How to use Oil Pastels

Drawing in Oil Pastels is awesome!  When drawing with oil pastels, you get many of the benefits of both painting in oil as well as drawing.  You get to experience mixing and use of colors, like you would with painting, but you also don’t have to put all your drawing skills to the side in favor of a brush, mediums, and the extra time it takes to get into an oil painting.  Just pick up a stick of your oil pastels and start drawing with them!

I’m writing this blog post because I am seeing a growing number of people hitting my blog from the search phrase “How to use oil pastels”.  I have some experience with these, which you can check out some examples of my work on this site.  One of which is this one:

Christmas Ornaments (artwork in Oil Pastels)
An Oil Pastel Drawing, 8×10 © Eric D. Greene

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  • Рисунки пастелью

Conte Crayon – Self Portrait

Self portrait drawing in Conte Crayon
Self portrait in Conte Crayon

This is a Conte Crayon drawing I did for an assignment in Drawing 2 class last semester.  I felt the piece came out really well, with the chiaroscuro contrasting darks and lights.  Conte Crayons are pretty awesome to work with as far as drawing mediums go.  They can be messy, with a lot of dust accumulation underneath the canvas.

The assignment was to draw a self portrait using a medium of our choice.  I felt Conte Crayon would make for decent portrait work and in the end I’m glad I went with it.

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For paper, I used brown Canson Mi-Teintes drawing paper which I picked up at Jerry’s Artarama.   The piece took roughly 8-10 hours to complete.  I had a lot of fun working on this, particularly getting the reflection of the camera in the sunglasses!

If you’re interested, you can find the reference photo on this site’s About Page.


Conte Crayons are basically hard pastels that are made with charcoal. The sticks are about a quarter-inch square wide, and 3 inches long. Being charcoal based they can get all over the place, so set up some newspapers or covering before working with them.

The set I used for this portrat was Conte’s Portrait set of 12:

Conte Crayon Set
Conte Portrait Crayons, 12 Pack

Conte Portrait Crayons, 12 Pack

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