I often read on the Internet that people struggle using oil pastels and that they don’t like it and they are not able to create fine detailed illustrations. However I LOVE this technique, it’s my favorite right now and it is so easy to use many different colors and to mix them on the paper. So as I mentioned in a previous post, I want to lead you trough my process of creating an illustration. It is not really a tutorial, I am no art teacher or great expert or anything, I am more of an autodidact, but I will share some ideas and tips!

After the jump you will find all the steps! Hope you enjoy and I am happy to answer any questions!

First, I chose a model/ original to work with. I work with photos that just catch my eye and have kind of a feeling or emotion to it, at least for me.
Then I chose a section I want to paint.
After that I draw with a pencil the rough outlines of the face and some special features of the face a bit more detailed, like the tip of the nose and the jaw line. This is actually the hardest part for me, I can get really really frustrated during sketching. It don’t just toss it off, I use an eraser really often. If the proportions are wrong the whole painting is wrong. But if I am happy with the sketch, the illustration is as good as done! But this would be an extra step by step post .

Next, I put the pencil away and the oil pastels come in use! Yay, the fun can start! I chose a neutral color, here grey, and just rub it all over, where later there should be shadows, darker colors or outlines. Don’t be shy, there is no right or wrong here, draw over the line really freely!

Ok, now it get’s even better. Chose your background colors (I chose turquoise and dark blue) and draw it on randomly. I don’t know if I can call that “drawing”, maybe applying, without a rule and plan, over the lines. Just everywhere, where I want shadows later, or at border lines. The painting looks a bit funny now, I guarantee you, it will look even funnier and weirder before the final version!

More colors, yes, spread it on her face, too. I rarely use “skin” colored paints, I try to avoid it and work with grey, white and different colors and apply the typical “skin” color only if needed and just here and there.

To give her a nice pink glow, I added some “rouge” and lipstick 🙂 It’s really like applying make up. I put it on and then spread it with the white oil pastel. The same for the other parts of the painting. With a white oil pastel I mix all my applied colors. Be careful to use the right direction when smudging the colors together!

Now it looks like this, all the colors I wanted applied and all smudged together and smoothed out. Don’t worry about the little oil pastel flakes. You can get rid of them later.

Wow, black lets the other colors “pop” so nicely! Be careful with using black though, at the beginning a bit less, you can always add more. And leave a space between fine details (like the face outlines), you can fill it later with a fine oil pastel pencil. I also added more color.

A bit more “blush”, green here and there in here hair and in her face and on her clothes. It will look fresher and as if her face reflects the surrounding colors and lights!

Smoothing out with white again, I use soooo much white oil pastel color. I did not have to replace any oil pastel color yet, only my white pastel.

Where is her face? Aaaawweee! Now, I will care more about the details. I use a fine oil pastel pencil (looks like a carbon pencil, but make sure it says “oil base” on it, or you cannot apply it over the oil pastel colors) just like I used the pencil in the beginning!

Much better, the face gets its final contours slowly!

End result! I applied more details with the oil pencil, added some more color, blended it out with my white oil pastel and added some “skin” color on her jaw and forehead and some more rouge. I scraped the little flakes off. To smooth them out perfectly I paint over them with a brush and turpentine. Sometimes it is just enough to go over it with a soft dry brush!

Voila, a little close up (before applying the turpentine and going over it with the brush).

You can find the original here at This Chick’s Got Style blog!

This is my first detailed step by step illustration, so ask me anything, I bet I forgot some steps or tips 🙂
Would you like a step by step illustration like this again?

Bisous and thanks for reading all this!


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