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Oil Pastels vs Soft Pastels From Faber-Castell

Pastels are a unique medium. Pigment-packed, they deliver vibrant colors to a blank art paper or canvas and are widely loved as an independent art medium. And while both types of pastels can be used to create vivid artwork, oil and soft pastels have qualities that make them very different from each other. Learn more about what makes each one unique.

Oil Pastels 

Faber-Castell brings you oil pastels in 36 vibrant colors. Their mix of oil and pigment give the pastels a crayon-like texture with a creamy lay down, while their cylindrical shape allows artists to create various lines. The soft consistency of oil pastels allows for easy blending with other pastel colors and different media. A foam blender, a blending stump, or even a finger work best when trying to blend pastels. Use a spatula to break up the pastels to mix with other colors or to cover larger areas. Beyond blending, oil pastels are great to use with techniques such as sgraffito, encaustic, adding oil, or mixing with other media such as watercolor. The consistency of oil pastels makes them extremely lightfast, with pigments of the pastels sitting on top of the paper adding extra dimension.

Soft Pastels 

Faber-Castell Soft Pastels set themselves apart with 70 colors in the form of standard (full) and mini (half) rectangular sticks. Pigment mixed with minimal binders and compression are what give soft pastels their gentle smooth lay down. With these pastels you can be casual and spontaneous with your art. Soft pastels create unparalleled flowing and soft gradients compared to other drawing or painting mediums. The rectangular shape of the pastels offers many different ways that they can be used. Use the tip and edges to draw fine to medium lines or use the wide side of the pastel to cover larger areas. The chalk-like texture of soft pastels makes them incredibly easy to blend and mix. Easily use your finger, a blending stump, or a rag to blend. A sealant is recommended when finished working with soft pastels.

The Best Paper for Your Pastels 

Oil pastels and soft pastels work well with a wide range of surfaces. We advise beginner artists to keep it simple at first. Soft pastel and oil pastel paper will allow you to get more familiar with the qualities of the pastels before advancing to different surfaces. 

Oil pastels work great with colored paper, card stock, painting cardboard, canvas, wood, glass, leather, polystyrene, and even plastic. Textured, rough-grained paper that allows pigments to stick will work best for soft pastels. Watercolor paper, canvas, pasteboard, or wood surfaces also work well with soft pastels with more experience. Take both soft and oil pastels to another level and use them on colored paper. The contrast will further bring your vibrant pigments to life. ArtistTip: Always make sure your surface is acid-free. 

Faber-Castell Pastels

Faber-Castell offers both oil and soft pastels in a variety of set sizes. Choose the right set for your next project.

Faber-Castell Creative Studio Oil Pastel Sets

FC127012  12 Ct. Box   

FC127024  24 Ct. Box   

FC127036  36 Ct. Box   

Faber-Castell Creative Studio Soft Pastel Sets

FC128224  24 Ct. Half Length Sticks

FC128248  48 Ct. Half Length Sticks

FC128272  72 Ct. Half Length Sticks

FC128312  12 Ct. Full Length Sticks

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