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The Best Paper for Oil Pastels in 2023

paper for oil pastels

If you want to make art with oil pastels, you should look for paper that is compatible with the ink.

You probably considered using regular paper with oil pastels, but that would be messy because the pastels would seep into the paper and bleed badly to the other side. If there is more paper underneath, the pastels can wreck even more layers.

As a result, the best paper for oil pastels is bleed proof, heavy, and thick. But which product should you go with? Continue reading to find out what kind of paper is suitable for oil pastel paintings.

Paper for Oil Pastel Reviews

1. Sennelier Oil Pastel Pad

sennelier oil pastel pad

Sennelier has been a favorite brand among many artists because of its excellent lineup of art supplies, including oil pastel paper. But what makes this brand special is that it innovatively designed paper pads specifically for oil pastels, thus cutting your long search for the top oil pastel paper short.

If you look closely at the details, It has an ample thickness and weight of 160 pounds that makes it suitable for your drawing medium, primarily if you’ve invested in professional oil pastels. The bleedproof quality beautifully handles oil pastels, showcasing the brilliance of colors without skipping and awful smudges.

I also like the slight texture on the surface because it helps oil pastels adhere and produce solid vibrant shades.

Although there’s some texture on it, you could feel its superb smoothness that allows oil pastels to glide seamlessly. It isn’t overly smooth, which is why it gives a soft and clean effect on the colors without leaving any dirt or crumbles.

The paper quality also preserves the vividness of oil pastels, especially when you layer or blend them. It’s fascinating to see how you can build the colors, flawlessly blend them, and achieve various depths and shades without completely obscuring the colors underneath.

Besides that, I also appreciate the addition of the glassine interleaf inserts on every page. I don’t usually find them on paper pads but they help keep your oil pastels from transferring to another page. The inserts also prevent leaving any messy streaks and residues.

The spiral binding, on the other hand, makes it a lot easier to flip the pages. And if I want to lay it flat on a table, it does so. Since the pages are perforated, tearing them out is no trouble.

While this paper pad seems to be quite a fascinating treat for oil pastel artists, the high pricing mark could be a letdown.

What We Liked
  • Specialty paper pad for oil pastels
  • Has glassine interleaf page inserts to prevent color transfers and smudges
  • Heavyweight and thick
  • Impeccably smooth surface with a little tooth
  • Spiral-bound for hassle-free flipping
What We Didn't Like
  • Expensive

Despite that issue, this oil pastel paper pad is worth every penny. This Sennelier oil pastel paper is specifically designed for oil pastels, thus providing the ideal paper characteristics that will exhibit your oil pastel artwork’s vibrancy and beauty.

2. Arteza Black Sketch Pad

arteza black sketch pad

For a unique surface that will display the oil pastels’ vividness and superb quality, you’ll probably find this Arteza sketch pad an exquisite treat.

It contains 30 black heavyweight sheets that can provide immediate contrast, especially if you’re using vibrant colors and lighter shades of oil pastels to exhibit your artwork.

Contrary to the traditional white surface, the paper’s dark undertone presents a range of colors with an artistic effect and elegant touch. It even has a retro vibe in it that sets your artwork with creative pops of colors.

What’s also great about it is the compatibility with various art media. While this paper pad lends optimum weight and thickness for oil pastels, it can also beautifully accommodate ink pens, charcoal, colored pencils, chalk, and gel pens to embellish the details on your art piece.

Like what I do with oil pastel on paper surfaces to highlight intricate lines, I use white pastels or metallic paint pens. Surprisingly, the sheet doesn’t warp or easily tear even when I add layers or produce heavier strokes.

It’s nice to see how it holds up pretty well while keeping the color appearance seamless and highly pigmented. Aside from that, the impeccable smoothness of each page allows effortless coloring and drawing. It also has a slight tooth that helps oil pastels adhere better.

Moreover, this paper pad is spiral-bound and so tearing the pages is never a problem, especially when I want to display my artwork or share it with a friend. Plus, the binding design lays the pad flat, allowing you to work on each page with ease.

There’s only a minor issue: the strong stinky smell doesn’t easily wear off.

What We Liked
  • Heavyweight black sheets
  • Lends an exceptional contrast for oil pastels
  • Gives off a creative pop of colors
  • Spiral-bound for hassle-free page removal
  • Compatible with different types of art media
What We Didn't Like
  • Unpleasant odor

Nonetheless, this sketch pad is an excellent choice that lets you explore exceptional techniques and presentations of your artwork. Whether you’re using oil pastels or mixing them with other preferred art media, the paper’s durability and smoothness will take your work up a notch!

3. Strathmore 455-3 Series Sketch Pad

strathmore 455-3 series sketch pad

If you’re a beginner artist looking for a heavy-duty oil pastel sketch pad to work on your skills, this 400 Series Strathmore pad will probably be your next favorite.

This 60-pound paper renders decent quality that can provide an optimum surface for oil pastels. It’s also smooth but with medium texture in it, which is why it’s a lot easier to apply pastels and blend them effortlessly.

I like how the oil pastels’ waxy consistency does not bleed through this paper or leave messy crumbles and smudges. It isn’t too thick but not too thin either. But I find the quality suitable for drawing and coloring, especially if you’re looking for a sturdy practice paper.

Other than blending, it can hold up well even when I use heavy layers of pastels to produce different depths and shades of colors. I’ve also tried mixing the pastels with light layers of watercolor pens, and surprisingly, this sketch pad doesn’t disappoint.

In addition to that, the pages are acid-free, which preserves the color quality and vibrancy. It prevents fading and discoloration in the long run, especially when your art is on display and continuously exposed to light.

The micro-perforated sheets are yet another impressive feature I like about this pad. Although it’s spiral-bound, the perforations allow you to tear the pages with a clean and smooth cut. Plus, it has a heavy-duty chipboard backing that provide sturdy support whenever you need to lay the pad flat or work on your lap.

However, I think that it isn’t thick enough for elaborately finished art pieces. Thus, it would make an excellent practice paper for amateur oil pastel artists.

What We Liked
  • Lends an optimum surface quality and thickness for oil pastels
  • Works great as a practice paper pad
  • Smooth but lightly textured surface for bleedproof and neat applications
  • Micro-perforated sheets for hassle-free and clean tearing
  • Acid-free
What We Didn't Like
  • Not for professional use

Even though that could be an issue for some artists, this sketch pad will enhance your skills and oil pastel techniques. It offers a forgiving surface quality and ample thickness for regular painting practice sessions.

4. Faber-Castell Black Paper Pad

faber-castell black paper pad

Faber-Castell has been among my favorite brands because of their excellent lineup of art supplies, including paper pads. And if you want to venture into contemporary painting techniques and achieve a stunning color contrast with your oil pastels, you can give it a go with this black paper pad.

The darkest black color makes the sheets stand out compared to other typical black construction papers. Every page isn’t flimsy but rather sturdy and high-quality, which I find compatible with oil pastels.

The black undertone renders unique contrast with oil pastels, which I really love because it emphasizes the vividness and brilliance of different oil pastel colors.

It’s nice to see a beautiful pop of colors, especially if you embellish your art with metallic details, white highlights, or other lighter shades. Plus, it is acid-free, which prevents fading and discoloration.

If you look closely at the paper’s qualities, you can tell it is more than just ample thickness and weight. I have to highlight the smooth surface, which you would need for oil pastels, and hence, it lets you write, draw, or color effortlessly.

And since the paper is heavyweight, it can efficiently handle the oil pastels’ creamy textures without leaving any residues or messy bleed-throughs.

When it comes to its binding design, it is a glue-bound flip-over style that lets you go through the pages easily. You can also lay it flat on a table or your lap because of its rigid backing. Such a design makes drawing and coloring a lot more convenient no matter where you’re working.

Other than that, you’ll feel less guilty using this paper pad because it’s made from recycled materials. However, it’s a bit a bummer that it only has 25 sheets. I just wish there were more.

What We Liked
  • Sturdy and heavyweight black sheets
  • Provides a unique surface for a beautiful color contrast
  • Exhibits the brilliance of oil pastels without residues or smudges
  • Lends a smooth surface for seamless drawing and coloring
  • Glue bound and flip-over style
What We Didn't Like
  • Has 25 sheets only

Anyhow, it’s no big deal. This black paper pad renders rigid quality and an impeccable surface that will work great with your oil pastels while highlighting their radiant hues.

5. CANSON Mi-Teintes Pastel Pad

canson midtone pastel pad

This Canson Mi-Tientes pastel pad is all about versatile, high-quality surfaces. Since oil pastels work well with light and heavy textures, this pastel pad indeed is an ideal option if you’re up for flexible oil pastel techniques.

This dual-surfaced paper features a subtle texture on one side and a heavily textured surface on the other. I actually find this quite an exceptional treat because I don’t usually get to see a pastel paper such as this.

It’s nice to have options on which texture to work on, especially if you’re a beginner and you’ve been practicing your oil pastel coloring and drawing. The paper versatility also provides a sturdy and reliable surface if you like using mixed art media such as colored pencils, ink pens, and gel pens.

The smoother side is best for soft pastels, while the rougher one works better with hard pastels and many sorts of techniques like impasto and stippling. Although the textures vary from each side, they both are able to showcase the brightness and vibrancy of the colors.

Layering and blending colors could also be challenging due to the oil pastels’ natural waxy textures. But since this pad is also specifically designed for oil pastels, you can expect superb performance.

It offers a quality that provides optimum thickness, weight, and surface quality to eliminate common issues with oil pastels like smudging or leaving messy crumbles.

If you’re also experimenting with different kinds of techniques using various undertones, the assortment of these pastel papers can get you started. Plus, this paper is lightfast that resists fading, and hence, it guarantees long-lasting quality.

The only drawback is it easily frays when you color or draw on it using heavy hand pressures.

What We Liked
  • Dual-surfaced heavyweight pastel papers
  • Assorted colors
  • Lightfast and acid-free
  • Can be used with other types of art media
  • Does not leave residues and smudges
What We Didn't Like
  • Frays easily

Although that’s a minor issue, beginners will find this an excellent option to practice their skills on various textures and surface colors.

6. U.S. Art Supply Pastel Paper Pad

u.s. art supply pastel paper pad

Natural undertones give off a sophisticated and soft touch to your art pieces. And if you want to achieve that concept and ramp up your work with such style, perhaps this U.S Art Supply premium pastel paper pad in natural tones would be your ideal pick.

It comes in 4 different natural shades that set off a very vintage vibe. Contrary to a classic white background, these neutral shades deliver an elegant contrast to your vibrant oil pastels.

Whether you’re working with portraits or sceneries, the colored surface does not overwhelm the subjects and decorative details but rather jives with them seamlessly. But what makes this a suitable surface oil pastel paper is the ample thickness that can handle creamy oil pastels without crumbling and smudging.

Sifting through the surface details, it lends enough tooth that grabs oil pastels, allowing them to adhere better and display vivid color quality. Plus, the pages are acid-free.

Since it’s a 180 GSM sheet, the surface can resist bleed-throughs and warping, which is what oil pastels need for a sturdy surface. If you also like working with mixed media such as colored pencils, charcoal, and graphite pencils, you may do so.

On the other hand, the glue-bound style is best for artwork compilation, whether it’s for a personal keepsake or to update your portfolio. But here’s a caveat: removing the pages is very hard. I’m afraid you won’t get a clean and smooth cut as you would with a perforated paper or a spiral-bound sketch pad.

What We Liked
  • Comes in 4 different natural undertones
  • Glue-bound style; Great for artwork compilation
  • Delivers soft and sophisticated appearance
  • Has enough tooth that allows oil pastels to adhere well
  • Can be used with other types of art media
What We Didn't Like
  • Difficult to remove the pages

Nevertheless, this pastel paper pad is worth trying if you want to spruce up your work with soft natural undertones. It includes heavyweight and lightly textured sheets that will exhibit your oil pastel art pieces without bleeding and messy pastel residues.

7. Bachmore Drawing Pad

bachmore drawing pad

A mixed media paper pad is among the best alternative options when pastel papers are unavailable. With that in mind, you can consider this Bachmore drawing pad.

It includes 60 122-pound sheets that feature promising paper characteristics, particularly for oil pastels. I think it’s more than enough if you’ll use it for practicing or elaborately finished art pieces whether you’re a student, beginner, or a professional oil pastel artist.

Aside from its acid-free properties, every sheet is sturdy and thick, and hence, it can provide a bleedproof surface for oil pastels’ naturally waxy textures. Because of this, it’s a lot easier to build colors and achieve different depths of colors without tearing the paper.

The surface is smooth and lightly textured, making coloring and drawing effortless every time. Even if it has a medium texture, it doesn’t warp or fray easily when you apply multiple oil pastel layers, blend them, or use several techniques with it.

Since it is specifically designed for mixed media, you can use it with wet and dry media apart from oil pastels. The paper is exceptionally durable when used with watercolors, ink pens, paint, or acrylic.

It is a spiral-bound fold-over paper pad, so getting through the pages is no hassle. It lays completely flat when you work on a page, not to mention the hard bottom for sturdy support. And if you want to tear a page off from the pad, it is intricately crafted with micro-perforations for easy sheet removal.

Every feature seems to be on point except for a minor issue is a slight itchy feeling when you touch the paper but this doesn’t affect the superb performance in any way.

What We Liked
  • Suitable for oil pastels and mixed media
  • Provides bleedproof surface that efficiently holds oil pastels
  • Lightly textured but smooth surface
  • Features micro-perforated sheets for convenient page removal
  • Spiral-bound
What We Didn't Like
  • Paper surface is a little itchy

Needless to say, it is a professional quality paper pad that serves as an excellent backup if you’re struggling to find specialty pastel papers. It offers versatile and durable sheets that can provide an ideal surface for oil pastels as well as wet and dry art media.

8. Glokers Sketch Pad

glokers sketch pad

If you’re on the hunt for practice pastel papers, you’re in for a treat with this 100-page glokers paper pad in a pack of 2. But besides the great number of sheets, this sketchpad highlights medium-weight pages crafted with textured surfaces.

It may not be as thick and heavy as the ideal pastel papers, but it has enough weight to accommodate oil pastels and other types of dry media. Since the surface features a medium tooth, it grabs the oil pastels’ creamy and waxy textures, allowing you to exhibit their vibrant colors.

Surprisingly, the paper holds up pretty well when I blend and layer oil pastels that produce depths of colors. This allows me to create seamless applications and execute various techniques like scraping or Sgraffi. It does the trick as long as you don’t apply oil pastels heavily; light layers will do.

If you wish to preserve your artwork’s pristine condition, every sheet ensures long-lasting quality with its acid-free properties.

In terms of its binding design, it is made of dual spiral binding for enhanced durability. It also lays completely flat even when you’re working on a page, not to mention the heavy chipboard backing for convenient and sturdy support. The perforated pages also promote hassle-free sheet removal.

However, it isn’t compatible with wet art media like watercolor or acrylic paint. It bleeds through.

What We Liked
  • Two pads of 100-page medium-weight sheets
  • Features a textured surface that grabs oil pastels
  • Can also be used with all types of dry art media
  • Acid-free
  • Spiral-bound; Has perforated pages for easy sheet removal
What We Didn't Like
  • Incompatible with wet art media

Overall, it’s a beginner-friendly oil pastel sketch pad that can provide decent thickness and textured paper surface. You’ll have more than enough medium-weight sheets for practicing and refining your oil pastel techniques.

9. CONDA Sketch Pad

conda sketch pad

If you’re just starting with oil pastels and looking for a budget-friendly sketch pad to practice with, you’ll probably find the best bang for your buck with this spiral-bound Conda sketch pad.

But the reasonable pricing is just one of its merits. It is also the ample characteristics that make it a great buy compared to pricier specialty pastel papers.

Every sheet in this sketch pad features 100 GSM, which I consider just enough to minimize or even prevent bleed-throughs when using oil pastels. The pages don’t feel flimsy, but rather feel pretty sturdy that it can withstand repeated erasures or heavy pressure.

Other than that, the finely textured surface renders a medium tooth but smooth feel, allowing you to work with oil pastels without leaving any crumbles or messy smudges.

It’s nice to see that the surface holds up just fine despite the pastels’ oily textures. You can showcase your artwork with such capability whether you’re juggling among detailed illustrations, drafts, or quick sketches.

The bright white paper tone also complements the oil pastels’ wide range of vibrant colors, presenting their brilliance and natural shades.

I know that the paper thickness isn’t ideal, but it lets you try out a few oil pastel techniques like stippling, Sgraffito, layering, and blending. And when you’re all done and want to frame your work or add it to your portfolio, the acid-free paper deters fading and discoloration over time.

The spiral binding design makes it more convenient to draw and color art pieces because the pages lay completely flat all the time and won’t get in the way, not to mention the rigid backing.

Plus, the pad is bound with a durable double spiral to keep the pages perfectly intact. But if you want to remove the pages, the perforations will let you do so without any trouble.

However, the slight drawback with this is the compatibility with other art media types, particularly with wet media. Since it isn’t very thick, you’ve got to be extra careful with heavy applications.

What We Liked
  • Offers optimum surface quality with minimized bleeding
  • Lightly textured and smooth
  • Able to showcase oil pastels’ vibrancy and natural colors
  • Spiral-bound for easy page flipping and removal
  • Acid-free
What We Didn't Like
  • Incompatible with wet art media

Anyhow, this sketch pad would suffice if you need a sturdy surface for practicing or an additional pad for rough sketches.

10. Bellofy A5 Painting Paper Pad

bellofy a5 painting paper pad

Weight and thickness matter when your primary medium is oil pastel; otherwise, your artwork will end up in an ugly clutter. That’s why you need to invest in a premium quality paper such as this painting paper pad from bellofy.

If you delve into its properties, this pro series features a 246-pound or 400 GSM paper, highlighting its compatibility with acrylic, oil, and watercolor.

It’s relatively heavier than any of the pastel pads I’ve tried, and hence, you can expect performance reliability, especially if you want to refine your art piece. There’s no worrying about smudging or bleeding through because the heavyweight sheets will take care of these common paper issues.

Moreover, the surface gives off a rough finish so oil pastels can adhere to the paper better. Fortunately, the surface roughness or texture still maintains the consistency and quality of oil pastels, preventing them from breaking or crumbling as you color or draw.

I also like how it maximizes its usage for various oil pastel techniques since the paper is very thick. Whether you’re blending, layering, scraping, or trying out different painting styles, you can do so without having to worry about the paper warping or tearing.

These durable sheets can accommodate constant erasures and hard pressures. Because they’re acid-free, you can preserve your artwork’s quality and color vividness and prevent it from fading in the long run.

This sketch pad features a glue bound design that promotes hassle-free turning and detaching the pages. There are no perforations or holes in every sheet, so you can remove the pages neatly and smoothly at all times.

However, I just wish that the size was larger. Another minor pitfall is the paper tone; it isn’t a classic bright white paper but more on a grayish-blue tone.

What We Liked
  • Impeccably durable and heavyweight sheets
  • Deters smudging and bleeding
  • Features rough finish to hold oil pastels efficiently
  • Acid-free; Prevents fading and discoloration
  • Can also be used with acrylic paint and watercolor
What We Didn't Like
  • Smaller than usual sketch pad sizes
  • Grayish blue paper

If the issues mentioned above are the slightest of your concerns, then you’ve got your best bet with these heavyweight sheets. Because they’re remarkably durable and thick, you can present your oil pastel air without having to worry every again about smudging and bleeding.

11. Speedball Art Products Pastel Paper

speedball art products pastel paper

If there’s one more pastel paper feature that you have to decide on, it’s probably the texture, whether to go for a rough or smooth finish. As for me, I go for both types, but some artists prefer having an extra grit on their surface. If you use likewise, you’ll find this sanded pastel paper an ideal pick.

This pack includes 6-count of 12×16 medium grit pastel papers that are derived from 100% cotton. Each sheet is carefully primed with an aluminum oxide coating, which means highly resistant from damages like warping and tearing.

Such treatment provides exceptional durability and longevity, allowing you to carry out oil pastel techniques of your choice.

Since the surface is rigid, it paves the way for a variety of drawing or coloring styles. You can seamlessly elevate your art using layering or blending techniques to create artistic details and embellishments.

I also think this is the best surface finish if you want to produce impasto effects, but standard techniques such as stippling, color mixing, and heavy pressure blending will also do.

Apart from that, it offers archival quality that can resist deterioration, discoloration, and fading, keeping your art at its most satisfactory condition for the longest time possible.

However, this set isn’t quite generous with the number of sheets. You’ll only have six white pastel sheets. But I think it’s best to use for special creative projects that require a unique surface such as this.

What We Liked
  • Offers medium grit surface
  • Treated with aluminum oxide coating for superb durability
  • Resists warping and tearing
  • Archival quality for maximum longevity and color preservation
  • Able to use with various oil pastel techniques
What We Didn't Like
  • Minimal paper count

To sum up, these medium grit pastel papers are all about outstanding rigidity. It has a particular finish type that also provides an ideal surface for oil pastel painting.

12. US Art Supply Black Paper Sketch Pad

us art supply black paper sketch pad

Of all the black sheets that I’ve tried, this US Art Supply paper is one of my favorite picks for rough sketching and coloring because of its light and smooth texture as well as decent thickness.

The smooth finish lends an optimum surface that allows oil pastels to glide seamlessly, especially if you want to achieve precise strokes or produce a vast range of color mixtures. The acid-free paper also prevents color fading and deterioration in the long run.

I’d say that 64-pound is not my ideal pick, but it’s just enough to accommodate light oil pastel layers. And since it has a black undertone, it gives a stunning pop of colors and contrast even when you don’t apply heavy layers.

This paper blends beautifully with whites, metallic shades, and flashy colors, and hence, you can present artistic embellishments and techniques on your artwork.

One more thing I like is the spiral binding. Since the pages are perforated, detaching the pages is easy-peasy. You can flip the pages and lay them completely flat for convenient coloring and sketching.

My only concern is the paper quality. It isn’t very thick, so you’ve got to be careful with color layering and blending. This paper might not be the best surface for heavy pressure blending.

What We Liked
  • Premium quality black sketch pad
  • Ideal for practicing and beginner oil pastel techniques
  • Offers immediate contrast for vibrant colors and metallic shades
  • Spiral-bound; Hassle-free page turning and removal
  • Acid-free for long-lasting quality
What We Didn't Like
  • Not recommended for heavy pressure blending and layering

Despite that, this premium black paper pad can give your artwork an exquisite revamp. While this ramps up your work’s artistic details, this can also serve as your practice sheet to improve your techniques.

How To Choose Papers for Oil Pastels

paper for oil pastels reviews

Paper Weight and Thickness

One of the first few things you’d probably ask is: what paper is best for oil pastels? If you’re caught up with overwhelming choices, remember that the paper’s weight and thickness are among the primary features you should check. Typically, they’re labeled as LB (or pounds) and GSM (or grams per square).

The weight may vary from 80 to 200 GSM. It’s ideally better when the paper is heavier. When I work with oil pastels, I usually opt for heavyweight paper pads with at least 160 GSM for optimum thickness, durability, and bleedproof surface.

Surface Texture and Quality

Since oil pastels have creamy and waxy consistencies, they work well on both light and heavy textures. However, your ultimate choice depends on your personal preferences and painting styles.

A lightly textured surface lends a slight tooth that allows pastels to adhere on paper smoothly. This results in a beautiful and vibrant range of colors while rendering a softer look and texture without leaving pastel crumbles and residues. I find this an ideal surface for layering, color mixing, and Sgraffito.

Heavy textures also maintain the quality and vividness of oil pastels with little to no awful smudging. Aside from this, a rough texture can provide a unique surface that accommodates different oil pastel techniques and artistic effects like impasto, stippling, and more.

I also think it’s a better option if you like working with mixed media such as watercolor and acrylic paints or need a durable surface to mix oil pastels with other wet media.

Whichever texture you choose, the ability to showcase your artwork’s beauty also relies on whether the paper is acid-free. It’s one of the significant factors to consider because it preserves the brilliance and quality of oil pastel colors, preventing them from fading or wearing out in the long run.

Oil Pastel Compatibility

What kind of paper do you use for oil pastels, then?

Aside from the factors mentioned above, it is imperative to determine the paper’s compatibility with your art medium. Luckily, a lot of brands offer a wide range of oil pastel paper pads and sketchbooks that lend optimum thickness, weight, surface quality, and versatility.

But you might wonder, is mixed media paper good for oil pastels?

While there are available oil pastel specialty papers, you may also consider choosing mixed media art papers as long as they have the characteristics suitable for oil pastels. This would also be an excellent option if you use oil pastels together with different types of art media like acrylic paint, watercolor, and more.

Size and Color

Nothing goes wrong with a classic white surface, especially if you want to present various oil pastel colors’ brilliance and beauty. You can go for super white or off-white for a more sophisticated look, but you may also venture into neutral tones, grays, and other lighter shades for subtle and artistic effects.

Some artists also prefer black or dark undertones to emphasize color vibrancy, highlighting details and metallic shades. They also provide a sturdy surface for oil pastel techniques, particularly for blending, layer, and scraping or Sgraffito.

On the other hand, the paper sizes also vary from brand to brand. The standard size option is 9”x12”, but larger and smaller sizes are also available. You may consider this standard size or upsize it if you work on large scale projects or elaborate art pieces.

Number of Sheets and Binding Design

The paper count can be around 25, 50, 100, or more. If you practice your painting techniques regularly or work on various oil pastel projects, 50 or 100 might suffice, but it’s all up to you how many sheets you really need.

While some sheets are individually packed, some brands offer paper pads that come in different binding designs. Spiral-bound paper pads allow easy page flipping, and each page also lays flat on a surface. It also lets you seamlessly tear the pages because they’re perforated.

Glue bound paper pads are also an excellent option to keep your art drawings or oil pastel paintings. Likewise, they perform well when you flip and tear the pages although they just don’t lay as flat as the spiral-bound would. However, the advantage of glue bound paper pads is that they can maintain the edges smooth and neat when you tear the pages if ever you want to share your artwork with someone or display it.

How to Prepare Paper for Oil Pastels

Oil pastels are applicable on surfaces such as canvas, plastic, glass, and wood. As you can see, they work on any thick and solid surface that can handle the thick and oily pigment without bleeding and smudging.

Likewise, the selected paper for painting oil pastels must be thick enough for a clean and smooth, instead of a messy process.

So, as instructed above, you should prepare the paper for your specific types of oil pastels.

Use Colourfix primer

If you have some watercolor paper and want to use them for oil pastel, use some Colourfix primer, as it is available in clear color. You can sketch the drawing first with your pencil. Then, do the priming on the paper surface before carrying on with oil pastels.

Use Sanded Pastel Paper

You can always pick the already sanded paper, ready for painting and archiving for a long time. The Uart Sanded Pastel Paper and Wallis Sanded Pastel Paper are two incredible options, available in various fineness for painting purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

how to choose paper for oil pastels

Who is This for?

This paper is specifically designed for professional and amateur artists who need a sturdy and reliable surface for oil pastels. The paper’s quality lends optimum thickness, weight, and texture that efficiently hold oil pastels’ waxy consistency, allowing art students and advanced artists to flawlessly color or draw.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Paper for Oil Pastels?

The primary advantage of using an oil pastel paper is getting remarkable results in terms of color accuracy and vibrancy. You’ll get the best out of your oil pastels without wasting their pigments, which usually happens when using ordinary papers.

The ample thickness, weight, and texture allow seamless color blending and layering. An oil pastel paper can efficiently hold pastels without warping, smearing, or tearing apart. Even when you use tissue paper for oil pastels artistic techniques, you can showcase your style while keeping the surface firm and durable.

The only setback with oil pastel papers is probably the price. Their unique properties make them slightly pricier than regular papers.

What are the Different Types of Paper for Oil Pastels?

There are no specific types or categories for oil pastel papers. But we can sort them out according to their features such as texture, weight, and thickness to compare papers from different brands.

Some are lightweight, while other choices are relatively heavier. However, keep in mind that heavyweight papers are the ideal option for oil pastels because of their bleedproof and durable quality that prevents warping or tearing.

Is Oslo Paper Good for Oil Pastels?

In my experience, I can say that Oslo paper is a decent surface for oil pastels. If you compare it to ordinary papers or sketch pads, Oslo paper lends a slightly textured surface and is relatively heavier and thicker.

I noticed that if you apply light layers and pressure when drawing or coloring, it will do the trick to make oil pastels workable. It may not be the ideal option out there, but if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative or a reliable surface for practicing techniques, this paper will do.

What are the Most Popular Brands for Oil Pastel Paper?

Strathmore, Sennelier, Arteza, Faber-Castell, Canson, and US Art Supply are some of the most popular brands you’ll find on the market. They offer a vast array of high-quality oil pastel paper that come in various sizes, weight and thickness options, textures, and colors. These brands can either provide specialty oil pastel papers or durable quality papers that are suitable for oil pastels and other types of art media.

Can you use Normal Paper for Oil Pastels?

Unfortunately, I do not recommend using oil pastels with it. Normal papers are typically thin and lightweight, which won’t be sturdy enough to handle oil pastels because they have actual oil in them. If you use normal paper, oil pastels will tend to smear and tear or warp the paper.

Therefore, what paper do you use for oil pastels? As mentioned, it is ideally better to use heavyweight, thick, and textured paper to exhibit the vividness and impeccable quality of oil pastels.

How to Use it?

Using oil pastels is slightly different from using regular crayons. If you’re a beginner or still practicing your oil pastel techniques, you may take note of the following tips:

  • Clean the surface of your oil pastel paper. Get rid of any dirt, dust, creases, or bumps to make sure your pastels can glide smoothly on it.
  • You can try holding your oil pastels like you would with regular crayons. But since pastels are highly pigmented and typically very creamy, you can control them using your forefinger and thumb for gradual and efficient applications.
  • Use the edges or the rims of the oil pastel with a light hand pressure if you need to fill in narrow spaces or create intricate details. To produce more extensive and solid shades, you may hold the pastel with your forefinger, middle finger, and thumb as if you’re picking it up. Lay it flat on the surface and slowly move the pastel in an upward and downward motion to produce colors.
  • If you want to combine or blend oil pastels, choose two of your preferred colors. Start with one color and slowly add another layer on top using the other color.
  • Heavily textured oil pastel paper is what I prefer using when creating artistic effects and oil pastel techniques such as impasto or even just simple layering and scraping. I like how it renders optimum tooth that allows oil pastel colors to adhere beautifully. However, you might need to use heavier pressure to add color depth and vibrancy.


The perfect paper for oil pastels highlights the stunning quality and vividness of your oil pastels. That’s why it is imperative to consider the primary features mentioned above, such as thickness, weight, and texture, to determine the ideal option for your art medium. Our reviews and in-depth guide will narrow down your selection to help you decide on a worthwhile purchase.

Although there’s an overwhelming array of choices, you will find your ultimate pick, whether you’re a beginner developing your skills or a professional artist working on elaborate art pieces. Many brands offer various paper qualities that will suit your preferences and needs.

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