Best Paper For Oil Pastels For Student & Professional Artists

Michael Daly
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If you're ready to become a serious artist or you just want to give your oil pastel artwork a professional and handmade touch, then you'll want to use the best paper for oil pastels.

Paintings made with oil pastels can be a piece of art. The use of paper for oil pastels is essential as a paper that is suited well can make a piece of art that is almost indistinguishable from a painting made with more traditional oils, watercolor, acrylics or other mediums.

When choosing paper, quality is important and you'll want to put some thought into the type of paper you select as different types of paper provide texture, weight, sizing, surface smoothness, and slickness, etc.

If you are deciding to start, then here are our best paper for oil pastels to help you choose the best paper for your oil pastel art.

We will save you a lot of time by providing a list of best paper for oil pastels and also providing our in-depth reviews of each paper.

CANSON Mi-Teintes Pastel PadBest OverallCANSON Mi-Teintes Pastel Pad
Strathmore 400 Series Pastel PadBudget PickStrathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad
Sennelier D'artigny Oil Pastel Sprayfix 400mlUpgrade PickSennelier D'artigny Oil Pastel Sprayfix 400ml

1. CANSON Mi-Teintes Pastel Pad

Our rating: 9 / 10

CANSON Mi-Teintes Pastel Pad

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  • Variety of color choices
  • Work of high quality
  • Value for money


  • Can be a little thin in places
  • Difficult to find in smaller sizes

Canson is a classic company in the paper industry, and is known for making some of the best paper for oil pastels that money can buy. Their range of Mi-Teintes Graded pastel paper is excellent for the needs of an oil pastel artist, as the surface is easy to work with, and easy to get a good brush load.

The pads are supplied with flap covers that are designed to protect the sheets while in use. The paper surface is really smooth, and you can buy in three different sizes. These are 9"x12", 14"x17", and 18"x24".

While Canson's range of Mi-Teintes does work well for many artists, we know that not everyone will want to invest in a full pack of paper, and that's where other brands come in handy. Let's have a look at some of them in a bit more detail.

2. Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad

Our rating: 9 / 10

Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad

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  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • The soft bristles don’t create indentations in the papers
  • Offer double the value of other products
  • Perfect for a beginner level artist
  • Great quality paper
  • Allows for many creative possibilities
  • Makes a great gift idea for the artist in your life
  • Pads include 18 sheets of mixed light-to-medium tones, 6 sheets of mid-tone colors, and 6 sheets of dark mid-tones.

Watercolor paper is a great medium to use for practicing fine art. It’s durable and can take the necessary wear and tear, but it’s also light enough to easily transport and store.

On top of that, with this product, you can a wide variety of color immediately. Since you don’t need to unwrap each one, you can take it to the next level of your art. You can mix your colors together and create your own unique shades. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience.

3. U.S. Art Supply 9" x 12" Premium Pastel Paper Pad

Our rating: 9 / 10

U.S. Art Supply 9" x 12" Premium Pastel Paper Pad

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  • Matte surface makes it ideal for pencil, charcoal, pastel, and collage
  • Comes with a sturdy cardboard back to prevent warping or curling
  • Multiple natural colors
  • Can be attached to a canvas
  • Perforated sheets
  • Even surface texture

Pastels are often used along with other media to incorporate rich color into a piece. Oil pastels are unique because you can blend them with each other to produce the perfect hue. Finding the right paper to work with them is essential to getting the best painting outcomes, and that's why we like this synthetic paper pad from U.S. Art Supply.

The U.S. Art Supply synthetic paper pad is manufactured in a proprietary method that's great for oil pastels. It's made from 100% synthetic, acid-free paper. The paper features an extra-flat surface that's ideal for pastel media.

It's also made specifically to provide enhanced color and lightfastness. The surface texture is extremely smooth which makes cleanup extremely easy. It's also great for pencil, charcoal, or collage work. You can easily attach mounts to the paper and use them as a canvas.

4. Sennelier D'artigny Oil Pastel Sprayfix 400ml

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sennelier D'artigny Oil Pastel Sprayfix 400ml

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  • Relaxed colors
  • Easy to blend
  • Quick and effective application
  • Spray cans are fairly convenient
  • Brushes can cover a large surface area
  • Gives a durable finish


  • It takes some time to get used to the spraying system
  • The spray cans can be a bit messy while in use if you don't adjust it properly
  • Removal can be difficult

When it comes to oil pastel spray paints, we highly recommend these ones from Sennelier. They're some of the best on the marked if you want a quick and easy to apply finish.

The Sennelier oil pastel spray is a refined product that doesn't require vigorous rubbing to blend, so it lets you create a fresh look quickly. It's also good for combining two colors and still keep a smooth gradient.

The only downside is that it's on the pricier side compared to other comparable products. You’ll only get a limited color range as well, which is a deal breaker for some artists.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is watercolor paper good for oil pastels?

There are many types of paper in the market today. While most artists recommend using good quality sketching paper for oil pastels, it is also possible to use watercolor papers. You can buy watercolor paper in small sizes for practice. If you want to paint larger, using watercolor paper is possible.

However, watercolor papers are not as porous as sketching papers and therefore blotchy colors or uneven layers could be a problem when working with oil pastels. Oil pastels are also susceptible to water when working on watercolor paper.

What paper do professional artists use?

Most professional, hobby, and student oil artists prefer cool-tone papers, but this preference is due, in large part, to how traditional media has been produced and used. Uncoated paper manufacturers and distributors have happily supplied the paper world with an assortment of papers, from extra white to very warm in tone. Artists tended to respond to each other, and so, the use of cool-tone papers increased.

But, this is no longer the case.

Now, with the advent of computer technology, programs for graphics design, and the development of synthetic paper, artists can follow their own instinct and create, not react to others. What kind of paper you use depends heavily on your own personal creative process, a process that often varies from one artist to another.

Can you use oil pastels on acrylic paper?

Yes. Oil sticks can be used on either side of the dual surface.

Acrylic surface is a bit more blotchy, particularly when you don’t use a fixative over it (and I never use one) because it’s a bit more absorbent. But it’s sturdy and nice to paint on.

I find it sometimes takes a couple passes to cover the acrylic surface, but otherwise it does really well. Use a good erasing tool (not one of those cheap ones, please!) to take out some of the oil sticks and then do another pass immediately after. Either way, sometimes it takes several passes to cover the surface completely.

But SO worth it! Oil pastels are the best.


Oil pastels, which are composed of hardened, melted oils, have a long tradition of both technical innovation and artistic exploration. They have their origin, like many art mediums, in antiquity, with sources from as far back as the Stone Age. Oil pastels rival the miniatures usually drawn by pencils and crafted by paintbrushes as the art world’s primary tools for portraiture, illustration, art studies, and landscape. They are compared to oil paints in color range, luminosity, texture, and longevity.

Our Recommendation

CANSON Mi-Teintes Pastel PadBest OverallCANSON Mi-Teintes Pastel Pad
Strathmore 400 Series Pastel PadBudget PickStrathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad
Sennelier D'artigny Oil Pastel Sprayfix 400mlUpgrade PickSennelier D'artigny Oil Pastel Sprayfix 400ml