Which Surfaces Can be Used For Oil Pastels? Learn to Become an Expert

Do you know about the surfaces that can be used for oil pastels? There is a large variety of surfaces that can be used for oil pastels depending upon your work. Many artists also use oil pastels on grocery bags to get perfect results. When we talk about the oil pastel surfaces, they are perfectly designed to work on wood, paper, glass, canvas, plastic, and anything on which the artists want to paint.


The performance of the oil pastels mainly depends upon its grade, surface, and the artist’s experience. Mostly the oil pastels work well for rock painting. The gritty and the sanded surfaces allow more layering as compared to other surfaces.

Different surfaces for oil pastels

Oil pastels can be used on different surfaces, depending upon your need. You can get the perfect results on a variety of surfaces. Let’s see the different surfaces for oil pastels.

1. Wood, metal, plastic, and glass

Wood can be the traditional surface for painters. Usually, the wood is gessoes before painting, but some sanded wood surfaces are also used without the gesso. The use of the color pastels on the wood statues is very common to get great effects. The main disadvantages are that it’s difficult to remove any unwanted section from the wood.

Glass is also an excellent surface to use for oil pastels.  The main advantage of the glass surface is that it’s easy to remove any unwanted section from the glass surface. Plastic is another surface that can be used for oil pastel painting. Make sure to try the durability of different surfaces before trying.

Metal is another good oil pastel surface with clear acrylic gesso. You can also use the primer to keep its original finish.

2. Sketchbooks and drawing paper

If you have a limited budget, it can be the very first surface to try. You can buy an inexpensive drawing pad or sketching book. The sketchbooks for painting can come in different styles depending upon their price. If you are looking for small work, a spiral bound sketchbook is recommended.

Drawing paper also has several teeth to hold the oil pastels. It is not as good sanded paper, but still, it’s an excellent surface to use for oil painting. You can choose among the different sizes of the sketchbooks and drawing papers depending upon your work and need. Both these surfaces are excellent choices for oil pastels if you are low on a budget.

3. Watercolor paper

Watercolor paper can also be used for oil pastels painting. This paper can be good with a primer or without the primer depending upon the paper quality. It can come in different styles and compositions; for example, you can easily choose among acid-free pulp and recycled pulp, etc. Rough watercolor papers are also available, which you can use for extensive work. Moreover, you can also choose among the cold press, hot pressed, and many other types. The cold-pressed paper has enough tooth to break the line effect while the hot-pressed is smooth and allows the fine inked details.

4. Canvas

Canvas is another good surface to use for oil pastels. It can come in various types depending upon their uses—most people like the stretched canvas for painting purposes. But when we talk about the oil painting, it’s better to use the primed roll canvas first, because the hard oil pastels can deform the canvas surface. The pressure of the direct sticks on the stretched canvas is not good. If you still want to work on stretched canvas, you can use the motherboard or cardboard behind the canvas to support it.

The primed canvas surface is very sturdy and stable. It’s a good surface for the oil pastels as compared to the stretched canvas surface. You can also buy the canvas pads for the oil pastels painting. The good one is the gessoes canvas surfaces, which are attached to the pads. Moreover, these are also inexpensive surfaces for oil pastels.

Some artists also use the Canva-paper to get the perfect results with the oil pastels. These papers are perfectly primed to get the oil pastels. You can quickly get all the sloppy effects which you want. Moreover, you can easily choose between grade and archival quality.

5. Glassine

It is not a surface for the oil pastels; it’s a waxy barrier sheet to lay on the finished oil pastel to prevent the painting from dust and smear. It’s a good sheet to use to avoid the next pages from any rough sketching lines. You can easily buy the sheets and rolls depending upon your budget.

6. Boards

There are different types of boards available that can be used for oil pastel painting. These boards include the mat board, foam board, backing board, and many other artboards. Sometimes the colors are not good enough, but the oil pastels boards give the perfect results with the oil pastels. These boards are solid and sturdy to handle the pressure of the oil pastels. Moreover, you can also seal the board with the primer. You can use the primer color to protect the colored surface.

Examples of these surfaces


From all the above discussion, we can conclude that different types of surfaces are available, which can be used for oil pastels. These surfaces include wood, metal, plastic, glass, canvas, board, and many other surfaces. All these surfaces have their benefits depending upon your need. As a beginner, you can go for the low-price surfaces to get some idea. Once you have the command on oil pastels, you can go for the high-quality surfaces for the professional results.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *