Published on Aug 25, 2020

Pastel Tablet Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

Oil pastels are a fairly new art medium. In the mid 1920’s, the first soft pastel was developed. Called Cray-pas, this soft pastel was considered an upgrade from crayons. It wasn’t until 1947, upon the request of the artists Pablo Picasso and Henri Goetz, the materials manufacturer Sennelier set about to create a soft, artists’ quality pastel.

Picasso wanted a pastel stick that could be used on a variety of surfaces, like wood, clay or canvas. Goetz want a pastel which could be used with directness and immediacy, and would allow him to work directly on a surface, without brushes, palette knives or any other kind of tool.

Sennelier came out with a soft oil pastel in 1949. It had a desirable soft consistency, was available in a broad range of brilliant colors and the pigments were of a professional permanent and acid-free quality. Sennelier’s oil pastels were the seminal oil pastel sticks from which all other brands have originated. More recently, a larger oil pastel stick was developed which enables artists to create large, colorful works, without the accoutrement of oil painting: turpentine, linseed oil, rags, brushes, palettes, and palette knives. The qualities of immediacy and directness have made large oil stick popular among many contemporary artists.


The pigments in hard pastels, oil pastels and oil sticks are the same as those used in oil paints. The essential difference between oil paints, hard and soft pastels and oil sticks is the binder ingredient used to hold the pigments together. Oil paints are basically pigments in a base of linseed oil and drying agents, liquid enough to be extruded from a tube. Hard pastels have less oil and wax binder than oil pastels. Oil pastels, having more oil and wax content, are softer in consistency and body. To date, oil pastels are available in two qualities: student and professional,

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