Oil pastels are one of the best art mediums for beginners, as they are essentially half drawing and half painting, which helps give you a lot more control over the art you’re creating, and they are ideal for learning to improve while achieving great results. In fact, oil pastels are also used at expert and professional levels, making them perfect for all!
Of course, talent and experience also come into play, but having high-quality oil pastels can really help. What can also help, is having the best possible paper.
In truth, without the appropriate paper on which to use your oil pastels, the results can be ruined. Bad quality paper will rip and tear too easily, won’t hold the color and paint as well, and it might even cause the color to bleed through.
Basically, unsuitable paper or low-quality paper for oil pastels will damage the final result or make it look worse. This is why it’s so important to buy the right paper for your oil pastels.
There are plenty of options available in today’s market, so you can easily find plenty of suitable paper to use with your oil pastels. The problem is, that with so many options it can be tricky to determine which paper is the right type for you and whether it is truly as high-quality as advertised.
It is often tempting to simply go for the cheapest option, but when it comes to art, it’s worth investing a little more into the materials in order to preserve and ensure that all of your effort and time creating isn’t wasted or damaged.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our top five picks for the overall best paper for oil pastels, to ensure you have some reliable options to choose from!
In a hurry?
If you’re feeling a rush of inspiration and you can’t wait to get started on creating with your oil pastels, you’re going to need some high-quality paper to use as a canvas.
If you’re in a hurry to get the best possible paper, we recommend you check out our number one top choice: the Strathmore Store 400 Series Pastel Pad.
The Strathmore Store 400 Series Pastel Pad has made it to the top of our list for many reasons, one of them being the huge number of positive reviews and ratings that indicate its popularity and reliability amongst customers.
It comes in a pad of 24 sheets, measuring 12-inches x 9-inches. However, other sizes and quantity options are also available, allowing you to choose whatever works best for you.
This paper is ideal for your oil pastels, as it has a textured finish to better grab the pigments, and subtle colors to better enhance your artwork. It will also provide a high-quality professional-looking finish so you can showcase your art to others!
OUR TOP PICK
The Strathmore Store 400 Series Pastel Pad is an excellent product choice that has made it to the top of our list thanks to the huge number of positive reviews and ratings by the many satisfied customers that can attest to its high-quality.
Each pad comes with 24 sheets, glue-bound and measuring 9-inches x 12-inches, with 80lbs of weight. However, the Strathmore Store offers this product in different sizes and quantities, so you can choose whichever is best for your personal needs and preferences.
This paper features a textured finish that is ideal for grabbing the pigment, as well as helping the colors blend better.
The paper also features subtle colors that can help enhance your own artwork, giving it a more professional finish and highlighting your work so that it looks its best.
The paper is also suitable for soft and hard pastel, and it is ideal for showcasing your final artwork, thanks to the high-quality it offers.
It has a flip-over cover, to quickly get painting, and it has a heavy chipboard backing to ensure you have a good surface to paint on, keeping the paper well-secured and smooth.
Each pad comes with its own assortment of subtle colors, so once again, you can choose whichever suits you best.
Overall, this paper is ideal for using your oil pastels, and it will provide you with a professional-looking finish to proudly showcase your artwork.
- Highly recommended and popular product
- Pad of 24 sheets measuring 9x12 inches - available in other sizes and quantities
- Textured finish - ideal for grabbing the pigment
- Subtle colors to enhance your own artwork - different color combinations available
- Flip-over cover and heavy chipboard backing
- Professional finish for showcasing your artwork
- If used with paint or multiple layers of oil pastels, the paper curls a little when drying
The Faber-Castell Store Black Paper Sketch Pad is another excellent product option and a close second on our list of top picks.
Faber-Castell is an incredibly reliable and well-known brand when it comes to art supplies, and it has been manufacturing premium quality products since 1761, so they are more than time tested and proven as a customer favorite!
This black paper sketch pad comes with 25 sheets of acid-free paper, measuring 12-inches x 9-inches. The paper is made from 50% post-consumer recycled materials, so it’s also a great option for being more environmentally-friendly, which is always a great bonus!
The paper is also heavy-weight and created in a rich black color, meaning it works great with oil pastels, as well as with metallic pencils, gel pens, gel, and others.
It is ideal for all ages and for all levels of skill, used by beginners and professionals alike. And if you’re prone to using bright colors, they will look extra vibrant thanks to the contrast with the black paper.
Smooth, fine-grained, and high-quality, this paper will allow you to develop your artwork with ease!
- Well-known and reliable brand - producing premium quality products since 1761
- Sketch pad of 25 sheets measuring 12x9 inches - acid-free paper
- Paper is 50% made from post-consumer recycled materials - environmentally-friendly
- Heavy-weight and created in a rich black color
- Smooth, fine-grained, and high-quality
- Not as high-quality a finish as advertised
Another great product option, that is hugely popular amongst customers looking for the best paper for oil pastels, is the U.S. Art Supply Premium Pastel Paper Pad.
The product comes as a pack of two pads, and each pad contains 16 sheets measuring 12-inches x 9-inches, and weighing 80lbs. In each pad, there are 4 sheets each of 4 different natural color tones, which is ideal as a canvas for your artwork.
The paper is acid-free, with a neutral pH, and perfect for grabbing the pigments of colors and enhancing them, for a professional and vibrant finish.
This paper is also ideal for graphite pencil, charcoal, hard or soft pastel, and others.
The colors of this paper are ideal as a background for artwork, and the thickness of the paper also allows for the layering of your oil pastels perfectly well.
Overall, it’s especially recommended for beginners that are learning to develop their art style, and it is highly favored amongst more advanced customers thanks to the high-quality and desirable colors.
- Very popular product
- Pack of 2 pads - 16 sheets each measuring 12x9 inches
- 4 different natural color tones (4 sheets of each) for a desirable background
- The paper is acid-free, with a natural pH, and thick enough for layering
- Ideal for oil pastels and other art mediums
- The texture of the paper is a little too smooth
If you’re looking for paper that will 100% ensure your oil pastels don’t bleed through, then a great product option that might be just what you’re looking for is the Arches Watercolor Block of Hot Press Paper.
This paper is made for professional grade watercolor of the highest quality, and it also works great for oil pastels that are going to be layered quite a lot.
It comes as a block of 20 sheets, bound on all four sides, measuring 9-inches x 12-inches each. This paper weighs 140lbs and it is made from 100% cotton, with cylinder mould made with natural gelatin sizing.
The textured surface is flawless and smooth, able to grab the color pigments for a vibrant and professional finish. The paper is also acid-free and buffered.
The Arches brand is quite a popular brand amongst more advanced artists, and this product has been one of the top sellers for many years, thanks to its high-quality and the amazing finish it provides.
It might not be as suited to beginners, as you have to know how to slice the paper from the block to use it, and therefore requires a bit of practice, but it’s great for developing and improving your capabilities with painting!
- The best paper for wet and oily paints - great for oil pastels
- Block of 20 sheets, each measuring 9x12 inches
- Made from 100% cotton, acid-free and buffered
- The textured surface is flawless and smooth
- Great for developing and improving artistic skills - professional finish
- Not as suited to beginners
Last but not least on our list of top picks, we have another great product option for those that want to use their oil pastels on suitable paper: the Art Spectrum Colourfix Paper Rainbow Pack.
This product comes as a pad containing 10 sheets, with each sheet measuring 12-inches x 9-inches, and weighing 140lbs.
The Colorfix paper is acid-free and smooth, coated with the Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer. This acrylic-based primer allows the paper to better hold multiple layers of pastels, without having to use any fixative products.
Lightfast and permanent, the paper can resist scrubbing, sanding, soaking, and erasure, making it ideal for a long-lasting artwork. It is ideal for using oil pastels, and it is also suitable for charcoal and many other art mediums.
The sheets are created with warm tones, providing you with an assortment of warm backgrounds with which to work, creating a great background for your artwork.
It is a very popular product, often recommended for beginners and for those that are developing their skills, although it is also used by more advanced artists.
With how durable and resistant it is, you can safely experiment with layering without having to worry about whether the paper can withstand it or not: you’re 100% guaranteed that it can.
- Pad of 10 sheets measuring 9x12 inches - 140lbs
- Acid-free and smooth
- Coated with the Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer - holds more layers of pastels
- Highly durable and resistant paper
- Warm tones for an ideal background
- No significant downsides
Best Paper for Oil Pastels Buying Guide
Getting the right paper to use your oil pastels can make a significant impact on the result of your artwork and on how well it holds up.
The wrong type of paper could end up tearing or ripping far too easily or could cause the oil pastels to bleed through, making a mess of your art. It can also affect the quality and the finishing appearance of the artwork, so it really is important for you to invest in the right materials!
There are plenty of options for the paper that is better suited to oil pastels, but we are aware of how tricky it can be to determine which is the best option for you.
You can have a look through our list of top picks, but if you want to research some more or you want to know how we choose our favorite products, here’s a summary.
We like to take a few basic factors into consideration, comparing the products, and checking the description and reviews to make sure what features and what level of quality you are getting. Here are the main factors to consider when buying paper for oil pastels:
Size and Quantity of the Paper Sheets
Paper for oil pastels can come in different sizes and packs, so you can scout the market and find whichever option suits your personal needs and preferences the best.
As a general rule, the paper will come in a pad of sheets, and each sheet will measure 9-inches x 12-inches, roughly. It’s always best to go for a pad that comes with more sheets rather than less, as it gives you more opportunities for creating artwork. Some products might even come with several pads of sheets!
Material and Quality of the Paper
The material of the paper will directly impact its quality. It’s important that the paper is thick enough to withstand multiple layers of oil pastels, and it should also have the appropriate coating or finish to give it a professional finish that enhances the colors of your art.
You can also look out for certain types of materials. For example, if you want a more environmentally-friendly option, you can look out for paper that uses recycled materials.
The Texture of the Paper
The texture of the paper can significantly affect how the oil pastels look and remain, which in turn affects the overall outcome of your artwork.
If the texture is too smooth, it probably won’t grasp the pigments as well, which is important if you want a good vibrant finish. But if the texture is too rough, you won’t be able to add any finer details to the artwork. It’s all about finding the right balance that works for you, your style, and your art medium.
Art Medium Suitability
It’s always super important that you check that the paper you are buying is suited to the art medium you’ve chosen, which in this case is oil pastels.
Papers are usually suitable for more than one type of art medium, but for art mediums such as watercolors or wet paints, you need to ensure the paper is appropriate and able to withstand it without bleeding through, or else the results will be less than desirable. This information is usually stated in the product description, so make sure you always check!
Color of the Paper
Paper for oil pastels can come in different colors, and although it may not seem like the most important choice to make, certain colors can be better backgrounds for your artworks than others. Certain colors can enhance and highlight your artwork, so it’s good to know which color works with what, so you can make the most of the paper and really bring attention to your art!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use normal paper for oil pastels?
One of the best things about oil pastels is that they are very easy to use, ideal for beginners, and can indeed be used on normal paper. However, if you want the best possible results, it’s best to get some special paper that is better suited to oil pastels, as it will give your artwork a more professional finish, as well as helping it last for a longer time.
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What’s your favourite Paper for Oil Pastels? We’d love to hear from you... Please leave your comments below.
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