Blending and Mixing tips for Oil Pastels


When you want to work with a medium that does not require multiple art equipments like brushes, palettes and water, oil pastels are perfect. Oil pastels are inherently designed to have an oily texture across paper and each of these colours can be easily blended. Since these crayons are so easy to blend, artists and students use oil pastels on canvas quite often.

Here are some pointers to note while working with oil pastels.

Prepping oil pastels for blending:

Before starting to colour, decide what your main colour is going to be. This will be the overall tonality of your painting. Next, pick your mid-value colours. These oil pastels will be the secondary colours in your painting.

Highlights of the painting:

Once you have drawn an outline of what you want to colour, you will have a clearer idea of what you want to highlight in your painting. Usually lighter colours work best when it comes to highlighting and showing the reflection of light.

Darker tones:

When using dark tones in oil pastels, the trick is to colour with dark colours first and then blending them with lighter colours. To blend, hold the crayon in your hand and move it in circular motion across your paper. Begin blending from the darker colour and move gradually towards the lighter colour.


When you think you have practiced, practice more! Practice colouring using oil pastels to check how you can create an effect of fading in and out in your painting.

Experiment with applying pressure:

Make sure that you get an idea on how you can leverage the richness of oil pastels by applying pressure. Try different levels of pressure to see how this looks on paper. Once you practice this, you will be better equipped to colour in your final art project.

Blending of colours:

Take different combinations of oil pastels just to see how these combinations look on paper while blending them together.

Comparisons for shading:

When it comes to shading, blending plays a big role in getting good results. There is a right way to bring out the blended look in your painting.

For example, the image below shows shading done using blending. But the problem with this is that the image hardly shows the blending. The colours change abruptly. It only shows the darker colour more than the lighter shade, giving a very flat look. This looks very unrealistic.

Blending can help show the reflection of light or shadow, therein adding a very realistic touch to your painting. Compare the above image with the one given below. Notice the difference in the shading. The one given below shows blending done well – mainly because the transition from the dark colour to a lighter tone is gradual, allowing it to look realistic.

Creating texture:

You can create different textures in your painting with oil pastels by first colouring with a light colour and following this with a darker colour. Once this is done, you can scratch the top layer of the colour with the help of a palette knife or razor blade.

Working with oil pastels is fun and amazing art can be created, once you get a hang of it. To leverage the interesting quirks of oil pastels, it is important that you explore colouring with this medium and make sure you get used to using them.

Did you like our tips on how to use oil pastels? Do drop a comment to let us know!

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