Oil pastels don’t seem to be used nearly as much as other art mediums—they’re not even used as much as chalk/soft pastels. Yet they can deliver amazing results.
Even on the Internet, if you’re looking for information on oil pastels, there’s little about them. Surely, everyone needs to find his or her “happy medium.” For this particular drawing/painting of a carousel horse, based on an original photo, oil pastel was perfect.
First, the underpainting was done with Faber-Castell Gelatos. It probably would have been best to skip the background underpainting so that the softness of the oil pastels would simply create a more blurred look when blended. Still, the whole underpainting worked.
Drawing (or Painting) the Carousel Horse
Depending on what you prefer, oil pastels are either considered drawing or painting. We’ll just use both interchangeably here.
All of the oil pastel portions (almost the entire painting) were blended, either with a blending stump for smaller areas or a make-up wedge for larger areas (as a sidenote, try to use make-up wedges where the holes of the sponge are not as obvious, as these will last longer and are less likely to disintegrate as you go).
The decorations on the saddle, the “bar” areas of the saddle and a few other areas needing more precision were done with conté crayon, and for really small areas, a wax-based colored pencil.
One Major Con of Oil Pastels
The one major disadvantage of oil pastel is that it’s difficult to deal with mistakes. It seems that you either have to somehow work the mistake into the piece (e.g., creating a shadow) or hope that you can blend it out (doesn’t always work). You cannot paint over it; you cannot erase it.
Oil Pastels: A Beautiful Art Form
If you’re open, oil pastels are a lovely medium to try. Don’t let the fact that they’re not as commonly used thwart your efforts: They’re totally worth it!