View Full Version : Art Media 101 - Oil Pastels - due May 15, 2009

02-16-2009, 01:28 AM
Oil Pastels

Introduction: Remember, the goal is to try something new; be brave; work out of your comfort zone! If you don't already have the medium you want to try, borrow some from a friend.. after all, these are small little cards; you won't be using much!

About oil pastels: what I've noticed is this: the cheap ones are harder, the expensive ones, softer. The hard ones work very well, even older, drier ones, but you won't be able to build up many layers; probably about 3. Then, you use the soft ones to top off, or highlight, build a little more color.

Also, these need to be made, then left out to dry a bit. So, wait till almost the due date to mail OR mail carefully. You can enclose your little envies, if you like; but you could lay them out in a row, put some waxed paper or tracing paper over them, then fold the shipping paper/note paper over that. I'll spray with fixative once they're here (Sennelier makes a great, non color changing spray. Pricey, but I bought some, so that's okay) and bag them up and send them off... It'll give them a little more drying time. It may be more care than you're used to, but hey, that's what learning new things is about! I recently learned how to use these little things. (I'd played a bit, but didn't like what came out; now I love the medium!) I'd like to spread that love around!

This will be a 3/3 or 6/6 swap

Unlimited players

Cards will be in JUST the stated medium. You may work in any theme you like; be relaxed.. it's all about the medium...

Each month, cards must be postmarked by the 15th. Returns will be mailed by the 30th of each month or earlier.

Please send a SASE or correct postage for U.S. players. International players will have postage picked up by me. PM me with your address (or include a label) so I can send your returns.

LATE CARDS WILL BE RETURNED, because of the quick returns. No extra card is necessary, though I'll take it if you insist, . I don't want the cards to be late tho, because you wanted to make me an extra! I have plenty of cards; I won't suffer.

Please make sure you write the Swap Name and Medium on the back of your cards along with your user name, for iTrader feedback.

Here are links for this month's medium:

for special interest:

1. Meran
2. Janet
3. [Amerasu]
4. Genxster
5. [AnneY]
6. Molossus
7. abi
8. Robin Ling
9. Livia!

02-16-2009, 11:56 AM
Ok, I have oil pastels. Plenty of time to practise, so please sign me up :)

02-16-2009, 03:13 PM
I have a pack, barely used except for collage backgrounds, lol. I'm not sure I'm proficient enough with the medium so let me play first and then I will be back.

02-16-2009, 05:42 PM
welcome Janet (and Sal..read one of the tutorials or just ask me a question.. I flubbed all mine, until that workshop)

02-16-2009, 07:32 PM
I have some Caran d'Ache and also Sennelier, I haven't used them for a while and only made one ATC 100% oil pastels.

02-17-2009, 12:36 AM
so, AnneY, is that a request to put your name on the list?? ;)

02-19-2009, 06:06 AM
I'd like to try this. Sign me up please.

02-19-2009, 06:15 AM
Mell! sure will dearie.. good to see you here. I was thinking of you all day today.. we should talk by phone tomorrow!

02-19-2009, 06:59 AM
so, AnneY, is that a request to put your name on the list?? ;)

I have to make the colored pencils ones before, but Im on the way!

02-19-2009, 07:59 AM
I'll put you on in brackets.. lol

02-23-2009, 06:04 PM
I've got my oil pastels all ready to go. Sign me up.

02-23-2009, 07:53 PM
yay! glad to see you here Sandra!

02-25-2009, 03:14 PM
How can I skip this one, I have wanted an excuse to get dirty again!

02-25-2009, 03:34 PM
OMG~ Abi's back!
I'll hurry and put you on the list... :D

02-27-2009, 06:32 PM
We still have plenty of room and plenty of time for new people to join our swap!
Remember, I give player gifts, ;)

02-27-2009, 06:53 PM
Can you use a fixative or matte spray on these? I notice you said to leave them out to dry and mail near the due date but I'm wondering if some sort of spray will do it?

What does abi do?

02-27-2009, 11:59 PM
I have had some complaints if I forget to spray them. I personally use a spray finish (when I remember), either Kamar Varnish or Gloss Medium both aerosol.

02-28-2009, 12:17 AM
I've been okay with the Prisma Finish spray, but have best results with the spray made by Sennelier.. which is pricey (but well worth it. I bought it at Art Media for 19.95; saw it at Columbia Art Supply for almost 30!)

My experience has been this: softer oil pastels like Senneliers stay moist like butter; harder ones like Pentel dry faster... when I do mine, I start with the harder ones and top with the softer ones... you'll only get about 3 layers anyway (abi is more experienced than I am; maybe she'll respond with her experience, HERE)

that's why I said do them now, wait a while, send them in late as you can; I can determine at that point if they're dry enough (I'll take them out of their pennysleeves to make sure)... and babysit them from there.. If they're 'fine', then I won't have to do a thing!
Yes, it's a bit much prob, but I don't mind.. the end results are very satisfying!

02-28-2009, 06:17 AM
I do mine almost opposite. I start with the soft layers. If you put white down as a base it can function as an eraser to dig back down to if you make mistakes. I use the soft pastels like crayola and build depth (I counted 35 layers the last time I did a card) I finish with the edge of slightly harder pastels (think the old ones that are a little dryed up), I usually break them in half to give myself a sharp edge to draw with. I think I have a step by step guide on how I do them in the ATC: How To section still.

02-28-2009, 06:35 AM
I'm hoping to jump in this laters....I need to get some skills with working SMALL with these.

02-28-2009, 01:59 PM
Thanks for the info you two. Very helpful. I'm a total oil pastel newb. I've had a box for a while and tried them but found them very difficult to use. I'm a pencil or brush person so there's a learning curve there. And like OY said, I need skills to work small, lol.

Keep me penciled in! :)

02-28-2009, 02:32 PM
geesh!!! these little buggers are almost as difficult as crayons. Mine are quite soft because they're new. I also want to try something other than landscapes. eeeeeeek!!!!!

02-28-2009, 04:52 PM
I've found that my Oil Pastel style is impressionistic; bits and blobs of color, with lines where necessary, but no real edges (except where color meets color). It's my easy way, lol.

02-28-2009, 04:55 PM
Janet and Sal;
I'm new too, and am very much in your same camp, Sal! I took a class; it was successful (I was prob lucky in that I understood, finally) and now it's much easier!

Abi's been doing it longest; even my teacher was new to them, but he did reg pastels for years.. so, my 'technique' may be a soft pastel technique.. experiment, of course! But you may find that what you think of as your 'style' will change!

and Experiment is what these little monthly swaps is all about!

03-02-2009, 06:23 PM
I have been practising and so far come up with these. Not sure what I will be sending in yet though.

03-03-2009, 02:56 AM
those look fine, Janet.. what have you been unhappy with?

03-03-2009, 04:56 AM
Oh Janet, I would be so pleased if I could get my to turn out so well. If you decide to not send in that red sunset, I would love to trade for it.

03-03-2009, 05:25 AM
Janet, you are getting much more detail than I!

Here is the one I've done so far that I'm happy with.
It's Cat Cat.

03-03-2009, 05:38 AM
I really like that! Great picture by the way. I like being able to see those strokes. I am taking notes here.

03-03-2009, 12:54 PM
Very nice Janet and OY!

I honestly can't believe how difficult I'm finding these things, lol. It's like being a newb artist all over again. I tried briefly last night and made a big blobby mess. It's embarrassing.

03-03-2009, 01:16 PM
OY that's great. It looks like a painting. How do you get the white to show on top ?

03-03-2009, 02:25 PM
I'm going to play with my oil pastels before I sign up. My previous attempts were pretty lame.

03-03-2009, 03:33 PM
Jeez guys, these all look really awesome. Janet I can't believe the detail you got.

03-03-2009, 04:20 PM
for me, the white stays on top, because it's so darn soft... I also (like abi) keep a piece of paper (not paper towel) near me to keep cleaning the pastels.. They pick up as much pigment as they lay down.. sometimes the extra pigment is nice (I like my brushes 'dirty' too) but when you want to just lay down a bit of color and pick up a white pastel and green goes down, well, that's just not playing nice! lol so I lightly wipe it clean. It becomes almost automatic....
I still find it easier to use textured paper, like the Colourfix... I don't know how abi does it on cardstock and bristol board...

03-04-2009, 12:48 AM
I found some more oil pastels today so I have some better colours now. Cleaned 'em all up and they are much easier to work with. There's conflicting advice about how to work, but I find light to dark works best for me. I am really enjoying playing with these now. If it hadn't been for this swap I never would have tried them.:)

03-04-2009, 01:21 AM
good! that's the idea..

You know, I've heard the whole light to dark or dark to light thing.. I work background to foreground for landscapes, UNLESS I do otherwise.. and ignore, completely, all the rules I've heard since I started drawing..

I get bored with one part so I move around..and I never am done with any one part of it, with pastels.. days later I'll see that something is just too GREEN or not GREEN enough.. lol and then add more....

the only rule I have is wipe it off if it's not leaving the right color... :D

Robin Ling
03-04-2009, 03:41 AM
I fear no medium (except watercolor). Sign me up!

03-04-2009, 04:24 AM
I'd like to tempt you with watercolor, Robin ;)
but I'll still gladly sign you up for this one!

03-12-2009, 06:19 PM
My Artists Mag came yesterday and they've started a new column: a different medium every month! Sounds like they had a similar idea :)
Anyway, this month is Oil Pastels!
There are some techniques discussed and tools shown too, if any of you are interested. It's the April issue and is prob on their site. The article is called Mediapedia (rather catchy, yes?)

03-12-2009, 09:08 PM
I'm off to read, but here is the link:


03-13-2009, 11:57 PM
Thanks Anne, for that.. :D
and Robin, got your cards in the mail today, Creamy and Delicious!

03-14-2009, 01:47 AM
some more, not sure which I am sending yet

03-14-2009, 05:31 AM
If I may Janet: have you tried layering them? Try one card with an underpainting of some kind, with cheaper pastels, then the softer on top, almost like adding icing, but with a light hand ;)
I hardly blend at all, which you'll see soon, once I upload the images. I might start that right now (am expecting James home from NY any minute now)

03-14-2009, 05:54 AM
okay, here they are: in the past, I've gotten nice requests (re: complaints lol) that I don't make my web versions 'large enough'.. so I did that, with these, especially since we're into the investigation part of the 'lesson'... :D

03-14-2009, 09:09 AM
Great card, I love the chicks!

03-14-2009, 11:23 AM
Hmmmm, I can see that I need more work on mine. I WILL be back :)

03-14-2009, 01:43 PM
Super chickies, Meran. They're too cute!

03-17-2009, 01:22 AM
I took Meran's advice and built up the layers on my cards. They all worked out, apart from the terrier. :( In my gallery.

03-25-2009, 08:13 PM
Janet, I'd still like to see that terrier :D

So, how is everyone doing on their oil pastel cards? any special problems you'd like to work thru with everyone's help? Or do you have great tips to pass on to all of us? :D

03-26-2009, 12:51 AM
hmmmm, ok, I'm not too proud to show it :)

03-26-2009, 05:56 AM
Janet, I see what you mean.. take some really soft oil pastels and plaster it on... really. Look at my chicks.. there's lots on there.. make them soft and feathery.
Once you have a thick coat, not solid, then you can scratch thru the pastels down to the lower area, and that will look like fur!

03-26-2009, 08:45 AM
Okay, this is my 1st attempt at attaching an image to post, so I'm just doing one in case it's like huge or something. If I don't frighten myself too badly, I'll post the rest of my entries.

03-27-2009, 04:56 AM
(she's been helped now folks! :D )

03-27-2009, 05:22 PM
wow!!! wonderful cards molossus, so glad you got them here :)

03-27-2009, 05:59 PM
Thank you. I had great fun with the oil pastels, but I don't think I'd want to use them for ATCs too often!

03-27-2009, 07:25 PM
how sweet those are!
and I'm gravitating towards using them the most, ;)
isn't that funny? they're faster, funner, and brighter!

03-27-2009, 09:50 PM
Wow, I amazed by how you get such detail with your oil pastels. The pig and panda are outstanding.

I'm really struggling with this medium. In fact, I don't think I've struggled more with anything else I've tried. But it's a good exercise.

03-27-2009, 09:54 PM
Oh, I finished three.

03-27-2009, 10:57 PM
I remember the daffodil. I like what you ended up with!
the pathway by the water looks much more interesting also.. and the mountain was a good addition to the set :D
nice color all around, composition looks fab, I think they're ready to dry!

03-28-2009, 07:35 PM
Mellanie, I cheated. You notice I chose big bold close-ups with fluffy fur? That means the detail consisted mostly of eyes and nose, then I just had to get the pattern of fur, and shading. I also had a mix of pastel brands. As Meran has mentioned, using hard and layering over with soft helps. If you only have one texture of pastel, it's much harder.

I'm impressed at what you've done with your landscapes. I've done oil pastels on a larger scale, but was too scared to even try at ATC size!

03-28-2009, 07:39 PM
Meran, I like using the oil pastels on a bigger scale, and I might even be interested in using them for more ATCs if I had more of the Sennelier (I stayed mostly with white, because I have a white, and lavender in that brand). But I don't like using fixative and you can't really avoid it with these.

They're harder work than my brush pens, too, and I'm lazy, so you know I'm going to go with easiest medium!

03-28-2009, 09:27 PM
I am still a novice in this medium, but I am willing to try. Sign me up

03-28-2009, 11:08 PM
I've added your name to the experimenters list, Livia. ;)

03-30-2009, 12:45 PM
A tip for anyone who is using the oil pastel on colored paper. Pitt brush pens will color over oil pastels (at least, the three brands I've used), and oil pastels will color over Pitt brush pen. If I had an area that I really hated, I colored over, resetting it to the color of the paper, and then reapplied the oil pastel. I'd recommend testing it on the paper and brand of pastel you are using, before trying it on an ongoing work, but it saved me a couple of times.

03-30-2009, 07:04 PM
Thanks for the tips. Why didn't I think of using colored paper? It never occurred to me to try painting over the pastels. Great idea.

03-30-2009, 08:11 PM
naw, now no other paint! Just oil pastels.. it's okay if it's to cover an error, but these monthly medium experiments are not mixed media please ;)

and yes, all mine, if you remember Mellanie, are on colored bases, not white.. and some of that base shows thru, which is nice!

03-30-2009, 09:57 PM
Yeah, you're right! I totally forgot. That could have spared me much angst if I had remembered. :idea: Oh well...

04-10-2009, 12:23 AM
last Sat, Molossus, Genxster, and Robin Ling all delivered their cards in person. What a treat!

04-10-2009, 12:29 AM
I've already started more of these.. too many are looking FAR too good! lol

how are the rest of you going on your cards?

Pamalama asked a question (by other posting): Could she coat the cards with clear acrylic medium or varnish? (because of the whole protection thing)

the answer Pam, is NO.... imagine lipstick. These are like that.. very oil based. How long does it take oil to 'evaporate' or dry? a long time, right? Imagine Crisco, mixed up well with some powdered pigment.. similar thing. Will take some time to dry, right? So, instead of waiting (tho I do), if I'm giving the card away immediately (before I consider it dry), I just cut a piece of tracing paper to the right size, put it over the gooey card, slip it into the envie, and Voila! Safe and not sticking to the envie!

OY, you can use the paper stumps to push some of the pigment around.. also paint brushes, as if they were oils.. it doesn't have to be totally primitive like I do it ;) With fingers, and sticks of pastel..

morning star
04-11-2009, 06:27 PM
Meran I love your fuzzy little chicks!

04-11-2009, 06:57 PM
yeah, me too.. :( I don't know if I want to let them go.... I may just make lots and lots of these so I can have one from each of you AND still keep one of my own since it's a fave..

04-19-2009, 12:16 AM
Just an update:
Since the new posting rules have changed, (not as flexible), the due date on this swap is NOT May 15th. That's the mailing date. The new date should be May 22nd.
So everyone has just under a month to get these done and mailed (I have NOT had anyone's mailings take more than 6 days to get here, so I'm going by that experience)

I hope everyone is doing well on their cards. I'm making more, myself. I may be arranging which of my cards will be in the swap. I'm getting warm feelings about some of them, ;) I should have 6 to trade out tho...

So, get those cards going! This is one awesome medium, I assure you.. a little practice works well. And you can always look at the first page where I have some tutorial links handy. :D

04-25-2009, 06:24 AM
Janet's cards came in today..
I keep making some and holding them back... I haven't scanned them in yet. But I know that some of them will be in October's show, so they won't go to this swap, sorry.
I'm having a blast with them.. I've generated at least 10 cards so far.
Any of you still working in this medium?
I think Genxster is, a little ;)

04-25-2009, 05:54 PM
I imagine I'll work some more with these in the future, but I'll go larger if I do. Probably about 5x7 or 8x10. That's what I've done in the past.

On the other hand, I'm nothing but inconsistent. If I see something that I think is begging to be done in oil pastel on an ATC, then I'll do it. I surprise myself that way sometimes.

04-25-2009, 08:00 PM
I've got a larger one in my gallery. I did it on oil colour paper witch has a weave in it. Now I have a large blister on my 'smudging' finger!!!!

05-07-2009, 02:41 AM
Remember everybody, the deadline is coming up but don't worry.. as long as it's postmarked the 15th, I have plenty of time to sort!

How are all your cards coming? We've had a recent drop out because of supplies, but like I said, no worries on time..

05-12-2009, 12:29 AM
We have all the way to Saturday before you need to mail these beauties.. this is just a reminder.. :D

05-15-2009, 02:47 AM
I'm sending mine in the morning. Sorry for the delay, I have been moving and life is nuts

05-15-2009, 06:23 AM
Abi, call me when it's convenient for you and I'll call you right back.
Can't wait to see your cards!

05-20-2009, 11:38 PM
All the cards are in that are going to be in, so I'll be sorting these soon and sending them out!

05-21-2009, 11:04 PM
these have hit the mailbox today, which means a tomorrow maildate.. I made enough of mine to trade with each of you! I hope you all enjoy your returns. This was a challenging medium, for sure, but a very rewarding one too!

05-21-2009, 11:23 PM
You are right it was definitely a challenge. It moved me out of my comfort zone. I'm excited to get the returns. Thanks for hosting! :D

05-23-2009, 11:10 PM
Received my returns today. Great cards! Thanks to:

Janet for the lovely sunset
molossus for the sweet piglet
Meran for the rich Corbet Canyon card

Thanks for hosting Meran and for the player gift too. Awesome swap. :jiggy:

05-25-2009, 12:22 AM
I received my cards yesterday. Thank you Mellanie, Robin, Meran, Janet and Abi. I've left rep for everyone. I received two of your cards Mellanie, so I'll have to come back and leave you another rep later. Wish you didn't have to wait!

05-27-2009, 12:49 PM
My cards arrived today. Thanks to Molossus, Meran and Robin Ling. Reps for all!!!
Thanks to Meran for another adventure into a medium I otherwise would never have tried. :)