10 Oil Pastel Art Ideas

Fruit Still Life



If you’re looking for a less messy, yet just as vibrant alternative art supply to paint, consider reaching for a set of oil pastels. They’re a completely dry art medium, so there’s no wait time when composing a picture with layers, but they have the blend-ability of oil or acrylic paint. Similar to crayons in form and coverage, oil pastels are the perfect option for younger artists looking to graduate from coloring books. While precise drawing using oil pastel takes a bit of practice and careful technique, it is absolutely possible. These tutorials, ranging from beginner to expert, can help you get started creating beautiful oil pastel art with ease.

  • 01 of 10

    Nature-Inspired Still Life

    Nature Still Life

    May Gibbs


    Combine an afternoon hike with arts-and-crafts time via this thoughtful idea. Scavenge interesting flowers, leaves, and twigs to bring home to recreate in oil pastel, but challenge yourself to collect only bits of nature that have already fallen from their host plant (disrupt as little as possible when engaging with nature). This is a great project for artists looking to practice color-matching or three-dimensional drawing. 

    Nature-Inspired Still Life from May Gibbs

  • 02 of 10

    Close-Up Flowers a la Georgia O’Keeffe

    Close Up Flower

    Art Lessons for Kids


    Georgia O’Keeffe’s collection of magnified florals is a classic art lesson in and of itself, so take a cue from the famous artist herself and draw your own close-up of a fresh bloom. Drawing from observation is best for this project, so have a variety of flowers available for close-up investigation. 

    Close-Up Flowers a la Georgia O’Keeffe from Art Lessons for Kids

  • 03 of 10

    Forest at Sunset

    Forest at Sunset


    Challenge yourself to study light and shadow by drawing simple landscapes at different times of day. Use warm colors to create a wooded trail at sunset or attempt to capture a sandy beach at dawn. These light study drawings provide a great excuse to explore your surroundings with a fresh new perspective at odd hours of the day (or night).

    Forest at Sunset from Hildur.K.O.

  • 04 of 10

    Cubist Portrait in the Style of Picasso

    Cubist Portrait

    Art Projects for Kids

    A great opportunity to learn (or teach kids) about cubism, this simplified portrait tutorial is accessible while maintaining a fun sense of creativity. Oil pastels are particularly suited to this project, so embrace the graphic, bold lines these media inherently want to make, and leave your drawing more sketchy than blended. 

    Cubist Portrait in the Style of Picasso from Art Projects for Kids

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Simple Fruit Still Life

    Fruit Still Life



    This helpful step-by-step still life tutorial breaks down how to layer color and shape to create a three-dimensional illusion, so it’s a great guide for artists seeking realism. 

    Pro Tip: Place a fruit bowl in an area with a defined light source, like next to a sunny window, and draw from observation for the most convincing still life drawings. 

    Simple Fruit Still Life from Homestethics

  • 06 of 10

    Desert Still Life

    Desert Still Life

    Brava Art Press


    Succulents and desert landscape, with their contrasting textures and arid color schemes, look amazing when rendered with oil pastel. This unique piece of art combines a watercolor base layer with oil pastel detailed overtop, so break out your paints to give it a try. 

    Desert Still Life from Brava Art Press

  • 07 of 10

    Cloudy Sky

    Cloudy Sky



    The next time storm clouds roll in, use the impending weather as an opportunity to capture a few reference photographs for future sky drawings. This tutorial includes a video of the artist completing the drawing, so it’s a great place to start for oil pastel beginners. 

    Cloudy Sky from Hildur.K.O.

  • 08 of 10

    Solar System Drawing

    Solar System

    Art with Mrs. Nguyen

    Not only does this project capitalize on the trendy galaxy motif, it also encourages the artist to thoughtfully consider composition. Layering oil pastel planets, stars, and moons over watercolor backgrounds gives these easy pieces of art a dynamic, balanced feeling. 

    Solar System Drawing from Art with Mrs. Nguyen

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Blended Colorful Tree

    Blended Tree

    Art Projects for Kids

    Master the ombre-effect in your drawing by focusing on blending two colors at a time with this clever project. Oil pastels are a wonderful medium for transitioning from one hue to another, so don’t hesitate to experiment with lots of different color combinations. 

    Blended Colorful Tree from Art Projects for Kids

  • 10 of 10

    Oil Pastel Resist Cityscape


    That Artist Woman

    While this unique project uses mostly watercolor paints, the skyline’s watery reflection is made by laying oil pastel down first, then painting over top. To make your buildings more three dimensional, add black shadow with pastel to one side of each tower.

    Oil Pastel Resist Cityscape from That Artist Woman