The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels

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You’d probably been wondering what is the difference between soft and oil pastels. The difference between soft and oil pastels is their adherence to the painting surface. However, since they are both made of pure pigments which gives them a rich luminous effect to the painting surface. Another difference between soft and oil pastels is the binder used in them.

What is the difference between soft and oil pastels? Can you mix other media with soft or oil pastels? Are oil pastels the same as oil sticks? Can you mix soft pastels with oil pastels? Aside from the difference between soft and oil pastel, do they have similarities?

The Difference Between Soft And Oil Pastels And Their Similarities

The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels
The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels

If you are new to pastel painting then you’d probably encountered soft pastels and oil pastels. However, if you haven’t tried both of them then that’s ok. On this article, we will learn the difference between soft and oil pastels and their similarities too.

You’d probably decided that you wanted to paint with pastel paints. Once you’ve reached the art store. You were surprised to see that there are different types of pastels. And now you are confused which one should you get for your painting medium. There are different types of pastels to choose from. You can check for a hard pastel, soft pastels, pencils, and oil pastels.

Pastels are usually made up of pure pigment and a binder in them. The difference between soft and oil pastels is the binder used in them. Soft pastels are commonly made up of pigments, chalk and gum arabic and them. While oil pastels are made up of pure pigments and a non-drying oil as the binder.

Though we can list a lot of difference between soft and oil pastels, they both produce rich, luminous and vibrant colors. One of the few similarities and difference between soft and oil pastels is they are both in a stick form. This allows the artist to easily work with them. You can simply use them directly to your painting surface or canvas. Soft pastels, on the other hand, can be mixed in water just like watercolors. You can also add wax or oil to soft pastel to create oil paints.

One great advantage of soft pastels if you can fix them with a fixative. Once that layer is dried, you can apply another paint layer. That layer of soft pastels acts as an underpainting. You can mix soft pastels with hard pastels or pencil colored pastels. These pastel types have the same composition when made. And they are perfectly great to combine together.

The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels
The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels

On the other hand with oil pastels, they cannot be mixed with other painting media. Since they are made up of pure pigments and a non-drying oil. However, they are good for final application painting surface. It is better to avoid mixing them with other media as well. If you happen to mix them with oil paints, the result will affect the drying time of oil paints. Because they are made of a binder that is non-drying mineral oil. This will affect the already slow drying time of oil paints. The good advantage oil pastels are they don’t produce any pastel dust.

Can You Mix Other Medium With Soft Or Oil Pastels?

One of the differences between soft and oil pastels is their ability to be mixed with other media. Soft pastels can be mixed with other painting media. You can use soft pastel if you are using hard chalk pastels or pencil pastels and even watercolors.

On the other hand, oil pastels cannot be mix with other painting media. Their non-drying binder affects the drying time of the media that you will be mixed with. The good thing about oil pastels is they don’t produce any pastel that may affect or harm the artist health.

The Difference and Similarities Of Oil Pastels And Oil Sticks

The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels
The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels

Another great difference between soft and oil pastels is how you will fix them. Soft pastels have the tendency to fall off. They usually need something to fix them likes fixative. On the other hand, oil pastels can adhere to the painting surface just like oil paints. Though they don’t really get dried even for the longest time like oil paints. You need fixatives for them to be cured in their painting surface.

Soft pastels produced delicate colors and hues. If you like lighter and more complex colors then soft pastel is a great choice for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a much more intense color then oil pastel is the best choice for you.

Mixing Soft Pastels With Oil Pastels

If you wanted to make soft pastels with oil pastels, that is not a good idea. Because oil pastels are made up of non-drying mineral oil that affects the drying time of media you mixed with.

Though you can mix soft pastels with other pastel types like hard or semi-soft pastels. You can also mix soft pastels with watercolors. Since soft pastels are made up water-soluble binder so they are good to mix with other media. Soft pastels are the most favorite type of pastels by artist preference. Less with the dust that they usually emit during application.

On the other hand, there are toxic-free oil pastels that are good for kids. These oil pastels are commonly used for school projects and activities. Remember that oil pastels are different from oil sticks. Oils sticks are basically oil paints that are made handy for the artist preference.

Facts About Soft Pastels And Oil Pastels

Soft pastels and oil pastels produce colors in a  painterly effect. Though there is a difference between soft and oil pastels. The colors that they produce depends on the artist preference.

Soft pastels produce delicate colors. While oil pastels produce intense colors.

The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels
The 3 Difference Between Soft and Oil Pastels

You can also check for an artist-grade or student grade pastels. Artist grade pastels usually have much more rich quality pigments with them and they are more expensive. While student grade is less expensive than artist grade. There are also limited color options for student grade paints than artist grade ones.

If you were just beginning with pastels, then you can try and experiment with student grade types of paint. Later on, when more experience then you can upgrade your paint to artist grade type. Remember that the more you are exposed to a certain painting media the more you will learn about them. Just like soft and oil pastels. knowing their difference and similarities will help you a lot to understand their composition.

There are different types of pastels in the market right now. You can choose the one that suits best your preference for painting medium. With all the different pastel types out there, definitely, there is one that will perfectly fit your lifestyle.

Knowing where soft or oil pastel works best will help you to choose the right medium for you. If you wanted to fix soft or oil pastels with a fixative. Extra precaution is always advised. Always choose the right materials to do the job. There is no shortcut on how to be a master for every painting medium. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance to be successful. You have to let yourself be exposed to the printing medium to understand it better.

There are techniques that work best for a certain artist but does not work for another one. The key factor in achieving the right technique and application is by total exposure to the paints. We do hope that this article about the difference between soft and oil pastel will help you along your journey. Have fun and enjoy painting!

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