Oil Pastel is a painting medium much similar to crayons. They are however different from soft pastel sticks which are made with a gum or methyl cellulose binder, oil pastels are made of pigment mixed with a non-drying oil and wax binder. The non drying wax binder makes the surface of oil pastel painting less powdery, but more difficult to protect with a fixative.
History of Oil Pastel
The new education policy of Post World War I Japan led to the invention of Oil Pastel. The Japanese government decided that children of Japan needed a new medium to express their creativity. Oil pastels were an immediate commercial success and other manufacturers were quick to take up the idea, such as Dutch company Talens, who began to produce Panda Pastels in 1930. Yet, none of these can even come close to the prefssionally manufacture oil pastel available in the market today.
Oil Pastel- The Medium
Oil pastels like crayons are used in their dry forms. Light oil pastel strokes produce a crayon like effect. Heavy strokes can create an almost impasto effect. One can apply different oils on the surface of an oil paste painting to create a glitzy effect Alternatively, the drawing surface can be oiled before drawing or the pastel itself can be dipped in oil. More often than not it is the surface on which oil pastels are painted that creates a dramatic effect. Paper is the most popular surface but oil pastels can be used on other surfaces including wood, metal, masonite, canvas and glass. Paper companies make papers specifically for pastels that are suitable for use with oil pastels.
Since oil pastels are a relatively new invention, the effects of dust and light on oil pastel works is not yet known but most specialist agree that this is durable enough to last for generations.