The 8 Best Oil Pastels For Artists

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This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in January of 2019. If you're the type of artist who enjoys creating works that utilize the full spectrum of colors, a quality oil pastel set will likely serve you well. These highly pigmented, waxy sticks glide smoothly across many media and are a breeze to blend and smudge. Plus, they come in collections of different sizes, so no matter your requirements, you'll be able to find the perfect set here. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Sennelier Luxury

2. Caran D'ache Neopastel

3. Van Gogh Set

Editor's Notes

September 30, 2020:

Oil paints are ideal for artists who wish to create works with much depth and intense, vibrant colors. If you're looking for a versatile and more portable alternative to liquid paints, though, these oil pastels fit the bill nicely. Water-soluble options, like the Cretacolor Aquastic, are well suited for achieving dramatic, textured effects on media like canvas and wood. Some, like the Erengi ArtAspirer, are available in round wrapped sticks, whereas others, like the newly added Sakura ESP50 feature a square shape that makes them comfortable to hold and allows for fine detailing. This large 50-piece set helps to round out our list, as it comes with a wide variety of colors and can be used with watercolor or acrylic paints, with an extender stick to help you smooth out layers once you’ve applied them. Note that while some users commend its blending abilities, there are others who say they’ve had better luck with other brands when it comes to blending. We also added in the Van Gogh Set, which is formulated with a combination of mineral oils and wax binders, so you’ll get a smooth application every time without any dust. They’re great for anyone who prefers working with intense color, and apply nicely on anything from canvas and cardstock to wood and earthenware. When it comes to their quality and price per stick, they can be hard to beat.

We still feel the Sennelier Luxury deserves a prominent spot on our list, thanks to its high-quality pigments, resistance to fading and cracking, wide color selection that includes more than a dozen blues, and a wooden storage box that closes securely. These were created back in 1949 by Sennelier for renowned artist Pablo Picasso, who sought a versatile medium he could use on things like wood, metal, and canvas. It’s also a brand that’s been chosen by iconic Impressionists and Post-Impressionists like Cézanne, Gauguin, and Monet. For another set that glides on smoothly and performs well whether you’re creating intense color blocks or delicately shading, look to the Caran D'ache Neopastel. They’re sold in a set of 24 vibrant colors, including a white, two yellows, two reds, and several blues.

February 08, 2019:

Selected options that come in a range of sizes to accommodate artists with distinct goals. The sets that have more beige tones are intended to satisfy portrait-oriented users, while those with plenty of bright greens and primary shades should please individuals who like to recreate lush landscapes on their canvas. Also made sure to list only products that apply evenly and that do not have a tendency to chip under pressure.

Special Honors

Blick Artists’ Oil Colors When you want oil colors in paint form, look to this set that includes eight tubes with colors like Quinacridone Magenta, Burnt Sienna, Lemon Yellow, Viridian, French Ultramarine Blue, and more. It’s formulated with a combination of hand-ground pigments and pure, non-yellowing safflower oil for a dense, buttery feel and a silky-smooth finish. They provide a good value for artists of all skill levels, especially the single-pigment colors.

4. Holbein U686

5. Erengi ArtAspirer

6. Cretacolor Aquastic

8. Sakura ESP50

Karen Bennett
Last updated by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.

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