View Full Version : Show us your tools

08-28-2004, 07:37 AM
In an effort to try and distill the image of OP's as just a drawing medium I thought that it might be helpful to folks who are wanting to explore this new and exciting medium, if we were to share our "tools of the trade" so to speak and explain a bit about how and why we use them.

This is a snapshot of just a selection of implements that I use to whip these oily little sticks into submission. Sorry for the quality of the photo - if it is too difficult to read, let me know and I will try to post another.


#1. Old paintbrush - for applying odourless solvent/turps to create washes or to disolves mistakes!

#2. Candle - for heating up #3 - #6

#3. Home made heating tool, made from a child's building block and a screw-in hook (the type used for hanging up your pot-plants :D ) When heated over the candle, the black soot immediately wiped off with a thick rag, I can scrawl thick or thin swathes through heavily applied OP, to create interesting, almost calligraphic, textures.

#4. Teaspoon - heated over the candle, creates broader, flatter swathes, giving the melted OP a sheen, and 'setting' it so that as soon as it has cooled and hardened, another layer can be added.

#5. Palette knife - heated, wiped, and applied by pressing into the thick OP layers to created an oil paint effect. Also used for scraping back (either intentionally or ridding errors), or scratching lines into the OP to reveal underlayers of colour.

#6. Potters tool - I picked this up because I saw the possibilites of heating the ball tipped ends (hard to pick up in the photo - sorry), and it melts fine lines into the OP - great for neatening hairy, untidy edges or just for texture.

#7. Potters tool - another I picked up fairly cheaply, with very hard rubber ends which pushes the OP around really well. Great for blending large areas of colour, and pushing the OP into stubborn canvas holes.

#8. Colour Shaper - grey synthetic rubber tip, which is a harder than the ivory tips used in soft pastels, but not as hard as #7. The point allows for blending into tight corners, and smoothing out fine lines.

#9. Home made blender - made with an old paintbrush handle, a rubber band and a chunk of #10.

#10. Very hard eraser (in this case a Faber Castell) which is probably the cheapest option and does the job of all the other blenders. The top eraser has been carved up with a stanley knife, the chunks used to blend. The bottom eraser is the original, intact eraser, shivering in it's boots.... :D :evil:

#11. Domestic iron - no picture of this one as it should be familiar to everyone, and if it isn't then power to you!! I use a sheet of baking paper to cover the painting, iron it (not too hot). This sets the OP and gives it a texture, and sheen, that can be immediately worked over. Good for initial colour 'washes' or setting your underpainting. You can also manipulate the OP while it's still hot, scratching, scraping etc. I have also ironed leaves etc into the OP (under the baking paper of course) to get added texture.

I invite all you Op'ers out there to contribute your tools, so that we may all have a chance to explore this exciting medium and share our experiences.
I don't have any literature on OP's at all, so apart from WC, I'm pretty well flying blind.

If anyone has used the above tools in other ways, pertaining to art please, then don't hesitate to enlighten me and everyone else.



08-28-2004, 11:11 AM
CJ, This is great! thanks! :clap:
I'm only a few weeks into using OPs and this is very helpful.

I'm going to print this out and keep it with my supplies.
I particularly like the idea of using a form of heat to set the layer so I can put more on top.

As CJ asked, what other tools does everyone use?
Being so new, I can't add any helpful tips but I'm definitely soaking it all in. :)

08-28-2004, 11:39 AM

Sorry this isn't all neatly numbered but my photo editing program doesn't have text or insert and too early in the morning to be jumping to another program. Great idea, cj!
Ok, so we'll start at the top middle and go counter clockwise.

A jar of gesso which I use in a mixture of water and marble dust to prime the canvas you see...excellent base for OPs.

Oderless mineral spirits...I don't have great ventilation so I rarely use it but it can be used as a medium to thin the OPs for brush work and it can also nicely wipe out an area. I also use oil glazing mediums sometimes..forgot to add those.

Foam brushes for gessoing the canvas

Two acrylic brushes, one is for applying my varnish mediums and one is brushed directly on the OP and used to run a fine glaze of color over another color.

Two palette knives...don't use the plastic one much, but use the Bob Ross knife to alternately spread and scrape areas.

The next is my most used and favorite tool, a rubber tipped cuticle pusher...I can fill holes with this, I can push the OP to line edges or soften an edge or use it in circular movements to get a blended and yet broken color effect.

Next a hand rolled inkjet paper tortillon...good for fine lines and soft gradation blends

Emory board for cleaning torty

Ah, the most important tool...hate to give you the finger, but hey...couldn't do OPs without...i can spread the OPs around but mostly I use the finger for the fine blends...I can run it very lightly to keep the sheen moving in the direction I want, I can run colors lightly into each other for perfect transitions.

razor knife for keeping clean edges or sgraffito (scratching designs into the OP)

Prismacolor pencil for original sketch, sometimes for accenting a line.

Q tip cotton swab for dabbing soft blends

craft knife for scraping

the blob at the top is a kneadable eraser...on my homemade surface or art spectrum I can use it to clean up lines and sometimes to reduce the intensity of an area.

The two jars are acrylic mediums...matte gel and gloss heavy medium gel. I use these to build texture between layers and to act as a 'dry' barrier over a light color to save it as I add more dark colors and as a final protective coat which allows the gallery wrapped canvas to be hung out of a frame.

I'm including a pic of the piece I'm working on now as every single one of these tools were used.

Enigma....OP on canvas 24 x 30, not yet done!


08-28-2004, 11:53 AM
Okay Sue, I have to know - are your OPs always this organized and clean? They're so beautiful!!! I'll photograph my tools, but I may pass on the OPs.

08-28-2004, 12:05 PM
I don't use many tools really, but here's what I use constantly.


One in the bottom I sneaked from my mum :D Must have something to do with cuticles, I figure. Right side is used for settling down loose particles with its convex polished surface. Left side I have sharpened and it's very good for scraping, sgraffito thing, etc.
One of tortillions that I made is in the center.
You see half of pastel stick - I'm illustrating my recent idea to use masking tape when pastel is stripped of wrapper. MUCH less messy this way.
I use the brushes with turpentine, forgot to put them in, not a big deal I figure.
Bought kneadable eraser this week, never seen them before. Very funny thing. I don't know if it's of any use for OPs.

Sue, your pastels are yummy! :envy:

08-28-2004, 12:09 PM
Becky...it's hard to type when I'm laughing so hard! When I'm doing a landscape I have the whole table covered with filthy bits of OPs and it takes about 2 hours to clean them all at the end. When I'm working on this guy, I only have 10 pieces or so out, so they're easily cleanable but I do clean up at the end of a session (even if it's to make orderly piles for a many hued painting in progress) and I keep them organized according to color temperature and then earth tones when painting is done...my Senneliers and Caran d'Ache are in their original order in their original cases on a shelf...no room to keep them out too. When you only have a small work place it's just easier to keep things as organized as you can...you will notice though that i didn't show a picture of the rest of the place...I've found my art area to be much more organized for the most part lol!

08-28-2004, 12:14 PM
Alex...good idea on the tape! That kneadable eraser is really nice on art spectrum type surfaces, you just keep rolling the OP part into the center of the kneadable ball so it's self cleaning...kind of cool because you can make sharp little points with it and use it as a shaper!

(Promise if I ever win the lottery I'll buy everyone on the OP forum a full set of these Holbeins, well, you know...if you WANT them :D )

08-28-2004, 01:36 PM
I'm very new to digital photos, so I apologize for my numbers - I couldn't move them after I typed them in and didn't like the way they looked, so here goes:

#1 - Sennelier OPs, Grands, I think l have most of the others except flourescents.
#2 - Synthetic brush for underlaying on Wallis or other support which can handle turps.
#3 - Turpenoid - I use this for underpainting, after I lay down a base, usually with the Sennelier Grands.
#4 - John Elliott's book, Kenneth Leslie's is in the mail and of course WC!
#5 - Paper Towels for blending.
#6 - razor, palette knives and paint scraper for blending, scraping and smooshing special effects.
#7 - Sakura electric eraser and kneadable eraser - to be honest I mostly use the kneadable eraser to play with while I'm staring at my painting wondering what to do next! Electric erasers can be used for blending while the OPs are pretty wet and it will take the OPs off almost completely after a couple of days - don't use on Colorfix paper, though -unless you're careful. I'm not... :o
#8 - Stumps and tortillions - great for sharpening lines and blending
#9 - ColourShaper tools - (Dick Blick loves me!) I use these for blending, sharpening lines, etc - the big one comes in handy for smoothing big areas of color.
#10 - Walnut Hollow pencils - I use these for detail and initial drawing - I also got these from Dick Blick, but I understand you can buy them from hobby/craft stores, too.

I work a lot of hours as a DBA (only a computer person will know what that is!) so I order most of my stuff online. My favorite vendors are:

DickBlick.com - excellent service, open stock on Sennelier's, but only Holbein sets.
DakotaPastels.com - excellent service, open stock on Senneliers and Holbein
PearlPaint.com - very good service open stock on Senneliers, Holbeins and they have some hard to find Sennelier's, i.e older color selections, irridescents, and flourescents. They do have an extra handling charge if you order under $50, so be careful. They don't carry the Sennelier Grands either.

08-28-2004, 02:41 PM
Good bunch of stuff, Becky! I have an electric eraser I got for airbrushing and totally forget that it's usable with OPs. Also nice to know Pearl Paint carries the open stock of Holbein. (And I must get some of those color shapers one of these days.)

08-28-2004, 02:51 PM
Sue, after 28 years of no stuff, I've probably gone overboard, but hubby isn't complaining yet... I ordered some more irridescent Sennelier's and some Holbein's from your list in the Cloud forum from PearlPaint yesterday. I can't wait!!! Actually, I think I ordered most of the ones off your list and a couple of more... ;) I like the colourshapers - they're the firm ones. They're especially good with the Sennelier's, maybe Holbein's are more cooperative and I won't need them as much! I also have an Ott table light (excellent sale this summer at Dick Blick's) that I forgot to show. I was mostly painting at night in poor light and it really helped.

08-28-2004, 03:53 PM
oooh....one of those Ott lights! :envy: lol...I use northern light to paint by and there's very few things I can do once it gets dark so it's definately on my list! I got lucky getting all my current supplies but the money tree died and it takes so durn long for a new sappling to get producing :p I'm thinking the colorshapers are like my rubber cuticle pusher, that's firm and has a nice rounded slant edge...but it's wearing out on the marble gessoed canvases.

08-28-2004, 04:02 PM
The cuticle pusher would work the same and those are pretty easy to find. The colourshapers might wear out on the texture eventually. They are really only useful when the OP's are very soft. After they dry for a few days, it's back to the pallette knife or razor blades or scraping off and putting on more OP. We're getting outsourced at our company, so our money tree's going to take a beating pretty soon if I don't get busy and find another job! :eek:

08-28-2004, 05:38 PM
Sue: thanks for sharing your stuff. Your tools look well used :wink2:
The emery board is a great idea for cleaning the torties, and I like the addition of the finger there! :)

Alex: that bottom one almost look illegal! But I bet it's does a great job. The masking tape idea is brilliant - must try it.

Becky: great selection of gear there! You're right about the colour-shapers wearing down - though I went to the firmer grey tip and it's lasted a bit longer - but honestly, the FC hard eraser, which can be cut to any shape has worked to exactly the same effect for me, and is heaps cheaper.


08-28-2004, 05:44 PM
Oh dear.
Now look what's happened.
I've become a veteran.

I'm suddenly feeling very old - think I might crawl back into bed ..... :o


08-28-2004, 06:09 PM
Congratulations on your Veteranship!!!! :clap:
(now, now...pitty pat, :( it doesn't say OLD veteran! :p )

08-28-2004, 11:07 PM
This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing all this - but now I'm getting confuseder and confuseder.

CJ - why do you need to heat up OPs? BTW, you can borrow my Zimmer frame. I got it when I turned into a senior member. :p

Sue - when you're using the acrylic medium to save a light colour, do you mean you sgraffito / scrape down to it after you've applied other colours?

08-28-2004, 11:22 PM
what happens is the acrylic isolates it, so it's like dried paint that you can put a new layer on...if you don't do it thick and solid it's like a glaze effect :D hope that makes sense.
ha, what's a Zimmer frame...what we call a walker here?

08-29-2004, 01:44 AM
Oh dear.
Now look what I've done.
Gone and confused somebody.
Think I should just have stayed in bed today. :eek: :rolleyes:

Greenpearl: You don't need to heat OP's. It is just something I have chosen to do after reading discussions on it in other threads. I wanted to really stretch the capabilites of OP, I wanted it to do more than what I could achieve using the soft pastels. I really really wanted to explore the scuptural possibilities of OP's (must come from my need to push things around :evil: ). I wanted to get texture that I could touch. And heating does that.

Thanks for the offer on the Zimmer Frame - I'd really like one of those nifty scooters tho - just coz I'm a Veteran, doesn't mean I need to slow down right?


08-29-2004, 10:52 PM
Great thread, cj! But it makes me feel so darn boring! All I use is a tortillon (paper stump). But I'm happy with it. And when I find something I'm happy with, I tend to stick with it and not be too adventurous and try other things. Maybe not so great for my artwork, but great for my marriage, LOL!

Alex, that is one chunky op! I love the masking tape idea, brilliant. Maybe I will do that with all my naked Holbeins.

Sue, I am so impressed with how orderly you work. It is fascinating to me to hear how others do things.

My ops are in one of those wooden pastel boxes with drawers, just thrown in without regard to brand, color or temperature. When I'm working on a piece, I keep all the ones I'm using in a small tin box. I clean them only as I'm working, with a swipe on a washcloth. I suspect I don't get mine as dirty as others do, since I blend them mostly with a tortillon.

Of course, this haphazard method makes it hard sometimes to find the op I'm looking for. That's when you'll hear me yelling to the kids, "Who took my burnt sienna?"

And hey, cj, if you're old as a veteran, what does that make me as a minion? I shudder to think of it :p

08-30-2004, 12:28 AM
The two jars are acrylic mediums...matte gel and gloss heavy medium gel. I use these to build texture between layers and to act as a 'dry' barrier over a light color to save it as I add more dark colors and as a final protective coat which allows the gallery wrapped canvas to be hung out of a frame.
... what happens is the acrylic isolates it, so it's like dried paint that you can put a new layer on...if you don't do it thick and solid it's like a glaze effect

Okay, this sound really cool so I don't want to gloss over it (oops sorry for the pun :evil: )

Let me see if I understand this correctly: If I brush on a thin coat of either matt or gloss acrylic medium gel, it will give me a finished piece that does not need to hide under glass? Other than a preference of shine does it make a difference whether I use matt or gloss gel? How does this gel affect the look of the final piece?

Being able to work on canvas and not having to put glass over it could give OPs a similar feel/look as oil paints for the general public I would think...

08-30-2004, 12:58 AM
You've got it right. I'm using Liquitex acrylic gloss heavy gel medium for texture in my turtle piece right now in between layers and then I can skim over ridges for effect. Am also using that as a final coat on this one because I want the glossy look. Matte finish will make it look just the same as it does now. Let the OPs dry a little before the matte coat so it doesn't cloud at all. Meldy and Mo use the System 3 acrylic glazes, I haven't been able to order any yet. Now, we don't know the archival qualities of using this varnish yet. But I personally feel it won't do any differently than it would on an acrylic painting. As long as you don't add water to the medium it adheres to the oil pastel just fine. And it's a little flexible...not to touch, but that's the way acrylic is so it works with the ops. I put it on with a medium soft acrylic brush and brush in the same direction as the oil pastels more or less. Practice on an older piece you're not worried about. I use it on canvas with my gesso/marble primer. I've also matte glazed art spectrum and watercolor paper work, but you still have to frame paper so the canvas works best if it's a gallery wrap...I continue the piece around the sides...here's a link to the first time I tried it...I used the matte glaze over the zebras and left the top glossy acrylic texture. http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=185245
it's held up well and it's in a smoker's house and since it's in a hallway has been brushed against and knocked on the floor a couple times lol...cleaned with a soft damp cloth and looks as good as day one. me likes this finish! :D

08-30-2004, 07:35 AM

I will have to try this.

08-30-2004, 01:59 PM
This thread is a great idea! Some very good info here for a junior wanna be like me. There is always something to use that everyone knows about but me. I didn't even know there was such a thing as an electric eraser until a couple weeks ago. After all my years browsing in art supply stores you would think I would have seen one.

Being new to this medium I don't have any thing to add here. I did find the plastic erasers to be wonderful to blend with and was amazed that a kneaded eraser works on OPs. The color shapers I do have but think they are way overpriced and an equivalent can be cheaply made at home. Wish I had realized that before I bought a set of them!

Sue :eek: my how clean and orderly! And would you look at that set of pastels. :envy: :envy:
I just looked at your zebras and they are terrific! :clap: :clap: :clap: I love your composition. its just perfect.

08-30-2004, 04:52 PM
thanks Sherry, glad you're sticking around to learn more :)

08-30-2004, 08:29 PM
Thanks Sue, see, the thing is I have these pastels now and I can't just let them go to waste can I. Hee hee. However, after seeing your pastels I think to myself, no wonder i can't do anything with just my measly lil 25 cheepie colors. Well, makes a good excuse anyway. :D

11-02-2004, 12:59 AM
This is a thread that I found very helpful when I was starting in OPs.
I thought I'd bump it up so new visitors could see it.
If you think this is helpful, please rate this thread so it can be put in the archives/library. I think that is how it works.

11-02-2004, 11:10 AM
Thanks, Ann! Hope we'll see more fun stuff here now! :clap:

11-02-2004, 03:37 PM
Thanks for bumping this thread up, Ann--it will be very useful, I think. I rated it, so hopefully it'll be archived. :)

I'm going to collect "tools"-suprisingly, I have quite a few of these things lying around my house! :eek: hehe Then, I'm going to try a new op painting!! Yay!

Gone to collect and work now.....


11-06-2004, 11:18 AM
Jeepers!!! lol Thanks so very much for posting this thread!!!!! I've learned so much just reading and having a look!! Wow!! The tools that are used here are great. I wouldn't have thought to use some of them. I've always wanted color shapers. However, I find my eraser works just a well. But thought the idea of the clay molding tool an excellent idea. How about a stylis used to emboss? That would be coo I think. I don't use anything unique so I didn't post my tools because there's nothing new.

Thanks for the great thread!!

11-07-2004, 10:04 AM
Wow! all those tools! Im new in op, and have only my fingertips and cotton buds as my tools . hahaha and i thought i'm "unprofessional/un-artist" for availing of tools.
thanks a lot for this thread. its new lesson learn today.


11-07-2004, 11:06 AM
Wow! all those tools! Im new in op, and have only my fingertips and cotton buds as my tools . hahaha and i thought i'm "unprofessional/un-artist" for availing of tools.
thanks a lot for this thread. its new lesson learn today.

Welcome Lit! :wave:
Glad you found this thread helpful.
Come on over to the Oil Gusher thread to chat.
Or post something you are in the middle of working on in the Pastel and a Movie thread.
I look forward to seeing more of you around the Oil Pastel forum.

05-07-2006, 06:20 PM
What a great thread for a newby like me!! I'm just a recent op user. One tool I did not see is an old dental scaler. I got mine from my dentist. The scalers aparently get dull quicklyand he had some old ones he gave to me for clay work. They are very useful for scraping back tiny areas.

05-07-2006, 07:10 PM
Lindsay- thanks for reviving this thread-- I'd missed it completely before. Have to try using candles and heat soon!

05-09-2006, 01:51 AM
Woohoo...thank you for digging up this thread. Definitely useful for me. I've added it to my favorites.

Off to go rummaging for metal things to heat up. :D


05-09-2006, 07:53 AM
Ok all you tool freeks. I was rummaging around in the colored pencil site and someone talked about using terps to wash their color. Some one else chimmed in that turps smell bad (no suprise) and are bad to breath in and she used alchol to manipulate and smear around her cp. Well, last night I experimented on op and guess what!!!!!!!!! Rubbing alchol works for op too!

05-13-2006, 05:04 AM
Wow! I never though there are so many tools you can use with oil pastels. usually I use only my fingers.

05-13-2006, 08:08 AM
Julia, I just visited your web site and your work is so beautiful. I love your garden OPs. I can hardly believe you achieve such detail with your fingers!!

Pat Isaac
05-13-2006, 08:33 AM
I'm a finger person too, but occasionally use the paper tortillions. Especially for edges. It's worth trying different things to see what works for you.


01-29-2007, 09:20 AM
I thought I'd bring up this thread so that new members can see it. I also wanted to review the thread after using ops for more than a year to see if there was anything I could pick up on now. I love this thread!!!!

01-29-2007, 08:56 PM
Wow! This is a great thread that I hadn't spotted before - thanks for reviving it Lindsay. Excited to try some new tools!


02-01-2007, 08:46 PM
Hello everybody,
Interesting thread! Let me show my tools. I don't use them all very often, though (except for my fingers :) )...

Paper tortillons, comb teeth and... my fingers.:thumbsup:

02-26-2008, 08:29 AM
Ok all you tool freeks. I was rummaging around in the colored pencil site and someone talked about using terps to wash their color. Some one else chimmed in that turps smell bad (no suprise) and are bad to breath in and she used alchol to manipulate and smear around her cp. Well, last night I experimented on op and guess what!!!!!!!!! Rubbing alchol works for op too!

Wouldn't rubbing alcohol stink too and not be good to breath in for who knows how long while working on finishing an artwork? I know you can get odorless turp but I guess it still has "fumes" just odorless so you don't know you're breathing them in. Rubbing alcohol seems like it would be a much better option if the smell wouldnt be too bad to deal with and wouldnt be harmful to breathe in. I would definitely get into oil pastels if this is a good turp alternative! Actually I use to do oil pastel work in high school/college but I probably didn't even use them right because I never used turp or anything at all, just laid the color down, scraped some designs into the pastels sometimes but that was about it. They're fun to use though I think and great colors!

Pat Isaac
02-26-2008, 10:38 AM
It is not necessary to use a solvent with oil pastels. Many oil pastel artists just put the color down in varying ways. Take a look at the postings in the studio.


02-26-2008, 11:39 AM
Yeah I've been realizing that as I've looked at some of these posts. But I like the idea of being able to thin out the pastels and make it more paint-like. Maybe not for the whole artwork but in some areas I would like to be able to incorporate that method, but only if I can use something with alittle less harmful fumes than turp., I read a few posts about using rubbing alcohol and baby oil instead of turp....

03-07-2008, 06:20 PM
There are some extremely low odor turp substitutes made from mineral spirits, such as SansOdor. They are not nearly as bad as turp. Also, you might use a covered pallette cup, dip the brush in and pick the pastel up directly from the stick. Some people I have seen use the solvent on the brush after the pastel is applied to the canvas to blend. With some ventilation, some of the mineral spirit solvents are quite tolerable. While I have seen mixed reports on results, supposedly you can use just oil such as linseed oil as a solvent (some say it doen't work very well though).

Pat Isaac
03-07-2008, 06:31 PM
I have an odorless solvent that works like turpentine, but I'll have to wait until I go to my studio to find the name of it. It is not a turpenoid, almost has a citrus feel. I'll check. I use it to erase drawing or areas that I don't like.


07-16-2008, 12:46 PM
Thanks for all the new tips I got here. I'm fairly new to OP's and Pastels in general but the OP's I've work on came out OK, at least that's what I think.
I like the use of other materials not really intended for drawing used with the oil pastels, I'll try some soon.

I've tried OP on masonite/board and it came out pretty good. I used turpentine and I liked the effect but can I use it with plain paper? Or watercolor paper? What's best for it?

Pat Isaac
07-16-2008, 01:17 PM
Hi Eileena, welcome to the OP forum. I'm glad you found the thread helpful. I often use gessoed masonite and like it very much. You can use turps on paper, colorfix, Wallis, watercolor paper (140 lb coldpress and up). there may be other papers, but a coat of gesso would be helpful to prevent the turps and oil from bleeding through.
You should post some of your work in a thread for us to see.


07-16-2008, 10:12 PM
Thanks for the welcome.
I posted a while back an OP I did over 10 yrs ago.

I do have a pic of one of the OP on masonite I did, it can be found here:

Is the last one of my images, what do you think of it?

Now that I can gesso paper I will be able to do more OP for sure, although I really like the way OP on masonite looks.

Pat Isaac
07-17-2008, 08:37 AM
Very nice figure drawing eileena. I like the composition and the skin tones are very nice. You are a natural, so let's see more.


10-28-2008, 01:27 AM
I am new to this, I see several good Oil Pastels and have ordered the 48 Universal Colors by Sennelier. I ordered these based on comments in this forum and others outside. My question is simple, the VanGogh I looked at had a flat point, blunted, whereas the Sennelier were sort of pointed. If one use the blunt pastels do you sharpen them? Or use as is?

Pat Isaac
10-28-2008, 08:36 AM
I don't tend to sharpen my OPs but some artists do. So the answer I guess would be that it is up to you. Van Gogh is a harder pastel so it could be sharpened. I have at times shaved mine to a point with an exacto knife.