View Full Version : Question about quality/brands

04-20-2008, 11:57 PM
I'm currently working with cray-pas expressionist and holbein student oil pastels. I know I need to upgrade, but for the time being, its all I can afford. I'm enjoying OP's much more than I thought I would and would like to start working with better materials asap.

I have my eyes on the artist grade holbeins, and will buy them as soon as I have the money, but had a question about oil pastel pencils. Any specific brand recommendations? I don't want to be stuck with student grade over and over again!

Pat Isaac
04-21-2008, 07:46 AM
I am moving this over to the talk forum so will will get better feedback. The artist grade Holbeins are wonderful in my opinion. I use them a lot. Many colors and hues and have a rich softness to them. I use Walnut Hollow oil pencils, which can be found in craft stores such as Michaels in the wood section. Dick Blick also sells them. You can also use any of the polychromo colored pencils.
Glad you are liking the OPs.


04-21-2008, 11:44 AM
I think Pat has offered some good advice. The only thing I might add is that before settling on Holbein, you might consider purchasing one of the Dakota Pastels oil pastel samplers: http://www.dakotapastels.com/index_colorcharts.shtml

The sampler, available in blue, bright, earth, green or red, contains two OPs each from Caran d'Ache Neocolor I & Neopastel, Holbein, Sakura Specialist and Sennelier and also a Sennelier Grand Oil Pastel. It costs about $20, and is a great way to be able to try out all the different brands, although it's certainly also possible to purchase a single stick of each. All the brands are a little different, especially in their softeness and the colors that they offer, so you might find you prefer one of the others, although as Pat notes, Holbeins really are an excellent OP.

04-21-2008, 02:15 PM
Examples of oil-based colored pencils are Walnut Hollow (available at Michael's in the woodworking section and a good deal when you use their 40% coupons that usually appear every Sunday in the newspaper), Lyra Polycolors (I saw these at Hobby Lobby last week, I think they have coupons too but they don't appear in the paper as consistently), and Faber-Castell Polychromos (I've only seen these in art stores). It's my understanding you can use wax-based CP's, like Prismacolors, with OP's too.

Pat Isaac
04-21-2008, 03:54 PM
You are right, Bob. I used Prismacolors before I found the oil pencils.


04-21-2008, 10:49 PM
Thanks, Bob! Sheesh...I never knew that Lyras and Polychromos were oil-based!

Do they go on over Senns, perhaps??? (I'm currently in a snit because of the problems I'm having with doing some too-small lettering, so I'd look at it as just short of a miracle if I found that they did. I should have purchased some Walnut Hollows a long time ago, although I understand that even they aren't so successful when applied over sometimes-too-soft Senns.)

04-22-2008, 03:03 AM
Hi Annie. Still working on your neon sign lettering, perchance? :) I've read that CP's can be added lightly on top of OP's, but in my limited beginner's experience they mostly incise it instead (I use Senns too). I've tried both Prismacolors and WH and haven't noticed much difference in that regard. WH's stay sharper longer, though--I gather that's generally true of oil-based pencils.

Pat Isaac
04-22-2008, 07:09 AM
That is true of oil based pencils. I do have trouble if I want to put something small on top of the OPs as opposed to beside them. They tend to incise the OPs. You might try Yusuke's method and put the lettering color underneath and incise into it.


04-22-2008, 11:02 AM
I absolutey love my Holbeins, I find they feel closest to dry pastel to me and they're very consistent in terms of softness and opacity -- they all seem pretty opaque to me. Sennelier has some amazing colors, some really nice transparent ones. Annie's suggestion of the sampler at Dakota is a really good one.

I've had pretty good luck with Derwent ColourSoft pencils, which lay down a bit softer than Prismacolor or Lyra CPs. They still don't go over a juicy layer of Sennelier or Holbein, though I have had some success using the dark ones over light applications of Holbein (light CP over dark OP is another story).

Wouldn't it be nice if they had Sennelier or Holbein pencils? Though how would you sharpen them?


Art by Anima
04-22-2008, 04:29 PM
Lisa, I would love a Holbein or Sennelier pencil myself. Or really any brand that could be used on top of oil pastel.

Phil Coleman
05-17-2008, 06:09 PM
Sorry for asking a question here, perhaps it may have some relevance to what was asked but how do you find the caran d'arch oil pastels (not the wax pastels) to work with and are they better suited to the initial layer since i read that sennelier tends to be very soft. I am dying to give these oil pastels a go! Firstly i bought some wax pastels, the caran d'arche by mistake but i have found these to be great when used in conjunction with soft pastels and then i ordered some off Ebay, they was describes as Rowney's oil pastels, well they wasn't they was soft pastels! So i am presently in same same situation as before.

Pat Isaac
05-17-2008, 06:32 PM
Caran D'ache neopastels are a professional brand of oil pastels. These oil pastels are harder than Senneliers, but very good and have a nice range of colors. Many OP artists find that putting down the layer of hard ones first works well for them. It all depends on what brand works for you and your style. Senneliers are very soft and my favorite brand.


Phil Coleman
05-17-2008, 06:56 PM
Thanks Pat, I am hoping to purchase some senneliers to complement these, after using soft pastels I can appreciate the various qualities that each brand offers.