can enhance your skills and produce artwork that pops with vibrant colors and striking textures. Choosing high-quality oil pastels from trusted brands ensures rich pigments and smooth application, while experimenting with different surfaces allows you to discover the perfect canvas for your artistic expression.

Layering oil pastels adds depth and vibrancy to your art, while blending with your fingers or using tools offers a variety of blending options. Creating texture with different strokes adds dimension and interest to your oil pastel drawings. The possibilities are truly endless!

So, grab your oil pastels, unleash your imagination, and let your artistic journey begin. With practice and experimentation, you’ll be amazed at how oil pastels can bring your creative visions to life. Embrace the versatility of this medium and watch as your oil pastel artwork captivates and inspires.


How do I use pastel crayons?

To use pastel crayons, simply choose your desired color and apply it directly to your chosen surface. You can use them to create vibrant drawings, blend colors, add texture, and experiment with different techniques.

What are some pastel crayon techniques I can try?

Some popular pastel crayon techniques include blending colors, layering for depth, creating texture with various strokes, adding highlights and shadows, and experimenting with different surfaces for unique effects.

How do I blend pastel crayons?

Pastel crayons can be blended together by using your fingers for a more hands-on approach. Alternatively, you can use blending tools such as cotton swabs, blending stumps, or tortillons for a smoother and more controlled blending effect.

Can I layer pastel crayons?

Yes, layering is a great technique to achieve vibrant and eye-catching results with pastel crayons. Start with a light layer of color and gradually build up the intensity by adding more layers. This allows you to create depth and richness in your artwork.

What surfaces can I use pastel crayons on?

Pastel crayons can be used on various surfaces, including paper, canvas, cardboard, and even wood. Each surface offers a unique texture and effect, so it’s worth experimenting to find the one that best suits your style and desired outcome.

How do I create texture with pastel crayons?

You can create texture with pastel crayons by using various strokes such as hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, and scumbling. These techniques add depth and interest to your artwork, allowing you to create captivating textures and effects.