Rating TOP 8 best oil pastels: softness, which is better, comparison with peers


Despite the fact that pastel was still mentioned under Leonardo da Vinci, France is considered its homeland. It was in the middle of the 17th century that the artist Daniel du Montier actively used it in his works, and later the Impressionists also fell in love with her for the ability to create a quick drawing. It has three varieties: dry, waxy and oily. It is the latter that makes it possible to create bright pictures with soft lines, the ability to shade the picture.

In recent years, oil pastel has become used not only by professional artists. In appearance, it resembles ordinary crayons, but still differs from them. The lines are soft, the strokes are fast, and the color depth is just pleasing. In the rating, you will learn about the pros and cons of popular oil pastel manufacturers, as well as how to choose it.

oil pastel rating


Already by the name and color scheme it is clear that the set is intended for young children. Despite the fact that the box says “oil pastel”, these are more wax crayons. But this product still has differences. The pigmentation is good and therefore the pictures will be bright. It can be used in graphite technique, as well as in watercolor, after shading the strokes with a brush dipped in water. For ease of use and in order not to break the lead, each chalk is dressed in a plastic case with the ability to unscrew it as needed. Non-toxic and have no unpleasant odor.

Producing country Russia
Number of colors 6
Type of solid
Peculiarities for kids
  • bright crayons;
  • do not crumble;
  • can be diluted with water and used in watercolor technique.
  • quickly consumed.

I wanted to buy something for the child to create. We are not interested in pencils, and felt-tip pens dry quickly. The store advised Kalyak-Malyak pastel. The son was interested in the purple color and in general he treats the set very carefully. I liked drawing, because the crayons draw brightly and you don’t have to make much effort to press. They can also be diluted with a wet brush.

Sonnet (7041157)

The Sonnet company produces packages of 12, 24 and 36 colors. The crayons are well pigmented, but practically do not mix with each other, crumble in moderation. It is very difficult to draw thin clear lines or make a drawing. In the figure, there is no way to make smooth transitions, since it is done with strokes. This option is more suitable for children or novice artists. It can be washed out only with a special solvent. Without it, you’ll end up with dirt. There is practically no smell. The crayons are thin, dryish and can break.

Sonnet (7041157)
Producing country Russia
Number of colors 12, 24, 36
Type of medium soft
Peculiarities no hiding power
  • wide range;
  • low price;
  • no bad smell.
  • dry;
  • no hiding power.

I took the Sonnet pastel for testing out of curiosity. I did not quite like it for several reasons: it is impossible to mix, not enough oily crayons, slightly crumble. Of the pluses, it can be noted that it fits well, the colors are saturated and does not stain the hands. I would recommend to a beginner artist with limited funds.

Many people think that oil pastels cannot be shaded. Unfortunately, this myth is associated with cheap wax-based brands. But the real pastel is made of oil and does not contain wax, so it is easy to blend and does not create dirt..

GAMMA Moscow palette

The manufacturer Gamma has improved the Moscow Palette oil pastel and released it in an updated package. Indeed, the quality has become higher, but not up to the ideal. It’s obvious at this price. The crayons are very small and run out quickly. The palette is good, but when working, the drawing is bald, which creates a feeling of dirt. It withstands application in three layers well, so you can overlap different shades and make transitions in tones. Suitable for beginners, but not for professionals.

GAMMA Moscow palette
Producing country Russia
Number of colors 16, 25, 36, 50
Type of soft
Peculiarities bald
  • rich palette and good pigmentation;
  • affordable price;
  • designation for each color.
  • fast consumption;
  • gives gaps.

The good news is that the quality of oil pastels from the company Gamma has become better. It is oily and well pigmented. But the crayons are very small and inconvenient to hold, and also because of this they have a fast consumption. Strongly bald and therefore the drawings are dirty. Still, it’s better than the Sonnet.


The well-known Czech manufacturer KOH-I-NOOR produces packages of 12, 24, 36 and 48 colors. The crayons are small, well oiled and pigmented. Drawing is convenient and easy. It has good hiding power. When mixed, it gives a smooth transition in tones. You can also achieve the effect of watercolor drawing. It is available in round and square sections, which allows the use of different techniques. It has good light fastness. The set is suitable for beginners and professional artists.

Producing country Czech
Number of colors 12, 24, 36, 48
Type of soft
Peculiarities smooth tone transition
  • excellent performance in covering power, mixing and blending;
  • soft crayons;
  • good light fastness;
  • do not crumble.

I often take Kohinoor with me to the open air, as it is convenient for them to draw. For the base, I use hard crayons from other manufacturers, and then apply the final touches with KOH-I-NOOR oil pastels. I really like it because it is soft, very pigmented and easy to blend.

Faber-Castell Studio Quality

A German company with a long history produces oil pastels in 12, 24 and 36 colors. The crayons are comfortable, wrapped in a cuff, and the lines in the drawing are soft due to the oiliness of the pastel itself. The first layer lays down tightly and well, but with the second one there may be problems, as blurring and dirt are observed. Some crayons have poor hiding power. It is easily shaded with a finger, it is also possible to use turpentine as a solvent. More suitable for beginners and art lovers.

Faber-Castell Studio Quality
Producing country Germany
Number of colors 12, 24, 36
Type of soft, oily
Peculiarities difficult to shade
  • rich palette;
  • soft and easy to use crayons;
  • easy to blend with a finger;
  • good hiding power.
  • there is an unpleasant smell;
  • in some cases, when mixed, mud is obtained.

Great oil pastel that I have been using for about a year. The crayons are bright, soft and easy to use. It can be used in different techniques and the kits are suitable for amateurs, students and even professionals. There are even instructions on the packaging on what techniques can be used and how to make them.

It is recommended that immediately after buying a set of oil pastels, make drawings with the designation of each color on white and black paper. This will allow you to buy the desired color after it runs out. It will also provide an opportunity to “get acquainted” with the scale and the possibility of each tone..

MUNGYO for Artists

The lead is soft and round in shape and wrapped in a paper cuff so as not to get your hands dirty. A rich range that allows you to experiment in your work. If necessary, you can easily mix the tones with your finger or special tools, as well as apply layers of different tones. The crayons practically do not crumble, which is a definite plus. The set includes classic shades, as well as additional ones. There is an opportunity to recoup crayons by the piece.

MUNGYO for Artists
Producing country Korea
Number of colors 12, 24, 36, 48, 72
Type of soft
Peculiarities does not form crumbs
  • does not form crumbs;
  • soft and high quality;
  • you can buy colors separately.
  • high price.

Of course, the cost of this set is considerable, but I decided to pamper my daughter so that she would immediately use high-quality art materials and this would bring her joy. I note that the oil pastels of the Korean manufacturer are very easy to use. She can draw on almost any surface. Excellent hiding power, light fastness and blendability.

SAKURA Expressionist

The product is aimed at beginners and professionals. The crayons are comfortable to hold in your hands and they are non-staining. The colors are vibrant and easy to cover, blend or wash out with a solvent. It also goes well with pencils and paints. Therefore, it can be used in various techniques. It can be used for decoration works and for drawing on paper, wood, cardboard, canvas. Pastel is not smeared on paper and does not require fixation, but crumble, which is unacceptable for such a price.

SAKURA Expressionist
Producing country Japan
Number of colors 12, 16, 25, 36, 50
Type of hard
Peculiarities does not stain hands
  • excellent covering characteristics;
  • easy to lie down;
  • high quality.
  • expensive;
  • crumble.

For the price, the quality could be better. Oil pastel has a wide range and is well pigmented. It can be mixed with other colors and the opacity is excellent. But the crayons crumble and for the same money I would rather take MUNGYO.

Royal Talens Van Gogh oil

The crayons are highly pigmented and have high light fastness. They blend easily with fingers or soft paper. You can work with solvents. They have good hiding power. The set contains colors marked “Metallic”, mother-of-pearl and colorless chalk. Royal Talens Van Gogh oil pastels can be used in a variety of media and are great for beginners and professional artists. Despite the fact that the composition contains oil and wax, the crayons are hard.

Royal Talens Van Gogh oil
Producing country Netherlands
Number of colors 12, 24, 36, 60
Type of hard
Peculiarities lightfast
  • good hiding power;
  • easy to blend with a finger;
  • lie down straight;
  • an extensive palette with a bright range;
  • the ability to buy additional crayons by the piece.
  • For some artists, Royal Talens Van Gogh oil pastels are considered hard.

I already have a dry pastel of this company and I decided to buy an oil one as well. I took a large set so that the palette was complete. The box is convenient for storage and each crayon is wrapped in a paper cuff. There are colors with mother-of-pearl and metallic, but I almost never use them. I like pastel because it has all the positive qualities of opacity, blending, shading, and so on. A bit firm, but just right for me.

All brands that produce professional products offer not only sets, but also crayons by the piece. This is convenient, since some are spent quickly and you need to buy them in addition. You can also try out oil pastels and then decide whether or not to buy the full palette.

Features of oil pastels

Before choosing an oil pastel, it is worth knowing what it consists of. The main composition of the chalk includes linseed oil, pigment, that is, paint and wax. The main indicators will depend on the percentage:

  • covering;
  • color saturation;
  • hardness or softness;
  • transparency.

If there is more wax in the chalk, then the lines will be more transparent, and the pastel itself will be harder. If pigment prevails, then the pattern will be dense, saturated. As part of a lot of oil than wax, the crayon will be soft and pliable, which is convenient for a young artist.

It is also worth paying attention to special paper with a textured surface. Watercolor paper is also suitable for drawing with oil pastels. The fact is that ordinary sheets are smooth and the pigment does not lay down as it should. Only on textured sheets do crayons have the opportunity to cling to the surface, as it were. In this case, additional fixation of the pattern is not required. This also allows you to create a stroke blur effect.

In addition to paper, it is worth purchasing a special solvent, which is applied to the drawing with a brush or paper stick. It makes it possible to give some parts of the picture a watercolor haze.

What to look for when choosing an oil pastel?

It is very difficult for a novice artist to choose “his” oil pastel, with which he can make all his dreams come true. At first glance, it may seem that it is enough to take the one with more flowers, but in fact, not everything is so simple.

First I want to warn you that all oil pastels are conditionally divided into two groups: for artists and amateurs. The first group will have “artist” in its name, and the second one will have “student” in its name. But not all boxes labeled “artist” live up to expectations.

What to look for when choosing? Here is the main question and the answer lies in the nuances. Quality crayons must meet the following criteria:

  • covering character, that is, light colors should overlap darker ones when applied to paper;
  • good pigmentation, that is, the color is bright, saturated and opaque;
  • when creating a drawing, it should not crumble;
  • the degree of hardness of the chalk can be different and it is better to start with medium, not quite hard, but not too soft;
  • the ability to shade the color.

Today, a hybrid of oil pastels and watercolors has appeared on sale. Such a drawing can be shaded with a brush dipped in water, and it turns out as if you were painting with watercolors.

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