Difference between Oil and Chalk pastels on paper – Part 1

This time I will be talking about using soft oil pastels and chalk pastels on paper. I have use both black and white paper to show the effect of both media.

Part- 1 : Oil pastels on white paper:
Oil pastels are usually buttery and contain more oil content, so they can be blended more easily either by hand or with a neutral colour pastel. Oil pastels work great on good textured paper, for a smoother blending effect we can use our normal sketching paper which is less textured. I have used MontMarte A3 size sketch book and MontMarte Oil Pastels. Since oil pastels work differently than paints, it is important to start with a good quality pastel that works and blends smoothly.

There are many techniques to use oil pastels. In today’s sketch, I am going to use a technique called Layering, where you gradually build up the layers of pastels to achieve the colour and depth you want in your sketch.

I have sketched a scene of a small café in Europe, using a graphite pencil. Once the initial sketch was ready, I started with the basic shades in the picture. In this case, I start with pink/peach for the walls and tables, grey and black for the door, floor and parts of the background.

Its necessary to start with the basic shades as we can blend in more colours to produce gradients and we can also use contrast shades to highlight. You can either blend with your fingers or use blending stumps. I have used blue to highlight the chairs & tables and light/dark shades of green for the bushes and yellow for the flooring and door. (It is important to wipe your fingers and the pastel sticks in between so you do not end up transferring one colour to another)

oil pastel1

Make sure not to use too many shades in the same area, as the colours stop blending at one point after which the pastels start to stick . So plan for the shade you require and work towards achieving it with less than 3 colours.
You can notice the shadow of the window grill on the wall and shades of yellow on the right part of the sketch which indicates that the light source is on the left top corner. Paying attention to light sources and their effects on the object can bring about a great difference on how the finished sketch looks.


The final part of the sketch is the flooring. I have used shades of yellow to show the light on the ground and the shadowed areas are dark brown. The blue highlights are used to break the monotony of browns on the tiles.

After the major areas are completed and blended, I have outlined the details of wine glasses & plates on the tables. The completed sketch is as below.



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