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Oil Pastels Tips and Tricks

Making Magic with Oil Pastels

Discover an art medium that will take you down a spiral of colour and creativity, setting your fingertips on fire as they make magic on the page right in front of your very eyes. The crayon has come a long way, evolving over time and has emerged bigger and better than ever and now comes in the form of large oil pastels. These wondrous magic wands allow even the most inquisitive imaginations to push their artistic limits through a medley of shades and tones stemming from every colour of the rainbow.

Oil pastels give both pros and beginners the chance to transfer their feelings from crayon to paper. The comprehensive range of oil pastel colours we offer at Reeves will lift your creative spark to inconceivable heights, taking off and letting your ideas run wild from imagination to fingers to crayons to paper.

Let your inspiration flow freely onto paper, card, canvas or board – all surfaces perfectly suited to create beautiful oil pastel pieces to be proud of. They say big things come in small packages – well this little wizard of a tool has a big personality with many characteristics. Oil pastels have a diverse variety of vivid colours and a selection of surfaces they adapt to well.

These creativity sticks allow for many techniques to be carried out with them offering the opportunity for artists to explore new ways to make art and improve on their methods. Oil pastels’ diversity is one of the tool’s key features. Amazingly, they can be used for drawing and painting – a double act! Oil pastels can be used dry for drawing or if mixed with turpentine, wet for painting. This double feature is truly remarkable and it almost always steals the show.

The Ins and Outs of Oil Pastels

Oil pastels may be complex, but they are nothing to be afraid of and not difficult to understand. A word of advice – get to know oil pastels before adding them to your art box. Once you understand their composition and how they work, putting them to a surface will be like the final piece to your crafty puzzle.

Oil pastel’s soft, oily composition allow them to blend beautifully on paper and can be easily mixed, spreading like icing on a cake. They are comprised of pigment mixed with a non-drying oil and wax binder. Unlike regular crayons that need a heavy hand, a little bit of oil pastels goes a long way sending you down a path of vibrant tones and bursting colours.

Finding the Perfect Surface for Oil Pastels

When it comes to oil pastels there is an array of surfaces out there that they pair well with, making them one of the most exciting and versatile mediums to work with. Easy to work with on paper, canvas or board oil pastels can surprisingly also be applied to wood and glass if they are primed properly. Now you can take oil pastels further than they have ever been before by using them to add vividness and character to your home.

Dust off that old chest of drawers that’s been lying in the corner of your bedroom and discover the art of upcycling or add some zest to your windows or mirrors by applying some oil pastel beauty to them. Get creative with oil pastels by visiting your local second-hand shop where you can find some great pieces of furniture to test out your artistic skills with and of course you’re new found friend; oil pastels.

Oil Pastel Techniques

There are several techniques when using oil pastels whether wet or dry that will make your picture explode with vibrant and striking effects. One of these methods includes feathering. Feathering takes your tones on an expedition of evolution from light to dark or even dark to light. It also helps objects in the painting blend well so that it looks as if it belongs as well as smoothing the edges so it appears just right.

The pastels are applied in a linear fashion. Similar to cross hatching, the lines may overlap. The layers of lines can be short but this is not a rule you have to stick by and the layers create the solid effect that makes your work of art pop.

Another popular method is stippling; the use of adding small dots to make up an object or create a shading effect. Stippling works great with oil pastels and is a simple technique to master. Take charge of your piece as your oil pastel weapon dominates the page to create something hugely impressive from something so small. It is a truly remarkable technique that is fantastic to add to your artistic skills list.

You are now a feathering fanatic and a sorcerer of stippling so why not master another technique while on your oil pastel adventure. Scumbling is a long-standing method adored by many artists and now you can see what all the fuss is about. Scumbling is a great technique that will make any oil pastel piece look like a state of the art masterpiece. With scumbling, a layer of colour either speckled, broken or scratchy is added over another colour. This creates a striking effect where the layer of colour underneath peeks through. The result is a stunning appearance of deep colour and distinction to your piece.

Don’t fear new techniques they are not something to be afraid of. Embrace the experience, it is all part of your art journey that will lead you to a head full of crafty knowledge and a hand that works like magic across any surface.

Oil pastels are a wonderful addition to your art kit that will inspire you to take your evolving skills to unmeasurable lengths. From the foundations of their magical composition to the way they will guide your fingertips all the way to creation city making beautiful art on the surface right in front of you, these fun mediums are refreshing to work with and their dual-purpose characteristics leave the opportunity to take your imagination and your visions to infinite destinations. Oil pastels will certainly be the brightest crayons in your craft box.

Find your nearest Reeves supplier and get your hands on oil pastels today!

Your imagination, oil pastels and:

  • Paper
  • Card
  • Canvas
  • Board
  • or some furniture in need of upcycling!

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Tag your masterpiece with #wearereeves. We’ll feature the best on our Instagram page.

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