Art is representative of life. However, to get an accurate portrayal, you need to use the right supplies when you are creating. Oil pastels are an excellent tool when you want to create a wide array of art. But, what are the best oil pastels? We have searched the internet to uncover the oil pastels that will give you the results that you need.
After thoroughly examining their composition and other features, we were able to choose 12 that will exceed your expectations. When you start using them, you will notice an immediate difference in the quality of your work.
Types of Oil Pastels and the Difference Between Artist-Grade and Student-Grade Pastels
It is important that you are always using good quality oil pastels. Because of this, you need to know what the different types are and what sets artist grades apart from student-grade pastels.
Types of Oil Pastels
There are several types of pastels that you can consider. It is important to know the difference so that you make the right choice for your art.
Oil pastels have a waxy consistency.
You can compare their composition to that of a standard crayon. If you want bright and intense colors, these are an ideal choice. They are not very blendable, but you can use them when you want to layer and make strong lines.
Soft pastels are crumbly, soft and you can smudge them easily.
They can be hard to control when you are learning how to use them. These are ideal when you want to put down big areas of color quickly.
If you want something that blends well, these are a good choice. You can blend them using a variety of tools, from a blender to something like a cotton swab.
Hard pastels are ideal when you want flexibility, but you also want to be able to create distinct lines.
Use them with soft pastels to get greater versatility with your work. These also blend well but will take a little more effort compared to soft pastels. Since they blend well, you can also use them with other media, such as carbon pencils, graphite sticks, charcoal, traditional pencils, and watercolors.
Pastel pencils come in a basic pencil shape.
Compared to soft pastels, the level of control is much higher. Since the ends are small, laying down large amounts of colors will take a lot of time.
However, you can use these when you need to get a high level of precision. It is very important to choose ones that are high quality or else you risk them being too chalky when you are trying to use them.
A newer type of pastel is referred to as pan pastel.
This kind is essentially a hybrid that combines a soft pastel with watercolors. If you want to use this type, you will have to use specialized tools or a brush.
They are in a pan and you pick up the pigment with a tool before applying it to paper or canvas. If you have a background in traditional painting, this type of pastel may be a good choice for you.
Water-soluble pastels are like watercolors.
They dissolve in water and the pigments are bound using polyethylene glycol. When you look at them, they have an appearance that is very similar to a traditional crayon. You will add some water to use this type of media.
Artist Grade vs. Student Grade Pastels
This is another factor to consider when you want to buy pastels. When they are listed as artist quality, the pigment-to-binder ratio has far more pigment. Because of this, the color payout will be considerably more intense and stronger.
This grade also has better permanence, meaning that once you create something, the color will not start to fade fast.
Pastels that are listed as student quality have less expensive pigment making them more affordable. They also contain more binder and filler.
They also do not crumble as easily, making them easier to learn with. It is best to start with student quality to learn the techniques, but once you become well-versed in how to use pastels, you can move up to artist grade to get much higher quality and longer-lasting work.
Factors to Consider When Buying Oil Pastels
In addition to the type and grade, there are other factors to consider when you are buying oil pastels. This information will make it easier to narrow down your options so that you choose those that will work the best for you.
Sets vs. Individual Pastels
This is one of the first decisions that you will need to make. Having a set gives you a variety of colors, but buying them individuality gives you full control over the colors that you have. When you are just starting out, it is best to go with a set so that you get a variety of hues.
As you continue to hone your craft, you can start buying individual oil pastels so that you can replace colors that you use frequently and expand the colors that you have to work with.
The colors can be affected by light and this term describes how much of an effect light will have. Look at the light-fastness rating of the pastels that you are considering. This will help you to choose the ones that reflect and absorb light at the level that you prefer.
You also need to consider this when you want to know if your work will start to fade once you finish it. It also plays a role in the fixatives that you use on your finished work.
When you are working with pastels, there are additional tools that can make creating art a lot easier and more expressive. These include:
- Surface primers to change how the pigment goes down
- Color shaper for mechanical blending so that you can combine colors and smudge them easier
- Palette knife to get sharp edges since it works to scrape away excess material
- Tortillon is another tool that lets you engage in mechanical blending so that you can smudge colors easier
- Mineral/turpentine spirits are ideal for more advanced pastel users. These work to help you remove excess pastels and blend your colors easier
- Fixatives will protect your finished work from smudging and dust so that once you have a finished piece, you do not have to worry about damage to your work.
Best Oil Pastels:
1. Pentel Arts Oil Pastel SetView at Amazon
The Pentel Arts Oil Pastel Set contains pastels that smudge and apply smoothly. You can use this set for tints, subtle shades, and color mixtures. It is also possible to use various other media along with these pastels.
They do not contain any acid, allowing you to use them on a variety of surfaces, from canvas to regular paper. The colors are resistant to humidity and light so that your finished product will continue to be vibrant for a long time.
Multiple people said that these are easy to work with, making them ideal for students. You can get a good color payoff and smudge the colors together.
Other people said that they glide smoothly. You do not have to deal with stops and starts when you are using these.
These colors will last and not fade quickly once you finish your work. They can be used with a variety of tools so that you can create a finished product exactly to your specifications.
- There are 25 colors for a lot of versatility
- These are the best oil pastels for beginners
- They are easy to handle
- You can smudge them
- These do not blend well
2. Caran d’Arche Classic Neocolor PastelsView at Amazon
The Caran d’Arche Classic Neocolor Pastels are water-soluble pastels. They allow you to achieve a watercolor effect with your work.
You can use them on numerous surfaces, including cardboard, illuminated signs, paper, and glass. Use them dry or wet, so that you can achieve the look that you are going for. When you put down the pigment, you have a lot of versatility regarding things like blending and smudging.
These pastels are easy to hold in your hand. This ensures that you have a high level of control.
These are the best oil pastels for artists, according to many reviewers. This is due to their ease of use and high level of pigment.
Many people said that you can use these for multiple purposes. This includes sketches for things like fashion and architecture.
These pastels are very easy to work with. They were designed for professional artists due to their high level of pigment and quality.
- You get 15 colors for extended versatility
- The colors are very intense
- These are easy to use
- Water disperses the color easily
- They may crack if you use too much pressure
3. Prismacolor Premier Pastel SticksView at Amazon
The Prismacolor Premier Pastel Sticks are firm, allowing you to use varying amounts of pressure when you are creating. These pastels are highly pigmented, giving you a very strong color payoff.
You can use these pastels on multiple backgrounds, including a very textured canvas. These pastels work both dry and wet so that you can get the exact effect that you are looking for.
These are firm, but they have a creaminess to them that makes blending very easy. You do not need a lot of pressure to get a strong pigment.
Many people said that these are easy to use. You have a lot of options regarding the tools and backgrounds to that you can apply these to. Other people said that they blend very easily. You can use a smudger, your fingers, or other tools to easily blend out the colors.
These pastels are very vibrant. You get a strong color selection, allowing you to create just about anything with these.
- There are 24 sticks for extended color capabilities
- They are very firm
- These are ideal for learning how to use pastels
- You get a strong color flow
- They may break prematurely
4. Mungyo Gallery Oil PastelsView at Amazon
The Mungyo Gallery Oil Pastels are high-quality oil pastels. These pastels are soft, giving you a lot of pigment without the need to use a lot of pressure.
If you like to do a lot of layering work, these pastels are an ideal choice. Their consistency is similar to that of lipstick. This allows you to use little effort to get intense colors.
These pastels go down very smoothly. Because of this, you can use a variety of strokes and techniques when you are using these pastels.
Numerous people talked about the color range. This allows you to do a lot of things, including ombre shading with ease. Other people talked about the pigment level. These are very high quality giving you a strong color payoff with limited effort.
These pastels are very smooth, making them easy to use. The color payoff that you get remains consistent no matter how long you are using the sticks.
- There are 48 colors for an intense range of shades
- The colors are vivid
- They are easy to blend
- You can use a variety of tools with them
- If you use too much pressure, you may go through these quickly
5. Square Artist PastelsView at Amazon
The Square Artist Pastels have a square shape, making them easy to hold. This shape also allows you to create distinct lines when you are using these pastels.
You can blend these pastels with ease. They have a velvety texture and they are very soft. You do not have to use a lot of effort to get a strong level of color with these pastels.
All of the colors are very vibrant. Even after blending them, they do not lose their strong pigment so you can get the exact color that you are looking for.
Several people said that these are very easy to use. You can use different strokes and techniques without losing any color payoff.
Other people said that these pastels work well on canvas. You will not lose pigment in the texture of the canvas.
The colors are vivid, allowing you to create a wide variety of art. You get a high color payoff when little effort when you are using these.
- Enjoy color flexibility since you get 48 different colors
- These pastels are very smooth
- You can use different backgrounds
- The color payoff is intense
- The sticks are smaller compared to similar pastels
6. Sakura Cray-Pas Oil PastelsView at Amazon
The Sakura Cray-Pas Oil Pastels are non-toxic, making them a good choice for people of all ages. They do not contain any common allergens, such as eggs, latex, or tree nuts.
You get an oil paint effect with these pastels. This allows you to layer the colors and blend them so that you can achieve the effect that you are looking for.
You can use different tools with these pastels, making it easier to smudge and use other pastel techniques. The colors are vibrant so you do not need to use a lot of pressure for strong pigment.
Both kids and adults can use this set. There are numerous colors and you can hold them easily in your hands.
Other people said that they glide well. Use them on several types of backgrounds without losing their smoothness.
These are cheap oil pastels, but they function like high-quality pastels. You get a strong color payoff, and these are easy to use and blend.
- You get 50 colors so that you can experiment with different hues
- These are ideal for students
- These are easy to use
- They have good pigment
- They are more fragile compared to similar pastels
7. Sennelier Oil Pastel SetView at Amazon
The Sennelier Oil Pastel Set comes in a box that makes it easy to organize all of your colors. This ensures that it is easy to grab the exact color that you need.
These pastels are very creamy and easy to use. You can apply them to multiple backgrounds, including paper, metal, wood, and canvas. They blend well no matter which background you are using.
Multiple people said that these pastels are very creamy. This allows you to get a strong color payoff without having to use a lot of effort.
These feel like you are using lipstick, according to many consumers. This makes it easy to put down large areas of color at once.
These are artist-grade oil pastels. They are very smooth, and you can use them for a variety of artistic techniques.
- There are 24 colors for shade diversity
- You can use these on several backgrounds
- These are professional grade
- They smudge with ease
- If you use too much pressure these may crack
8. PRO ART Artist Pastel SetView at Amazon
The PRO ART Artist Pastel Set has a wide array of colors that allow you to create just about anything. You can use them on numerous backgrounds, including metal and clay, so that you can create works of art exactly to your specifications.
These pastels lay down color very easily. You only needed limited pressure to get an intense color. The smoothness of the pastels also makes them very easy to blend.
They are square in shape. Because of this, you can choose to put down large areas of color or you can use them to get precise lines.
Many people mentioned the box the pastels come in. It is wood, so you can carry it with you while ensuring that your pastels are protected.
Other people mentioned the smoothness of the pastels. They glide easily no matter which type of background you are using.
You can use these pastels for everything from landscapes to portraits. They are easy to handle and have a strong color payoff.
- Find your perfect hue with the 72 colors
- The colors are very vibrant
- You can blend these easily
- These pastels are easy to handle
- They break easier than similar pastels
9. Rembrandt Pastel Starter SetView at Amazon
The Rembrandt Pastel Starter Set uses finely ground pigments that put out a very intense and pure level of color. You do not have to use a lot of pressure to get the vibrancy that you are looking for.
The colors have a glow to them and will work with fixatives so that you can preserve your finished work. Use a variety of tools for things like blending so that you can create exactly to your specifications. These pastels also smudge and layer well.
Multiple people said that you can use these on numerous backgrounds. This allows you to create art just about anywhere with these.
Other people said that they work very smoothly. This makes it easy to get a strong color payoff without having to exert too much effort.
These pastels are soft, allowing you to use them on a variety of backgrounds. They blend with ease so that your art gets the exact look that you desire.
- The 15 colors let you create numerous shades
- You can use these pastels on several types of backgrounds
- They deposit color very smoothly
- The color intensity is very strong
- They break easier than similar pastel sticks
10. Holbein Artists’ Oil Pastel SetView at Amazon
The Holbein Artists’ Oil Pastel Set has a chalk pastel feel. Because of this, you always get smooth lines and you can create art with a high level of precision.
These pastels are very clean. You do not have a lot of dust or excess when you are using these. They also blend very well. You can use these on a variety of surface types, including smooth paper and textured canvas.
These are a good choice for students and professionals, according to several consumers. This is due to their ease of use and high pigment level.
Many people like the square shape. This gives you a lot of versatility regarding the type of art that you create.
These pastels are ideal for both precise work and work that mimics watercolors. You can also lay down large amounts of color with ease since they have a square shape.
- There are 15 colors to get the exact hue that you are looking for
- You can create linear art with these
- The color payoff is strong
- These are easy to use
- They may break if you use too much pressure
11. Premium Oil PastelsView at Amazon
The Premium Oil Pastels apply to a variety of backgrounds very smoothly. You will not have to use a lot of pressure to ensure that you are getting a strong pigment on your background.
You can use these when you are pulling off several different pastel techniques. These include tinting, blending, embossing, expanding, and overlapping.
You can use these on a variety of surfaces, even clay, and wood. The vibrancy of the colors is the same on multiple backgrounds. Due to the pointed edges of these pastels, you can get a high level of detail with your art.
These are inexpensive but high in quality, according to several people. You get a lot of pigment from these pastels.
Other people said that you can sharpen them with ease. They will not start to crumble when you are sharpening them.
This set is ideal for students of all ages. The pastels are non-toxic and easy to handle for various types of art.
- Get creative versatility due to this set having 48 colors
- The pastels glide well
- You can layer them
- The colors are vibrant
- They do not blend as easily as other pastels
12. Faber-Castel Soft PastelsView at Amazon
The Faber-Castel Soft Pastels are very smooth due to how soft they are. With limited pressure, you get a strong color payoff that is vivid.
These are very easy to blend. You can use anything from a pastel brush to your finger to smudge and blend the colors. Blending does not reduce the level of color intensity.
Multiple people said that these pastels are smooth and easy to use. You can do anything from large areas of color to fine lines.
Other people said that you can use these on several backgrounds. You can use these on everything from cardboard to high-quality canvas.
The colors are extremely vibrant. This ensures that you get the exact level of color that you need when you are creating.
- Create any color you seek since this set has 72 colors
- They blend easily
- The range of colors is incredibly diverse
- These are easy to handle
- These put out more dust compared to similar pastels
The best oil pastels to buy are versatile and easy to use. They also contain all of the colors that you need to create freely. The Pentel Arts Oil Pastel Set is easy to use. It comes in 25 colors and the size of the sticks makes them easy to maneuver. They contain no acid, allowing you to use them on a variety of paper types.
When you start using the best oil pastels, you will notice a big difference in the final product regarding your art. It will also be much easier when you are creating because the pastels will be more flexible and pigmented