View Full Version : Type of Paper (Support) for OP

06-28-2008, 03:44 PM

I've been playing around with oil pastel for several week. I have a set of Pentel and then I got four open stock ones of better brands to try. Could not find an OS of Holbein, so didn't try those. Of the ones I got, I liked the Cray-Pas and Neopastel both. The Sennelier one was SOOO different than the others. . . so soft. I've heard they are the best but have no idea how to use for details as its so soft.

Anyway, so I'm going to order a set of either the Specialist or the Neopastel to start out with but I also want to get some paper as right now I've been just using the basic Strathmore Pastel pad for oil pastels. What type of paper should I consider? I already have some Mi-Tientes and some Bristol but not sure if those are good for OP?


06-28-2008, 04:04 PM
Hi Rainy. I use bristol myself and love it, however there is not alot of tooth so you can't layer too deeply. Some people use Mit- tientes but rumor has it you have to use the reverse side or the paper texture will poke thru and create little evenly spaced holes all through your work. Other's are more experienced with different papers and will pop in with suggestions.

06-28-2008, 05:27 PM
Hi Rainy. I know you were asking more about the paper than the pastels, but even though I'm new to oil pastels also, I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. I have a set of 48 of the Neopastels and really enjoying using them, even though I recently added some Sennelier as well. The Neopastels blend really well, but you can also get good detail with them. I'm still playing around with paper. I had gotten a sampler pack from dakotapastels.com more for my soft pastels, but am now using it venturing into oil pastels. Also, a lot of people really like Art Spectrum Colorfix for oil pastels. I've only tried it once so far, but it seemed to go well. The one a lot of people (myself included) don't care for is Sennelier oil pastel card, oddly enough considering it's made for oil pastels! Have fun experimenting!


06-28-2008, 07:46 PM
Hi Rainy,
I have heard of people using all kinds of supports for op. My favorites are watercolor paper, and colorfix paper. I have also done some work on canvas which can work nicely too. Good luck ! Have fun experimenting!

06-28-2008, 08:37 PM
RainySea...You have gotten some good viewpoints from folks already! Personally, I try to caution against taking too seriously what other people say is the "best" brand of OP. IMHO, if you are concerned about doing work that will be lasting (archival), then make sure you use a brand that has artist grade pigments and good lightfast ratings. Other than that, I believe that all artist brands have their place, and you need to decide which one has the working properties that let you do what you want to accomplish!! Don't be swayed by the fact that someone else says X or Y is the best brand! In fact, I often used Craypas Specialist early because they are firm and drier, then switch to Erengi Art Aspirers or Neopastels (two of my personal favorites) and may use Holbeins and Senns for final touches since they are softer.

As you see from the previous comments, there are also many opinions on what support use. Strathmore and Mi Tientes are fine, but some people do not like them. If you are going to produce works for sale you might want a more substantive or heavier support. Colourfix (or the similar Wallis Sanded) Papers are essentially moderately heavy watercolor paper with a "gritty", sandpaper like primer screened onto the surface to give it a strong tooth to hold many layers of pastel. Other people routinely use regular varieties of watercolor paper although some suggest some sort of primer to prevent oil from moving into the paper over time. At the other end are various "hardboard" solutions, from simple gessoed art hardboard support to something like Ampersand's Pastelboard which is a hardboard support covered with a simiilar gritty sandpaper like surface,

There is no right or wrong here, only options that you can only decide on after trying various types and seeing what works best for YOU. Again, use artist grade materials if you can and anticipate selling your work or want to make sure it has archival quality.

I'm sure you will get other opinions as you browse around the forum. There is never a shortage of equally valid opinions on what materials to use. In the end you have to be the judge since it is your work and you must be happy with the result and quality!!


06-28-2008, 11:07 PM
Hi Rainy! You've already gotten some good advice here, with a range of possibilities. I'll echo Bill's comment by saying that everyone is different, and paper preferences vary widely. A lot depends on the type of painting you're doing. I'm one of the many who don't like Canson Mi Tientes - it seems very difficult to layer OP on it so it's frustrating to use, but there are others who absolutely love it. As Arlene mentioned, that Dakota Pastels sampler pack might be a good idea for you, as it contains a variety of papers so you could try them out to find out what feels best to you. Here's a link (scroll down): http://www.dakotapastels.com/index_paper.shtml

There's also the possibility of making one's own supports. I've used both acrylic pumice gel and Colorfix primer to make panels on a variety of surfaces. I like the Colorfix especially.

It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the possibilities! Since you already have some Canson and Bristol, why don't you try painting on those? I've found the "Vellum" surface Bristol seems to work best - the other one is just too smooth - so I hope that's what you have. Also, if you have a good art store nearby, you could always try purchasing just a single sheet of one or two of the papers/supports you've seen mentioned, and see what you think.

06-29-2008, 12:17 AM
You can also paint the Colorfix primer on the papers you already have and it makes a good surface for oil pastels. I love my NeoPastels and the Senns. For detail you can use colored pencils. (Walnut Hollow, or Lyra Rembrandt (72) are good for oil pastel detail). Color Shaper's (they come in sets) makes oil pastels easier to move around and tuck into corners, but any old piece of plastic from a bread wrapper or credit card works and pencil erasers work as well. Fingers and fingernails blend and move OP. Have fun.

06-29-2008, 12:25 PM
Paula made some good points about tools to work OP with. I might add that I find various sets of wood or metal tools that are made for working with clay sculture also often serve well for special scraping effects or to simply move around OP. Also, stylus sets with sharp to ball shaped ends used in many crafts are another tool option!


Pat Isaac
06-29-2008, 12:31 PM
Hi Rainy...I just moved your thread to the talk forum.
Lots of good advise here.


Pat Isaac
06-29-2008, 01:22 PM
I will also add that I am one of the ones who doesn't like Canson or Sennelier card. i have recently tried working on board. Either smooth clayboard with a couple of coats of Colorfix prime or gessoed masonite. I really like both surfaces and Wallis sanded paper is excellent. It all comes down to what works for you.