5 Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas
Canvas pastel painting - 5 Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas

There are beautiful ways to use pastel on canvas regardless of what type of pastel you are working on today. This article will break down the different yet wonderful ways to use pastels on canvas and give you helpful tips and tricks.

What are the things you need to consider when working with pastels? Are there easy yet wonderful ways to use pastels on canvas that every beginner must know? Can you use soft or chalk pastels into your painting canvas like oil pastels?

The Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas

5 Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas
Pastel on canvas – 5 Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas

One of the most underrated painting media is pastel. Though there are easy and wonderful ways to use pastels on canvas, most artists have been using oil paints or acrylics on their paintings’ surfaces. The pastels are mostly utilized in pastel paper. However, there are proven techniques and tips on how you can make the most of them on a canvas.

Their convenience and vibrant colors allow artists to enhance their skills with this painting medium, unlike oil and acrylic paints that need to be prepared and mix to get the colors you like. Pastel painting is different; you have to rearrange your colors directly into your painting surface to achieve or get the colors you want.

The ease of use that pastels offer allows the artist to experiment with them. There are different ways to achieve the right colors that you like. Because pastels are almost pure pigment, you can make sure that each stick, the more it becomes soft, the more pure pigments it is made of.

If you try to compare pastels with the easiest painting tool or medium, they can closely be compared to crayons but a lot superior. The colors that pastel offers to most artists allow them to work on pure pigments themselves. There are different ways on how you can mix pastels with other painting media.

Watercolors and chalk or soft pastels can work together. Same as watercolor and some pastel pencils to highlight your drawing or painting. However, some materials are specially designed for every painting medium. These materials can withstand what your painting medium requires.


Our Pick
Rembrandt Soft Pastels  

Made from the best quality, finely ground pure pigments
The rich color is thoroughly blended and uniform, end to end
Colors of unsurpassed glow and purity



For example, since pastel is made out of pure pigments, their adherence to the painting surface is not permanent, unlike oil paints and acrylic paints. It can be seen as a setback, but it is not.

Chalk pastels are a great way to use if you are working with drawings and sketches. Though they retain their colors for years, they are also prone to getting smudge. One of the best ways to preserve chalk pastels is by using a fixative if you are working with them. Always check the product label before you apply it to your painting surface.

Oil pastels are almost the same when it comes to oil paints. However, you cannot mix oil pastels unless you use a paint thinner. The best way to blend colors is by applying them on your painting surface and mixing them straight away. At the same time, other artists used a paintbrush for blending colors. Each painting technique varies for every artist’s style and preference.

3 Important Factors To Consider When Working With Pastel Into Canvas

5 Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas
Canvas painting with pastels – 5 Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas
  • Painting surface or canvas
  • Painting style or technique to use
  • Pastel type
  • Pressure
  • Mix medium

One of the essential factors that you have to consider when working with pastels is the painting surface. Some surfaces allow your pastel paints to hold firmly while others might cause your colors to fall because of the less tooth to hold the pigments together.

Next is what type of painting style or technique will you be using. The kind of pastel that you are working on depends on the style that you will do. For example, the layering technique is a great painting technique, to begin with, oil pastels. You can apply a significant number of color combinations of pigments and blend them.

When it comes to blending pastels, you can use your fingertips if you wanted to. Or you can use folded tissue paper of cotton swabs. Adding paint thinner can do the trick when applying pastel on the painting canvas.

There is some painting technique that requires you to preserve your painting surface. Like if you will be working with chalk or hard pastels. You will need to use fixatives or varnish to maintain the surface from getting a smear.

Sennelier Artist Oil Pastel  

50 original colors designed by Pablo Picasso & Sennelier
50 Artist quality oil pastels
Usable on wood, paper, canvas, and metal
Chosen by Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Bonnard, Soutine, Picasso, Modigliani, Kandinsky, and Dali
Best oil pastels on the market



Another thing to consider is the pressure that you use when applying your pastel on the canvas. Unlike working with watercolors or acrylics and other painting media, you will need to add extra pressure to your pastel to let them hold onto the surface.

When it comes to mixing pastels with other painting media, you have to consider the difference in composition and characteristics. There are some rules to break and some to keep. That includes mixing oil pastels with another painting medium.

Other artists do not advise mixing oil paints with oil pastels. However, some used them both together. But oil pastels have these characteristics that do not permanently dry no matter how much time it takes.

You can mix dry pastels pigments from chalk, hard, and soft pastels with watercolors and acrylics. To further understand this is to experience them personally. They will help you learn the different characteristics of each painting medium. That way you will personally know which one is s good go and which one is a no-no.

To help you secure your painting canvas or surface from stretching or getting damage while applying pressure, put on a plank of wood or cardboard underneath.

Is Canvas A Good Option As A Painting Surface For Pastels?

5 Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas
Soft pastel painting on canvas – 5 Wonderful Ways To Use Pastels On Canvas

Though pastel paper is the most required painting surface for pastel, there is always an exemption to the rule. There are different types of materials that you can use for a painting or drawing canvas. With every painting, the tool creates a variety of results. Whether you are working with charcoal or pastels, the best way to secure your designs and artwork is to seal them on the surface.

To have the best result for your painting surface with canvas, bets to prepare it first. There are different methods when it comes to pastels base on their types and kinds.

Preparing your painting canvas means you need to do a bit of work to make sure that pastels will work correctly into the painting surface. There are different ways to work on your canvas. Suppose you will be drawing with or outline on the canvas, best to wash or wet your canvas. The outline the sketched on the design that you will be working with.

It is best to always work on the lighter chalk or soft pastel color before jumping into the dark colors. You can let the white shades of your canvas stay noticed until you blend the colors. Then work on your highlights by drawing them with a darker color pastel pencil.

Suppose you will be working with oil pastels on canvas, best to use the darker colors first. Then the middle toned shades of colors, then lastly, the lightest color of oil pastels based on your reference photo.

Budget Pick
Colour Block Soft Pastel Art Set  

100 highly saturated soft pastels made with finely ground pure pigments for all your color needs.
Easily create sharp thin lines, soft bold lines, curves, and tones.

This is a brilliant set for beginners, amateur, and student artists to experiment and practice at home and in classrooms.

100 SELECTED COLOR SPECTRUM for your next landscape, portrait, seascape pastel creation.
Complete with a protective inner foam cushion to help keep your pastel collections clean and protected.



Some artists used their fingers to blend colors. However, there are some painting tools that you can use to mix your oil pastels without getting all the mess at your fingertips.

With mid-tone colors and dark colors already blend, you can work on light colors to mixed together. Then highlight your details on the painting surface once you are satisfied with your painting surface results, best to secure or protect them adequately.

You can use either a varnish or a fixative. If you do not feel about working on this, you can frame your artwork or use glassine paper to protect the pastels from getting smudged. When you use a fixative, try it first on a sample paper to help you decide if it will not affect your painting’s overall appearance.


Products we recommend

Our Pick

Rembrandt Soft Pastels

Rembrandt pastels are made from the best quality, finely ground pure pigments in an extra-fine kaolin clay binder. 



Sennelier Artist Oil Pastel

We’ve taken the original colors that Picasso chose for his color palette and put them in this lovely wooden box set.


Budget Pick

Colour Block Soft Pastel Art Set

Colour Block Soft Pastel Set -100 PC comes with a wide range of vivid colored pastels to help you highlight, shade, and blend like a pro.


Choose your favorite pastel product that you will use on your project. Don’t forget to give us a comment on the product that you use. We are happy to read your feedback.


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