View Full Version : Help!

06-29-2008, 03:29 PM
I'm so in awe of all of the beautiful oil pastel work in this forum. My husband bought me a large set of Sennelier oil pastels a couple of years ago for Christmas and I've had absolutely no success with them. I'm a hobbyist with colored pencil and I just couldn't seem to get used to the oil pastels. Felt like I was drawing with lipsticks (don't mean to be blasphemous). Anyway, I'd love to give them another go. They've just been sitting in the pretty box they came in and living under my bed. Any suggestions on getting started, links in this site and others that I could look to for techniques? I remember not finding the resources that I tried particularly helpful (I attribute this to my ownshortcomings). One of these was the book -- can't remember the exact title --- something like 'Oil Pastel for the Serious Beginner'. This just didn't help me at all. I know I was just doing something(s) majorly wrong and probably missing something(s). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

06-30-2008, 09:06 AM
I'm new at OP. . . I got a few books on them at the library and didn't find any of them very helpful to me either. There are some neat WIP and tutorials on this board (one by Pat is great). For me personally as a beginner, the Sennelier were hard as they are so soft that I found the details are hard to achieve with them. Lipstick is a good way to put how they feel to me, too. Probably with practice they are great, as I've read they are the best brand. But I started out practice with very cheap Pentels and am now experimenting with the artist brands. I like the Neopastels and the CrayPas the best of what I've tried. I'm sure others who have been involved in OP a while will have better advice. But one thought is maybe to pick up a few other brands from open stock and see if you feel more control with one of them? Just a thought. . . as I said, I'm really new to this and so others may have MUCH wiser input.

Pat Isaac
06-30-2008, 02:41 PM
Hi Samseb and welcome to the OP forum.:wave: I moved your thread over here where it will get much more attention.
There is a great thread in our studio forum called getting started in oil pastels, tools and materials. Here is a link : http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=439023
Dakota pastels puts out a sampler pack of the 4 top professional brands of OPs. This way you can decide what you like. Some brands are harder that others. Sennelier is the softest and then down from there. Holbein, Caran D'ache, Cray-Pas Specialists and a brand called Erengi is now on the market. Many have found these to be very good also. I have not tried them yet.
More questions??? just ask.


Shirl Parker
06-30-2008, 03:54 PM
I recommend getting a $5 box of pentels and starting your drawing with them. You will also need stumps, best described by this link to Dick Blick (http://www.dickblick.com/zz229/43/) which you can get at places like Michaels and Hobby Lobby also. Push the pastel around with these, and get a handle on manipulating the pastel, blending and scraping. The Color Shapers are good too, but more expensive. You can use your Sennelier's on top of the pentels, after you get a base down.

06-30-2008, 04:08 PM
Samseb..Welcome to the OP forum:wave: . I see you have already gotten some great advice and the link Pat suggested in a marvelous place to start. Afterwards, feel free to ask whaterver questions you may have. You might want to check out the OP Library thread for some older demonstration threads going through the process of producing and OP painting. There are lots of beginners around (like me) that are still learning the ropes, so I think you will find lots of helpful folks that have gone through the same problems you are encountering.

Personally, in less than 5 months I have learned more and done better work than after about 8 years of reading books. The book you mentioned is by John Elliott, and though he does wonderful work, I didn't find that it was terribly helpful to me either. Unfortunately, there simply are not any really good books in print right now that deal extensively with OP techniques, so this is one of the best sources of information.

Glad to have you and hope to see some of you work when you get a chance.

:music: :heart: :heart: :music:

06-30-2008, 07:50 PM
Hi samseb and welcome to the OP Forum! :wave:

I work primarily with Senneliers, and I have to admit they're quite difficult for establishing any detail with. It can be done, but you have to really work at it. They just take a while to get used to. My advice: keep painting to get a feel for how they work.

Shirley's recommendation for getting another, less expensive brand and using it to do an underpainting first is a good one, although personally, I would go with a less-hard brand than Pentel. Maybe Mungyo or the Erengis would be good, as they go down easier than Pentels do. Some people use OP pencils for final details. But even if you don't want to do any of that, you can achieve some wonderful, more painterly effects with the Senneliers. They're especially good for landscapes, and the color range is marvelous. What sort of subjects do you want to paint?

A lot also depends on the type of paper you use. On Canson Mi Tientes, for instance, my Senneliers won't blend very well, even though they're the softest OP available! A better paper is often needed for success, and you'll be amazed at how differently your OPs handle on different papers.

I hope this helps. Let us know what you try and how it works out for you.

07-01-2008, 05:35 PM
Thank you all so much for taking the time to share the extremely helpful advice and resources!! You've given me some great ideas and I'm motivated to do some 'homework' and try oil pastels again.

I've been mainly a 'lurker' on this site, but the few times that I've posted I've always been so pleasantly suprised by how generous people are with their help. Maybe at some point I'll be brave and post the results of some 'oil pastel experiments'! Thanks again!! :wave:

Pat Isaac
07-01-2008, 05:43 PM
You are entirely welcome. Absolutely post some of your experiments. We are here to help and encourage.


07-01-2008, 06:10 PM

Take it from a fellow lurker that finally tossed caution to the wind a mere 5 months ago! This is the greatest place you will find on the web and the people will become "family" in no time at all.

I have made more progress in the 5 months I have been interracting here than in 8 years of books and study.

There are lots of beginners. If you aren't making mistakes then you probably aren't painting. Even skilled artists like Pat ask advice.

The important thing is if you enjoy it, have fun with it. And we try to have fun doing art around here!