Drawing With Oil Pastels

Some fun ideas, tips and tricks for oil pastels for young artists!

In this guide, we’ll learn how to use oil pastels, which are a fun and vibrant colouring medium for slightly older kids who might have worked with crayons before. But oil pastels are very different from crayons; they are made of oil blended with wax, and so their texture is more soft and creamy and their colours can be blended easily. With practice and plenty of imagination, both children and adults can bring a beautiful creation to life with oil pastels!

Watch the video for a whole variety of creative oil pastel ideas you can try. Notice how the colours are effortlessly blended to create simple yet stunning landscapes, while darker colours are used to outline shapes in the foreground. Now that you have a visual of how they are used to create art, let’s go over the process step by step, with some useful tips to help you effortlessly make your own masterpieces with the oil pastels in your Kids Circle arts and crafts kits.


1. Colouring with your oil pastel

As we have established previously, oil pastels are very different from crayons and so must be held differently from crayons, else you might end up smudging the colours all over the paper and your hands. Imagine the oil pastel is a knife while cutting your food, or a key when unlocking a door, and hold it like so and run it across the paper like in the video.

When you colour, press the oil pastel firmly onto the paper and run it in short, slow strokes to fill in any gaps. This will ensure blending them together is a lot easier.

2. Not just paper

Oil pastels are so versatile and can be used on a variety of surfaces including paper, canvas, wood, and even glass - but for beginners, using paper is the best place to start, preferably good quality drawing paper that comes included with every Kids Circle arts and crafts kit. Start out with the simple landscapes shown in the video guide, then you can move on to sketching objects around the house or even scenes outside.

3. Blending time!

Now we get to the most fun part of oil pastel ideas and why they’re a beloved medium for artsy kids to work with. Blending colours is a lot easier with oil pastels than other tools such as crayons or colour pencils, but the first rule of blending still applies - some colours work better than others when blended, and the colour wheel is an easy way to understand which colours to blend.

As you can see from the video, the colours that are close to each other on the colour wheel work best when blended together; colours that are far apart not so much.

If you recall from the video, start with the darker shade of your scene first; as you move towards the end of that colour block, make your strokes lighter until it fades slightly so it gives you room for the next one. This way, we avoid creating a line between the two shades.

Once the colour blocks are filled in, start blending by going with the lighter shade first, and slowly work towards the darker shades. You can blend with your fingers, however if you want to avoid making too much mess you can also use a soft tissue or a cotton wipe. For blending smaller areas, like stars and small shapes, you can use a cotton bud or Q-tip.

You can also use white pastels to create a highlight on top of a light area, blending in the direction of your light source (e.g. the sun in the sky). Or you can even create shadows with a little bit of black, but be sure to add it at the end!

4. Making shapes and outlines

Now that you’ve got the hang of blending colours and creating scenic backdrops, you can add outlines around colours, or silhouettes of objects in the foreground, with a black pastel. Make sure you add these at the end, and that the edge of the pastel is nice and sharp to create thin lines like in the video. It’s good to practice making quick, sharp lines on a separate piece of paper before adding them to your main artwork. Keep turning the oil pastel around, so you always have a sharp edge to draw with.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to work with oil pastels, why not grab them from your Kids Circle arts and crafts kit and create your very own masterpieces? You can follow the oil pastel ideas we’ve shared here, or you can get inspired from the world around you! There’s no limit to creativity here in the Kids Circle art community.