What is the difference between oil pastels and crayons?
Oil pastels are a popular medium among artists due to their versatility, convenience, and ability to create a range of effects. But some people don't know enough about oil pastels, thinking that oil pastels are similar to crayons. In this article we mainly discuss the main differences between oil pastels and crayons and what tools are generally required to use oil pastels.

1. What is an oil pastel?

An oil pastel is composed of non-drying oils, pigments, calcium carbonate and soft wax. It has excellent softness and strong stickiness.

2.What is the difference between oil pastels and crayons?

Oil pastels and crayons look very similar, and many parents and children always confuse them, thinking that they are the same thing. In fact, they are not the same in terms of composition, hardness, and drawing effect.

(1)The difference in composition: 

Oil pastels are composed of oil, pigments, calcium carbonate and soft wax. They are soft and viscous, high temperature resistant, and relatively stable in texture.

Crayons are harder than oil pastels, and their composition is relatively simple. They are pens made by soaking paint in wax. Crayons will melt when exposed to high temperatures, and they will crack easily when dry.

(2)The difference in drawing effect:

Oil pastel is a kind of oil-based color drawing medium, with creamy texture, it can be covered and mixed, and the color is relatively bright. Since the colors of the oil pastels are opaque and can be covered, a bit like oil paints. There are many techniques of oil pastels, such as blending, and layering, color mixing, pointillism, overlaying and so on. With dilutable pigments such as watercolor gouache, you can also get particularly interesting effects.


Crayons are harder than oil pastels, and the colors are relatively less bright, so they cannot be overlaid and covered repeatedly. Many artists use it for sketching and color recording. The thin tip and slightly harder characteristics make it easier for crayons to draw detailed patterns. For children over 3 years old who are just beginning to gradually recognize visual shapes and details, crayons are very suitable for them to use and explore.

When using crayons, you can put a stack of newspapers on the drawing paper, which is more suitable for crayons. It is worth mentioning that since crayons are not resistant to high temperatures, they can create magical effects by heating them. 

In addition, compared with oil paints and watercolor paints, oil pastels are a kind of solid paint, and there is no need for preparations for color mixing or toning.


In general: Crayons and oil pastels are two painting tools with different components and different characteristics. There is no saying that one is better than the other. Their use is determined by different picture requirements.

3. Tools used when working with oil pastels


  • Your fingers
  • Palette knives
  • Paper towels
  • Tortillions
  • Blending stumps
  • Brushes
  • Linseed oil
  • Fixative spray
  • Washi tape


4. What oil pastels does Paul Rubens have?

Highly recommended oil pastels:

If you want to know more about Paul Rubens' oil pastels, feel free to click the links to learn more! If you have any questions, you can also contact us!

CrayonsNew arrivalOil pastelsPaul rubens

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