14 Best Paper For Oil Pastels To Create Stunning Artworks In 2021

Best Paper For Oil Pastels

There are few things as satisfying as creating a masterpiece with oil pastels. The smooth texture and rich pigment allow you to create beautiful works of art that will last for generations. However, the paper you use is just as important as the pastel itself because it can affect how much color you get on your brush, which affects how vibrant your work of art is. That's why we've put together this article: to help artists like yourself find the best paper for oil pastels.

Our Top Picks

Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad
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Best Overall - Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad

Acid-free
6 tints in one pad
Textured surface to aid in blending

Bachmore Mixed Media Drawing Pad
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Best White Pastel Paper - Bachmore Mixed Media Drawing Pad

Works for various media
Acid-free paper
30-day money-back guarantee

Best for Neon Oil Pastels - Faber-Castell Black Paper Pad

Heavyweight paper
Made from 50% post-consumer materials
Acid-free paper

1. Speedball Sanded Pastel Paper

Speedball Sanded Pastel Paper
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 Pros Cons
  • 100% cotton, archival paper
  • Double-primed with aluminum oxide coating
  • Medium grit
  • Assorted colors
  • Accepts multiple layers of pastel
  • Some artists think the grit is too fine
  • Does not work well for other oil pastel brands

What Customers Have to Say

Artists who have tried this pastel pad think it's a great pad that holds many layers of pastel. It has a nice grit and can take wet underpainting without any buckling.

Why We Think It's Great

The double-primed surface of the Speedball Pastel Paper allows for more layers and provides the sturdiness needed when working with wet media, especially when underpainting. It is 100% cotton and is acid-free; therefore, it has archival properties, so you need not worry about the quality of your papers for oil pastels.

The pad has 6 sheets, measuring 12x16 inches, and weighs 145lb (310gsm). Included in the pad are white in fine and medium grit. Other colors are buff, terracotta, slate, and Italian clay, all in medium grit.

Who Should Buy It

This pad is an excellent choice for professional artists acquainted with the nuances of sanded paper.

2. UCreate Mixed Media Art Heavyweight Paper

UCreate Mixed Media Art Heavyweight Paper
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 Pros Cons
  • Natural white
  • Acid-free
  • Medium tooth
  • Recyclable
  • Does not bleed
  • Does not take wet underpainting well


What Customers Have to Say

Buying paper for many artists at the local art store is a hassle, so they prefer buying them from online stores because they get good reviews. UCreate is good enough as a watercolor paper and oil pastel paper, and it's also very affordable; some of the features that artists love on these pastel papers.

UCreate Mixed Media Art Heavyweight Paper

Why We Think It's Great

This heavyweight, natural white paper is the perfect way to try out oil pastels without putting any strain on your wallet. The pack contains 500 sheets of acid-free 9x12" paper. 

It has a medium tooth structure to provide the right texture for your projects. You may use it as watercolor paper, though you have to be careful of taping it to prevent buckling and warping.

Who Should Buy It

This heavyweight paper is best for beginner and intermediate artists looking for bulk paper for practice projects.

3. Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad - Best Overall

Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • Acid-free
  • 6 tints in one pad
  • Suitable for other pastel mediums
  • Textured surface to aid in blending
  • Dual-purpose backboard
  • Paper detaches itself from the pad
  • No dark colors


What Customers Have to Say

Many users find the pastel paper to their liking. If you love doing underpainting with wet media, though, you have to add only soft washes. Others wished it included dark colors since the pas included are mostly light.

Why We Think It's Great

The Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad belongs to the brand's 400 series, recommended for advanced artists. The pad includes 24 sheets of 9x12-inch paper in 6 tints, each tint having 4 sheets. Those familiar with the Strathmore 400 for watercolors may deem this paper thinner at only 80lb (118gsm), but this thickness is enough for oil pastel drawing.

The paper is archival and has a medium tooth, enough to grab the pigments of oil pastels. You may use the thick backing as a sketch board, so you have something to support your paper.

Who Should Buy It

The Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad is an excellent pad of pastel paper suitable for beginner and professional artists.

4. Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper Pad

Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • 50% pulp-dyed, cotton paper
  • Dual surface & texture
  • Lightfast paper
  • Acid-free
  • Glassine insert
  • Packaging does not reflect the paper color
  • Not enough texture

What Customers Have to Say

The paper has dual surfaces with a different texture on each side. One side is smoother, while the other side is much more textured. The glassine inserts are more than welcome for protecting the pastel drawings.

Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper Pad

Why We Think It's Great

This pad is made with 50% pulp-dyed cotton and has an extra smooth surface that's great for all kinds of media. The dual surface also allows you to choose between two different textures – one that's smoother than other oil pastel papers and another that gives your work more texture. 

It's acid-free, so you won't have to worry about your work yellowing with time. The top wire-bound pastel paper pad has 16 sheets with glassine paper inserts, perfect for protecting your oil pastel projects from smudging during the storage side.

Who Should Buy It

Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper Pad is the perfect paper pad for anyone who loves drawing, sketching, or painting. Also, this pad is best for newbie artists who want an affordable paper to use for practice.

5. Papelsino Oil Pastel and Mix Media Paper

Papelsino Oil Pastel and Mix Media Paper
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 Pros Cons
  • 100% FSC-sourced paper
  • Chlorine-free and acid-free
  • No color distortion
  • No heavy metals
  • 135lb (200gsm) natural white paper
  • Works best for pro-grade oil pastels



What Customers Have to Say

Papelsino users are happy with it since they can use it for various dry, dry mediums. Unlike other pastel paper, this one is smoother, thus producing a smooth finish on their oil pastel art.

Papelsino Oil Pastel and Mix Media Paper

Why We Think It's Great

Papelsino Oil Pastel and Mix Media Paper is perfect for your oil pastels, charcoal, or graphite drawings. It is from 100% FSC-sourced paper, chlorine, and acid-free. It has a 135lb (200gsm) natural white paper that won't fade over time. You can even use this paper for watercolors without worrying about any bleed-through.

It has a vellum surface, so it is smoother than other pastel papers. Artists love it because of the smooth finish of the oil pastel on it. This paper for oil pastels is easier to blend, and because it is chlorine-free, the colors remain vibrant.

Who Should Buy It

We recommend this oil pastel paper for artists who prefer a smoother surface for their paper.

6. Bachmore Mixed Media Drawing Pad - Best White Pastel Paper

Bachmore Mixed Media Drawing Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • Top spiral bound
  • Acid-free paper
  • Natural white paper
  • Works for various media
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Bleeds when used for other mediums
  • Not enough texture

What Customers Have to Say

The Bachmore Mixed Media Drawing Pad is a high-quality paper thick enough for oil pastels at 122lb (180gsm) and other mediums, except oils. The paper bleeds when you use oils, but artists recommend detaching it from the pad to prevent bleeding.

Why We Think It's Great

The Bachmore Mixed Media Drawing Pad is great for pencils, pens, markers, pastels, or charcoal. The sheets are micro-perforated for easy detaching, measuring 9x12 inches. It's also acid-free, so you can use it with watercolors or acrylic paints without worrying about damaging your artwork. 

The pad has 60 sheets of smooth, natural white paper bound at the top using a double wire spring. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don't feel comfortable with this pastel paper.

Who Should Buy It

This pastel pad is an excellent practice pad for amateurs and professionals. It is thicker than other oil pastel paper brands, so you can use it for different mediums.

7. U.S. Art Supply Premium Pastel Paper Pad

U.S. Art Supply Premium Pastel Paper Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • Acid-free
  • 4 natural color tones per pad
  • Works for mixed media projects
  • Very affordable
  • Responsive customer service
  • Not true to size
  • Slick paper surface

What Customers Have to Say

Many artists love to have U.S. Art Supply Premium Pastel Paper Pad in their studio. It has adequate thickness for oil pastels, and the natural tone of the pastel paper makes it easy to skip underpainting and still get the result you want.

Why We Think It's Great

U.S. Art Supply premium pastel paper pad is a great way to start your next oil pastel project. It's acid-free and works well with mixed media projects. Each pad has 16 sheets of 80lb (180gsm) paper in 4 different natural tones - beige, white, gray, and cream. 

It can take on dry mixed media and several layers of oil pastel, graphite, colored pencils, charcoal, and other media. The pads are also very affordable, so you don't have to worry much about budget when you want a quality oil pastel paper to use for practice.

Who Should Buy It

Beginner artists will put these pastel pads to good use with all the practice they have to do to perfect their oil pastel art.

8. Mungyo Professional Pastel Paper Pad

Mungyo Professional Pastel Paper Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • 25% cotton content
  • Woven textured finish
  • Acid-free
  • 5 colors in one set
  • Holds many layers of pastel
  • Surface is too rough
  • Blends poorly

What Customers Have to Say

According to many artists, this pastel paper rivals even the more expensive brand, and they work for both soft pastel and oil pastel. One artist who is new to oil pastels says that this is the best brand he has tried.

Why We Think It's Great

Mungyo Professional Pastel Paper Pad is a set of five different colors (cream, rose, almond, gray, and powder) in one pad. Each pad has 30 sheets of A4-sized pastel paper in 98lb (160gsm) paperweight.

The paper has 25% cotton content, is acid-free, and has a woven textured finish that holds many layers of pastel. The pastel pad is also available in white and dark colors (coffee, anthracite, blue night, and black sheets).

Who Should Buy It

This high-quality product is something any artist would love with its highest standard and affordable price point.

9. Faber-Castell Black Paper Pad - Best for Neon Oil Pastels

Faber-Castell Black Paper Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • Heavyweight paper
  • Acid-free paper
  • Made from 50% post-consumer materials
  • 25 sheets per pad
  • Vibrant results
  • Some colors won't show
  • Not much texture

What Customers Have to Say

Users think this pad gives good value for your money, and they love the true black tone of this pastel pad.

Why We Think It's Great

The Faber-Castell Black Paper Pad is heavyweight paper made from 50% post-consumer materials. It has 25 sheets per pad, measuring 9x12 inches. With soft pastels, oil pastels, and chalk pastels, the paper's true black tone delivers brilliant effects. They are also acid-free, so you're sure of the quality of your oil pastels work.

Aside from your oil pastel art, you can also use them for all your art projects, scrapbooking, doodling with metallic pens, or cardmaking. At 110gsm, you get enough thickness for your projects.

Who Should Buy It

Any oil pastel artist who loves working with neon pastels will appreciate these paper pads.

10. Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad

Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • Works for both dry and wet mediums
  • Takes soft wash underpainting
  • Enough texture for easier blending
  • 98lb (160gsm paper)
  • Travel size
  • Paper falls off easily from the wire binding
  • Does not take watercolor wash well

What Customers Have to Say

Beginner artists love that the sketchbook is affordable enough to give them enough paper for their practice projects. Some buyers purchased this pad repeatedly because they appreciate how it takes on several mediums.

Why We Think It's Great

Canson XL Series Mix Paper Pad is the perfect travel size (5.5 x 8.5 inches) for your next painting adventure. The wire-bound sketchbook has 60 sheets, is lightweight, and is easy to carry around, so you can take it with you wherever you go.

The paper is thick enough (98lb/160gsm) that it won't buckle under pressure from a wet medium like watercolors or acrylics, but soft enough that it works well with dry media too. However, be careful when adding soft watercolor underpainting as it does not absorb the water well.

Who Should Buy It

This sketchbook is best for artists looking for paper for oil pastels that they can bring on their travels.

11. Sennelier Oil Pastel Pad

Sennelier Oil Pastel Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • Bright white paper
  • Acid-free
  • Textured surface
  • 160lb (340gsm)
  • Specific for oil pastels
  • Expensive
  • Blending can be difficult

What Customers Have to Say

These are excellent quality oil pastel papers with a glassine paper between sheets to prevent the oil pastels from smudging. They also hold the colors well.

Why We Think It's Great

The Sennelier Oil Pastel Pad is bright white, so your colors remain vibrant. It is also acid-free, so it won't yellow over time. Its textured surface allows for easier layering of your colors.

There won't be any guessing game when you pick up this specially-designed pad for oil pastels. With 160lb (340gsm), it is heavier than most oil pastel papers, so you can use wet underpainting to tone your paper.

Glassine insert between sheets keeps your oil pastel painting from smudging and prevents the oil from seeping to other pages and damaging your work. It is also available in 11.75x15-inch and 15.75x23.5-inch pads.

Who Should Buy It

Professional artists prefer the creamy texture and the bright white paper of Sennelier Oil Pastel Pad for their oil pastel paintings.

12. Arteza Black Sketch Pad

Arteza Black Sketch Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • Micro-perforated and spiral-bound
  • 90lb (160gsm) black paper
  • Immediate contrast
  • Quality top binding
  • Takes on white and light-colored oil pastels
  • Dry media only
  • Smooth texture

What Customers Have to Say

Most artists love the sturdy binding, especially if they want to keep their work into the sketchbook, though the sheets are also easy to remove with the micro-perforated lines. One artist used it with gouache, and it worked fine, even if the manufacturer recommends it for dry mediums only. 

Why We Think It's Great

Arteza Black Paper Sketch Pad is a high-quality sketch pad with 30 sheets suitable for graphite, charcoal, oil pastels, gel pens, ink, and chalk. The 9x12-inch sheets are true to size, measured from the micro-perforation, so you get the right size for your work.

The 90lb (160gsm) black paper immediately takes on white and light-colored oil pastels, making your work pop without needing an underwash.

Arteza is also good at testing their products as the owners are also artists, so they understand how artists think and behave. As such, you can send them complaints, and the very responsive customer service representative will address your concerns.

Who Should Buy It

Artists who want to try a different paper will find Arteza the best oil pastel paper for their light-colored oil pastels, colored pencils.

13. Strathmore Artagain Recycled Drawing Pad

Strathmore Artagain Recycled Drawing Pad
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 Pros Cons
  • Muted colors for oil pastels
  • Contains 30% recycled paper
  • Acid-free
  • Fiber-enhanced paper
  • 6 tints in one pad of 24 sheets
  • Thin (60lb/106gsm)
  • Not for underpainting

What Customers Have to Say

Oil pastel artists love the size because they can easily cut them up if they want smaller sheets for cards, bookmarks, etc. The different tones also help, so you don't need to underpaint these art pads.

Strathmore Artagain Recycled Drawing Pad

Why We Think It's Great

Strathmore Artagain Recycled Drawing Pad has 24 sheets for every pad, with 4 sheets to every color (6 tones in one pad). The muted colors help make the oil pastels pop out, and though they don't have enough tooth, the oil pastel still adheres well on the paper.

Who Should Buy It

This pad is the best oil pastel paper for an environment-conscious artist because of the post-consumer fibers added to these pads. It is an excellent paper for beginner oil pastel work.

14. Clairefontaine Pastelmat

Clairefontaine Pastelmat
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 Pros Cons
  • Thick (360gsm)
  • 12 sheets of different colors
  • Grabs oil pastel well
  • Takes on many layers without issues
  • Evenly textured paper
  • Works only for dry techniques
  • Expensive

What Customers Have to Say

Many oil pastel artists love this paper, and a few of them posted images of their art done using this paper, and they were awesome! Others even said this pastel mat is essential for every oil pastel artist because you can layer your colors with very little dust.

Why We Think It's Great

Unlike other pastel pads, Clairefontaine chose to use thick (360gsm) paper so you can underpaint with watercolors and still won't suffer any issues with the surface.

The texture of this paper is very even, so it grabs on oil pastel well, with few dusts even when used with soft pastels. The oil pastel paper pad has 12 sheets of 18 x 24 cm paper (7x9.44 inches) in 12 different colors.

Who Should Buy It

We suggest that advanced or professional oil pastelists try this high-quality oil pastel paper to perfect their oil pastel techniques. Not recommended for student artists because of the stiff price.

Oil Pastel Paper Buying Guide

Compatibility

Always check the label on the packaging to know the compatibility of your paper for oil pastels. Most manufacturers are very specific on what medium you can use on paper. One important aspect of oil pastel paper is that it does not bleed, smudge, or smear. 

Paper Weight & Thickness

Go for at 160gsm to 300gsm to prevent the oil pastels from bleeding on the other side of the paper. You can control the extent of bleeding, smudging, or smearing with thicker papers, especially if you go over 350-450gsm. For practice activities, however, 80gsm is good enough. 

Texture

Some oil pastel papers are smooth, while others are sanded. The texture usually depends on the preference of the users.  Rougher surfaces allow you to add thicker layers of oil pastels, such as impasto, while smoother surfaces allow for easier oil pastel blending. Try which oil pastel technique works on which surface to work to get the finish you want. 

Size & Color

Oil pastel papers are available in various sizes. For beginners, we recommend smaller sizes, and for professionals, you can go for bigger sizes. The standard size is 9x12 inches, but you can cut this size if you want a smaller size. 

Oil pastel papers are available in various colors, usually neutrals, earth tones, subtle tones, and grays. The most common is off-white, but we also have black pastel paper, which is best for applying metallic and neon pastels

Oil Pastel Paper FAQ

1. Can you use oil pastels on regular paper?

Yes. However, since regular paper doesn't have many teeth compared with oil pastel paper, you won't layer your colors well. You may also use oil pastel on glass, wood, canvas, plastic, and even rocks. Take extra caution as oil pastel doesn't fully dry.

2. Which GSM paper is better for oil pastel?

Oil pastels are a great way to create colorful, intricate art. The higher the weight of your paper and the thicker it is, the more vibrant colors will come out in this medium. Oil pastels need a lot of blending, so you should get the minimum recommended weight of at least 160gsm.

3. Can you erase oil pastel?

Yes, but remember these tips:

  • Brush off as much as you can from the oil pastel. Do not blend unless you are happy with the result, or you may end up having nothing to do with him.
  • Use a kneaded eraser. It is every artist's tool to help correct your mistakes.
  • Use white spirit on a piece of cloth to gently remove the colors from the paper.

4. Is oil pastel safe on skin?

Generally, yes. Most oil pastels sold in the US market are non-toxic. However, it is always best to wash your hands before you handle food. Otherwise, you may wear a nitrile glove.

5. How do you seal oil pastels?

Use acrylic fixative, matte medium, or gloss gel to protect your oil pastels. However, fixing your painting with acrylic fixative doesn't fully protect your painting from scratches. Matte medium leaves a streaky finish on your oil pastel painting, and like acrylic fixative, you can still scratch through it.

The best fixative to use for sealing your works is the gel medium. It is very glossy, though, but it prevents scratching on your oil pastel project. If you don't want to apply fixatives, you can also frame your work. 

Conclusion

How did you find this review? If you haven't decided at this point, here are our top picks for this review. For the best overall, we choose Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad as it's acid-free, has 6 tones in one pad, and has a well-textured surface for better blending of your oil pastels.

Bachmore Mixed Media Drawing Pad gets our vote as the best white pastel paper as it carries a 30-day money-back guarantee; no questions asked, so it's a no-risk purchase. Lastly, Faber-Castell Black Paper Pad is a perfect choice for artists who love to use neon oil pastels. They have a good weight and are acid-free even if it comes from 50% post-consumer materials.

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