View Full Version : which brand of oil pastels to try

01-23-2004, 08:27 PM
I have decided to try a small set of oil pastels to see if I like them for landscapes. I have read through the entire oil pastel thread and haven't a clue which brand to get, I am more confused. It sounds like the Sennelier's are hard to work with and that maybe holbeins are best, but they are way expensive. I just wanted to get a current update on who likes what and why!!! especially for landscapes.


01-23-2004, 09:00 PM
I have a box of Caran D'ache Neopastels, 96 colours in total, the landscape colours consists of: 4 shades of yellow: 3 shades of yellow green: 10 shades of green: 6 shades of blue/green:13 shades of browns this includes/green/brown purple/brown, but not ochres.6 shades of blue. 8 shades of mauve/purples 8 shades of red, I'm loosing count, there are several shades of orange,orange /red orange/yellow, loads of greys from cool to warm , I think I have three different blacks, but one of these may be a charcoal grey, then there are the lights, like cream/white/pale grey etc.,. and also three pearlescent colours, bronze/gold and silver, you can mix the colours visually or with turps, I alsohave a set of Sennelier about 60 of those, they are harder to work with, but I love the deep darks they have,their dark green/dk umber/purple/blue/red are awesome, the Sennelier black is more like blue black, especially noticeable when diluted.

Whatever you do steer clear of the students grade, you will be put off, as the wax content in them makes them like wax crayons to use, okay for quick sketches and that's about all, the colours are not archival either, I know some folks have produced excellent work with the cheaper brands but really I don't recommend them for serious work.

Hope this helps some.


01-24-2004, 12:33 AM
hmmmm....neopastels are better than Senneliers in that they're more versatile I think...but i have to hold out for Holbeins if you want to do lots of straight stick work. Why don't you just try a couple sticks of each first? I regret that the Holbeins were my last pick...almost didn't get to get them. And without trying you just don't know which are suited to your particular way of using them.

Kathryn Wilson
01-24-2004, 08:03 AM
I agree with Dyin - until you try a few of each brand - you won't know which will fit your particular style. Caran d'ache are a good middle ground - soft and creamy, but not as soft as Sennelier. Holbeins are more Conte-like, but cover very well. My only mistake with Holbeins was I didn't get enough! I bought a few in each of the color sets, but find it's hard to get values right if I stick stricktly with Holbeins I have for one painting.

In my search for the perfect OP set, I found that there is no one perfect set to work with. So now I have, just like in soft pastels, a box of each of the better OP's with favorites in each.

Marc Sabatella
01-24-2004, 01:43 PM
If you really have any thought that you might eventually be at all serious about this, but maybe just want to do a little test before taking the plunge, my advice would be to see if you can borrow someone else's for a painting or two so you can experience right away having a broad selection of high quality oil pastels to work with. But if that is not feasible, here's what I will recommend instead: get a reasonably big set (at least 50) of the cheapest oil pastels you can find, and three or four Holbeins from open stock too. Shouldn't put you out more than $20-$30 or so total. That way you can experience what it is like to have a bunch of colors, and see the texture of a high quality oil pastel differs. That should give you enough info to see if you want to spend $100 or more on a larger set of good pastels (a set of 50 of so Holbeins or comparable brands will be in the that price range; if you do it from open stock, it might be more like $150). And the old set of cheap ones would then make a good gift for a child.

01-25-2004, 01:18 AM
Thanks for all your guidance on this. I just bid on and won a set on ebay of 50 holbeins so I guess I am gonna try those first. I already have the cheapies and I think I will keep them for the mixed media and collage work that I do but I am looking forward to trying a landscape when the holbeins come. Thanks for the great advice from everyone!


01-25-2004, 11:54 AM
teehee...let us know what you think of them!