View Full Version : Got some oils, what kind of paper???

03-24-2004, 02:53 PM
Hello again!!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who answered my last post in this forum. I learned a lot and was very inspired. You guys are great! :clap:
Well, yesterday my wife and I got some student grade Cray Pas Oil Pastels (50 colors for 10 dollors). Yes I've heard all about student grade, how they're not "real pigment" and all, but it was cheap and we both thought I could learn from them before buying the real stuff. Anyway, one question I had was what kind of paper / board do you use for oil pastels? Some books and resources say to use pastel paper, others say the teeth might actually be too much for the oil pastel and to use regular drawing paper (Strathmore). I don't know what to belive so I thought I'd come here for a final verdict.
Last night after we got the pastels, I got out some strathmore and started painting a little. I can see how you can get addicted to the color. I was just amazed. :D I tried painting a lake, which didn't come out too well, :( but it was a lot of fun trying. I'm beginning to think i should of started with pastels then moved to acrylics later.
In addition to the paper question, where can I find good resources on techniques? There is only one book on the market covering oil pastels. Thanks again for your help!!! :)

03-24-2004, 03:12 PM
Hi...You must be talking about Oil Pastel for the Serious Beginner by John Elliot...I got it when I was starting out and it gave me lots of ideas. Also if you go to the library in this forum and scroll down below all the soft pastels hints and wips you'll find a whole slew of oil pastel links...should help!
As to paper...Art Spectrum colorfix is nice...has some tooth and is erasable with a kneadable eraser. And comes in a sample package through Dick Blicks with all the different colors. Or you can make you own support very easily. You can use left over matboard or masonite board to do this...you get some marble dust (Dick Blick has 4 pound packages under $4), you mix a 50/50 mix of good quality gesso and water and add 2 tablespoons of the marble dust. Then with a foam brush or roller you apply 3 coats, let dry in between (dries in seconds) and do each coat in opposite directions...will give you a colorfix type surface and it can be tinted with any pigment for a toned ground. I also use Fabriano Tiziano paper...I don't like canvas because the pure acrylic gesso is too slick. I'm sure some of the other oil pastelists will come on board with their favorite supports too.

Kathryn Wilson
03-24-2004, 03:17 PM
That is the beauty of oil pastels - you can paint on just about anything - but you will have to decide what works for you so that means experimenting a bit. Watercolor paper, sanded pastel paper, gesso board, illustration board and Sennelier makes a paper just for oil pastels (I bought it - it's okay, but nothing special and not worth the extra cost).

My only thoughts on going with less expensive Oil Pastels is the frustration level will be higher - they have more wax than pigment in them - and you may give up before you even get to the good stuff. Buy a few of the Senneliers in Open Stock and then compare the color and ease of application. The Cray Pas Specialist OP's are good and inexpensive too.

Hope you get to post that lake painting!

03-24-2004, 03:49 PM
Try whatever paper you can find. That question honestly depends on how many layers/abuse you want the paper to be able to take. I like art spectrum's colourfix. I've used Artagain, Mi Tientes, and 12olb watercolor paper. They all work greeat, but do have different effects.

Coulourfix has the best toothing of the ones I've used.

03-24-2004, 07:17 PM
Hi there, as already mentioned, any surface will take OP's, you will eventually find a favourite, experiment with them all, at present I'm using canvas and finding it great, my all time favourites though are Somerset Velvet pastel paper, Canson's Aquarelle 140lb fine cotton watercolour paper, mount board and sanfix or art spectrum..... Craypas op's are a good quality student's grade, I have quite a few of them, they are probably the best of the Student grades IMO.
As for techniques, experiment is the way to go, try blending with turps or white spirit or even better Liquin, take your pastel and rub some onto a spare piece of paper, preferably a piece of watercolour paper, this becomes your palette, you can mix the colours this way before applying them, then moisten your brush with one of the mediums and paint, try an underpainting with watercolour and then applying op's over the top, some use gouache for underpainting, but I prefer watercolour or water soluable op's, you can also use a dry stiff bristle brush to spread and blend the pastels, or a folded piece of paper towel or cotton bud, an eraser will give you those sharp edges.

If blending with turps or another medium, you can then scumble over the top for texture and other effects,... scrape back with pointed end of a brush or palette knife, even a cocktail stick to the under layer to reveal a different colour or again for effects like grasses or fine lines where you need them.
Just a few of the different techniques you can use.

Happy experimenting.


03-24-2004, 08:49 PM
Mo, you're so awesome. When are you going to give us an article? I'd love to see how you do some of these techniques.

03-24-2004, 09:41 PM
I haven't found a paper that I didn't like for OP's. I have tried Canson, Stonehenge, Colorfix, and Hot Press watercolor paper...That's just what I had around the house.

It's fun to use them on colored paper (Canson) and the colors really pop on black!


03-24-2004, 09:51 PM
The only paper I have used is Canson and I like it very much. It's cheap and readily available, doesn't need any preparation. I haven't found any drawbacks to it, which I guess is why I've stuck with it.

I started out with the Cray Pas also, and really enjoyed using them. There aren't many books that cover oil pastels, but if you stick around here you'll see many artists experimenting with them. I think I've picked up a lot more info here than I ever could in a book. Hope to see some of your work soon!