If you think that using just any kind of paper when drawing with oil pastels will yield the same results, then you need to think again. There are paper types that have rough and coarse surfaces. Others, on the other hand, come with smooth surfaces. The good news is that you can use oil pastels on both types of paper.
What is the best paper for oil pastels? This will be mostly subjective as artists will be basing their decisions on what effect they want in the end. For instance, if you will be blending colors on the paper, then the surface should be smooth. However, it should still not be so smooth that there are no ridges for the pastel to latch onto.
This article will teach you about the different kinds of paper for oil pastels, including some recommendations. Hopefully, it will help you find the one that will suit you best.
- Best Paper for Oil Pastels Reviews
- 1. BB Bachmore Oil Pastels Drawing Pad
- 2. Strathmore 300 Series Charcoal Pad
- 3. Arteza Spiral-Bound Sketch Pad
- 4. PACON UCreate Mixed Media Art Paper
- 5. Floit Papelsino Bristol Paper Sketchbook
- 6. Canson Drawing Mi-Teintes Paper Pad
- 7. Clairefontaine EXA-96016 Pastelmat
- 8. MOFUNY Oil Pastel Sketch Pad
- 9. UART M-148931 Sanded Pastel Paper
- 10. Bellofy Oil Painting Paper Pads
- What to Look For When Buying a Paper for Oil Pastels
Best Paper for Oil Pastels Reviews
1. BB Bachmore Oil Pastels Drawing Pad
Although this oil pastel pad does not have the same texture as professional-grade paper, it is still nice to use. It might be a bit smooth for my liking, but it does have its uses. I like using it for pieces that require a lot of blending and not much layering.
On that note, that does not mean that this paper cannot handle multiple layers of oil pastel. It is heavy enough that it can hold several layers of oil pastels without curling up or deteriorating. If you are a heavy-handed artist, you can work on that problem by practicing on this pad of drawing paper.
Speaking of practicing, this pad is just the right size for trying oil pastels on paper. You can throw it in your bag and start sketching whenever inspiration hits. Although this is not my style, there are a lot of artists who primarily create using a small canvas. If that is your style, then you will love this pad.
This pad also has a thick and solid backing board. It helps keep the entire pad straight regardless of the surface you are drawing on. It will even be straight when you are just holding it in your hands.
It would have been much better if only it had a lot more teeth. As it is, this paper is not that great for oil pastels, especially if your style of drawing involves layering several layers.
2. Strathmore 300 Series Charcoal Pad
Although this pad of drawing paper is ideal for charcoal drawings, the tooth is also raised enough for oil pastels. However, the tooth is not enough for heavy layering, so if that is your style, then you might not like this paper.
Speaking of the texture of the paper, it is somewhat smooth with just a bit of roughness. In my opinion, even for charcoal pencils, this drawing pad is not that good. However, I guess this pad will work if you just need something to practice.
Even though Strathmore pastel paper is meant for use with charcoal pencils, you can use other media on it and it will still look great. I have been using this pad for oil pastels and other media. This works surprisingly well with color pencils and other dry art media.
Another nice thing about this product is that it has a thick backing board. Beginner artists might not know the importance of having this, but the backing board will keep the paper straight regardless of where you place it. This pad has a thick and stiff backing board, which makes it easy to use even if you are not drawing on a table.
The only problem that I have with this drawing pad is the weak glue holding the pages together. The binding is so weak that the sheets can break off even during delivery. It also does not help that Strathmore’s packaging is not that secure. There have been a lot of reviews saying that their Strathmore drawing pads arrived seriously damaged.
3. Arteza Spiral-Bound Sketch Pad
I like drawing on black paper using oil pastels because they contrast nicely on black backgrounds and highlights also pop out more. This might not be the best choice for beginners but if you have a bit more experience at drawing using oil pastels, then you might like using black paper.
Another nice touch that I liked are the micro-perforations that make tearing off pages easier and cleaner. You do not need to rip the oil pastel paper out of the spring binding and the paper will rip out at the right size. It is not like when you are using a regular spring-bound pad where you need to trim the edge to straighten it.
The pad’s pages are also textured nicely. The paper’s tooth is also substantial enough that it can hold many layers of pastel, which I liked a lot because it makes it easier to blend colors. This is also great because it makes it easier to hide any mistakes that you make.
Another thing about this paper is that it has a substantial thickness to handle wet media like acrylic and oil paints. This is also great for drawing using soft oil pastels, which typically bleed through thin paper.
There is nothing much to complain about regarding this product. However, if I have to give one slightly negative comment, it will be that the pages have a weird smell. The smell is not that noxious and it would dissipate after a while, so it is not that big of a deal.
4. PACON UCreate Mixed Media Art Paper
If you are a teacher or have a large family with young children, you will love this product. You will be getting a huge ream containing 500 sheets of paper. On the other hand, no one can ever have too many drawing papers. Even though it is not the best quality paper, you will at least have lots of practice sheets.
If you have creative kids, you can save a lot of money by buying this large ream, instead of separate drawing pads. What I do is grab a couple of dozen sheets, stack them on top of a stiff backing board then use a bit of glue to bind the pages together. I then give these homemade drawing pads to my kids so they can have something decent to draw on.
Even though this paper is so affordable, it is pretty decent to draw on. The surface has a substantial tooth. It is also thick enough that it can handle a couple of layers of oil pastel without it curling. It does not compare to professional-grade paper, obviously, but it is decent enough.
This paper is also completely acid-free, which makes it recyclable. You do not have to worry too much about your carbon footprint. You can just throw your practice sheets into the recycle bin.
As I said earlier, this paper does not have the same quality as the top brands. This paper is just a bit thicker than your regular copy paper, so it will not be able to withstand thick layers of oil pastel. Unless you use light layers of oil pastels, you might not like using this paper for your art pieces.
5. Floit Papelsino Bristol Paper Sketchbook
This paper is made primarily with oil pastels in mind. This paper for oil pastels has a nice tooth, allowing more of the pastels to grab onto the surface. I like using it because it can hold a lot of layers, which makes color blending a whole lot easier. It also helps because I am still a bit heavy-handed and I can easily hide my mistakes.
This paper is also thick and sturdy. Unlike some of the other brands that I have used before, even regular masking tape will not damage the surface of this paper. I use quite a lot of masking tape with my artwork, so I use paper that can withstand a lot of abuse.
Speaking of durability, these sheets of drawing paper are quite thick and stiff, making them perfect for handling different kinds of art media. Other than oil pastels, I also use acrylic paints and they did not do anything with the paper. It remained flat and straight even after painting.
I also liked the fact that this paper, even though it has a lot of teeth, will prevent you from dealing with a lot of dust. I sometimes use hardware store sandpaper for drawing on, but you need to deal with a lot of “dust” from the pastels because of the rough grit. This is not a problem with this drawing paper.
I don’t have anything that I could complain about, at least nothing serious enough that would even annoy me in the slightest. It is one of the best drawing papers that you can use with oil pastels, and I highly recommend these drawing pads for anyone who wants to level up their oil pastel game.
6. Canson Drawing Mi-Teintes Paper Pad
The nice thing about this drawing pad is that the sheets have two different textured sides. One side is rather smooth while the other has a significant tooth. The coarse side is the best for pastels and other dry media because the tooth can hold onto more of the pigments compared to the smoother side.
Another nice thing about this pad of drawing paper is that you will be getting different colored sheets. What you will receive are actually four earth tones. This means you will have other choices other than just plain white and black, so you can use whatever shade that your inspiration takes you.
Speaking of the colors, they will not fade easily even when you accidentally expose them to direct sunlight. This means that your artworks will still look the way you intended them to for a very long time – that is regardless if you set them on display or stow them away.
If you are environmentally conscious, which you should be if you are not, then you will be glad to know that this pad is made of acid-free paper. This means that every piece of paper is recyclable. So, you can chuck your failed attempts into the recycling bin with a clear conscience.
What I do not like about the paper is that it is a bit too thin. Based on my experience with it, the paper would start curling up after just two layers of oil pastels. The paper’s fibers quickly absorb the oils from the pastels, making them flimsy and easier to deform.
7. Clairefontaine EXA-96016 Pastelmat
This is among the best drawing pads I have used in recent years. The paper is quite thick and stiff, almost like cardboard, and has a lot of teeth. This means that the paper can hold onto more color compared to regular smooth paper. This is great for artists who like using lots of layers of colors in their works.
The pad contains 12 sheets in four different earth tone colors. You will be getting 3 sheets each of maize, buttercup, dark grey, and light grey. Having the paper pre-colored means you do not need to prime the paper, which will cause it to deteriorate faster. You can just pick out the color that you want to use and start drawing.
Because the paper is so thick, it can easily handle different types of art media. Aside from oil pastels, I also use this paper for acrylics and sometimes watercolor pencils. Even if the paper got a bit wet, it did not deform at all. After it dries, the paper is still as flat as it was when I first started.
This paper is also archival quality. This means that it will not deteriorate as fast as other papers do, especially if you store it properly. In other words, the paper will not fade nor will it start crumbling after just a year or so. It is the type of paper that you need to use if you are going to frame and display your art.
It might be a manufacturing error and might not have affected everyone, but the dark-colored papers that I got were unevenly tinted. If you hold the dark-colored paper against the light, you will see lines going across the paper. I thought that it was just me but there were a lot of other people who experienced it.
8. MOFUNY Oil Pastel Sketch Pad
The most impressive thing about this drawing pad is that it comes with a sturdy backing board and cover. The backing is made from sturdy yet light chipboard and the cover is stiff cardboard material. They keep the sheets flat and provide a sturdy base for when you are drawing or painting.
You will also love the perforated pages as they are easier to tear off. This prevents the spring binding from getting bent out of shape, so it helps keep the sheets straight and neat. Also, this ensures that you will always have straight edges when you tear off a page. It is unlike regular spring-bound pads where you must trim off the torn edges.
The tooth pattern on each sheet is quite deep, but not so much that it takes a lot of oil pastels to make a legible mark. With that said, I love that this paper can carry a lot of layers of oil pastels. It promotes ease in combining and blending colors.
The paper itself is also quite thick, which makes it able to handle most art media. I said earlier that I use oil pastels on these papers, but I also find them useful as a base for acrylics, and oil paints. Sometimes, I also use fluorescent gel pens. This paper was able to handle all of those and can remain flat.
In terms of issues, I have none. This is, in my opinion, one of the best drawing papers for oil pastels. It might be a bit on the expensive side, but you will be getting quality drawing materials in exchange. If you can, get a pad or two of this paper and give it a try.
9. UART M-148931 Sanded Pastel Paper
There are a couple of nice things about this paper – one of which is the consistent tooth. It does feel like sandpaper but not as abrasive even though the grit is somewhat coarse. There are no areas that have less grit than the rest. There are also no patches where there is too much.
This paper is thick and the tooth is big so you can underpaint it if you wish. Even after underpainting, the tooth allows the paper to still accept layers of pastel without deforming. This paper can also accept other art media, even watercolors.
You can also choose from different tooth sizes, depending on your medium and the kind of effect you are after. If you are using pastels, I would suggest getting the ones with bigger grit sizes. This will allow more color application.
If this will be the first time you will be using pastels, this paper is a rather good choice. This paper is more affordable than some of the other sanded papers, but you will still get the kind of effect.
This product would have been the perfect drawing paper for pastels if it were not for the fact that it tends to curl up. Although there are ways to keep it flat during the drawing process, it does get a little tiring after a while. In addition, the packaging of this paper is horrible. It does not help at all with the curling problem.
10. Bellofy Oil Painting Paper Pads
This is one of the more affordable brands of drawing paper that you can find on the market now. However, that does not necessarily mean that it is not quite as good as the more expensive brands. This paper is thick, has a nice tooth pattern, and can hold several layers of oil pastels without any issues.
Aside from oil pastels, I have tried using this paper with other art media and they worked well. Some even work better than others. This paper is thick enough and has enough teeth to hold several layers of pastel without deforming. However, if you will be framing your work anyway, then this would not be much of an issue.
Another reason why I love using this paper when working with oil pastels and colored pencils is that it has a consistent and rather large tooth. This allows more material to latch onto the paper. It also promotes ease in blending and fading colors into each other.
The backing board is also solid and stiff. It does a good job of holding the sheets straight regardless of where you are drawing. I often use this pad when I am doing impromptu sketches so I need to draw while holding this with one hand. The backing board gives the paper a good base.
I have no problem using this drawing pad for practice, but I usually use another paper for serious oil pastel drawings. The paper is thick, but it is not as dense as my other drawing papers. This lets the oils from the pastels bleed into the fibers, causing a “halo” to appear.
What to Look For When Buying a Paper for Oil Pastels
If you think that just any old paper will do when drawing with oil pastels, then you need to think again. Here are some pointers that you can use to guide you in the right direction when shopping for drawing paper.
The “tooth” of paper is the texture on its surface. If you are working with oil pastels, you do not want to use perfectly smooth paper. It is much better to use paper that has a tooth. This way, the oil pastels have something to hold onto, allowing you to layer more colors on top of each other.
Some of the best drawing papers have a surface that almost feels like sandpaper, but grit does not feel rough at all.
A good drawing paper is heavier than the regular. Some are almost like cardboard. The reason why you need heavier-weight paper is they are less likely to deform even after you put layers of pastels on it. Typically, watercolor paper for oil pastel can also work with oil pastels.
This will be subjective, or it will depend on what mood you are trying to depict. You can choose from an assortment of drawing paper colors but the most common are white and black. You can use drawing paper that is off-white, dull yellow, light brown, and other earth tones.
If you are a newbie at oil pastel drawings, you might be surprised at how expensive professional-grade drawing paper is. If you are just beginning, you may just want to settle for the affordable pads and yet still have passable quality.
These are a bit harder to find. However, it is better than spending an insane amount of money on expensive paper just for practicing.
The paper you use for oil pastel drawings will greatly affect how the final product will look, so you need to choose wisely. More often than not, you will be getting what you paid for. However, certain brands of paper have nearly the same quality as the top brands but at a fraction of the price.
You might not understand it right now, but using the best paper for oil pastels will drastically improve your art game.