If you haven’t yet heard about Pentel oil pastels, you are in for a treat! It is probably the cheapest yet one of the most favorite oil pastels for drawing and gradient backgrounds! In this Pentel oil pastels review I would like to give these amazing pastels credit and show what they are.
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Pentel Arts Oil Pastels Characteristics
Pentel is known for its ball and gel pens but 70 years ago in Japan, the brand was created not only to produce pens but also affordable yet great quality art supplies. Pentel supplies are all produced in different countries from Taiwan to Mexico. Pentel oil pastels are proudly made in Thailand where I actually bought them 🙂
Note that those are student-grade pastels, not professional artist-grade oil pastels like Sennelier or Holbein, yet being student-grade they are still impressively good, especially if you consider the price!
The exact set I tested
- 12 vivid, bright colors
- Smooth creamy texture
- Good for blending
- Work great on paper, canvas, and boards
- Acid-free, non-toxic, humidity-resistant, no smell
- Compact packaging, good for traveling
- Long-lasting, lightfast.
- Made in Thailand
In fact, Pentel Art also produces metallic oil pastels and fluorescent oil pastels that work nicely on black paper.
My Detailed Pentel Oil Pastels Review
Pentel oil pastels are affordable vivid pastels that are great for beginners, kids, or adults. They are non-toxic and are made of pigment mixed with an oil binder and wax (that’s why we have this waxy feeling on our fingers when we touch them).
On Amazon, there are more than 28,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews and these oil pastels are absolute bestsellers there! They are ranked higher than another oil pastel I use – Cray-Pass.
Quick note: soft pastels can crumble while hard pastels have wax in them and don’t crumble. Normally soft/hard is not applicable to oil pastels as it is a pastel type on its own, but if you are new to oil pastels, they will feel more like hard pastels yet they are still easy to apply, creamy, and velvety. Some soft oil pastels can form a crust when dry, Pentel pastels don’t have that.
My Total score 9.8/10
- Package – 10/10
- Colors 10/10
- Blending 10/10
- Price 10/10
- Application 9/10
Note that I evaluating them as student-grade oil pastels, for beginners, I’m giving 9 for the application only because I felt like with short strokes and lines they could’ve done better, but it absolutely can be my lack of skills!
I saw the review on Youtube that says they smell. Mine 12 colors don’t smell. You can only detect a light waxy smell if you will sniff the stick right next to your nose. I don’t think this can cause any issues.
These oil pastels come in a simple firm cardboard box with plastic molding inside so each color can be stored separately from the others. It is very important, as oil pastels can leave marks on each other.
The box has a transparent window so you can see all colors through 🙂 They are very compact, you can see the box compared to my hand (I have small hands).
However, you can also see this packaging:
From my understanding, these pastels are mainly produced in Thailand but sometimes on Amazon it says that it is US made.
My oil pastel set has only 12 colors – the smallest pastel set by Pentel. I would most definitely buy 50 colors set if I wasn’t traveling as these brilliant colors are diverse, vibrant, and simply very decent for blending!
Said to be lightfast but as a student-grade oil pastel they do fade a little bit over time.
Pentel oil pastels 12 colors
White, lemon yellow, pale orange, orange, pale blue, cobalt blue, red, brown, yellow-green, green, black, and gray.
Great for start, for travel.
Pentel oil pastels 16
White, lemon yellow, pale orange, orange, pale blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine, red, brown, Vandyke brown, Yellow ochre, yellow-green, green, pink, black, and gray.
Pentel oil pastels 25
White, lemon yellow, chrome yellow, yellow-orange, pale orange, orange, pale blue, cobalt blue, Prussian blue, ultramarine, Vermilion, red, pale brown, brown, Vandyke brown, Yellow ochre, yellow-green, deep green, green, green-grey, pink, purple, old rose, black, and gray.
Pentel oil pastels 36
White, lemon yellow, chrome yellow, yellow-orange, pale orange, orange, pale blue, cobalt blue, Prussian blue, ultramarine, ultramarine light, Vermilion, pale Vermilion, red, Crimson lake, pale brown, brown, Vandyke brown, Yellow ochre, Ochre, yellow-green, deep green, green, green-grey, pale green, blue-green, pink, Hyacinth violet, purple, old rose, black, yellow gray, and 2 shades of gray.
Pentel oil pastels in 50 colors
The 50 colors within this best oil pastels in terms of value-for-money set are: White (I believe 2 sticks), Naples yellow, lemon yellow, yellow, chrome yellow, 2 shades of pale orange, yellow-orange, orange, salmon pink, pale vermillion, pink, old rose, rose Madder, Scarlet, vermillion, blue-green, red, deep green, Hyacinth violet, purple, violet, pale brown, yellow ochre, ochre, brown, dark carmine, Indian red, Vandyke brown, pale green, yellow-green, olive green, green, crimson lake, dark green, pale blue, blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine light, ultramarine, two Prussian blue, 4 shades of gray, yellow-grey, green-gray, black.
Small, compact sticks, wrapped in paper for comfortable use. Each has a color name on the label. Pentel oils pastels’ sticks are 2 and 3/8 inches in length (around 6 cm).
I saw people mention they break easily, I didn’t feel so even though I tried to press really hard.
They don’t create any dust, unlike chalk pastels. But it may leave marks on your fingers if you’re blending hard and then run your finger over the blended area. Easy to clean though.
Pentel pastels are one of the best cheap oil pastels for blending. They are rich in texture and bright colored, and they do blend really easily on paper, canvas, or artboards. To touch it feels like a soft texture, slightly waxy.
It makes them perfect for oil pastel drawing, but also as a part of mixed media art – for blended backgrounds.
They allow layering as well, and though they are quite transparent it helps you create tones, shades, and amazing realistic illustrations.
Of course, if you compare them to professional-level oil pastels they will seem hard to blend, but as cheap beginners pastels, they are just fine.
Even though the colors are vivid and creamy, they are not quite opaque. They are good for layering more in the glazing sense and any colors will overpower each other. It helps us make a good conclusion – with oil pastels, we are painting in blocks, applying colors next to each other. We overlay them only to create gradients and subtle shades.
Ease of use
They are super easy to use and easy to clean. You can remove it from the skin or the table just by wiping it. I don’t think they are messy, but definitely store oils pastels paintings separately from blank paper and other paintings as small particles from pastels can get on them.
Pentel oil pastel price
An official statement in the Pentel USA product guide says that the pricing for oil pastels should be the following:
|Oil Pastel set||Price|
|Pentel oil pastels 12||$2.50|
|Pentel oil pastels 16||$3.40|
|pentel oil pastels 25||$5.25|
|pentel oil pastels 36||$7.50|
|pentel oil pastels 50||$10.40|
|Class pack – 432 sticks but 12 colors||$76.00|
But when I checked on Amazon, you can either get a better price – a set of 50 colors with a discount goes for around $8, but the set for 12 colors was sold (at the time I checked) for $3-4. The class pack had almost a 50% discount and was sold for around $36. Other sets had pricing close to officially stated.
So look for discounts on Amazon if you want to get a bigger set 🙂
As they are made in Thailand, it is reasonable that they are cheaper here. I bought Pentel oil pastels in Northern Thailand for only $1.46.
I got the smallest set as I’m traveling but for the best value for money, I would probably for the 50-color set if I could!
How to use Pentel Oils Pastels
I see the use for Pentel oil pastel in 3 ways:
- preparing blended backgrounds.
- in mixed media paintings (with watercolor or oil painting)
- as an individual art medium
Read also: Honest Pentel Watercolor Review [12 Colors Set]
How do you blend Pentel oil pastels?
You can blend Pentel oil pastels by applying colors next to each other and then either using a cotton tip to blend or going with a lighter color over a darker color.
Is Pentel oil pastels good?
Pentel oil pastels are beginner-friendly durable creamy pastels with a wide range of colors. They are student-grade pastels, but rich in pigments and non-toxic. Good for practice, blending, sketches, flowers, still life, and small-scale landscapes.
Adult beginners prefer Pentel over Crayola oil pastels if we compare super cheap brands.
Are Pentel oil pastels water soluble?
Pentel oil pastels are made of wax binder and oil with rich pigment, they are not water-soluble nor do they interact or mix with water. Just like oil paints, oil pastels are solvent-soluble.
Is Pentel oil pastels soft?
Pentel oil pastels are considered soft and creamy in the application, but I think they are quite hard in hand.
Are Pentel oil Pastels toxic?
Pentel Arts Oil Pastels are non-toxic, they are compliant with regulations, and tested to not contain any heavy metals or dangerous ingredients. However, not recommended for kids under 3 years old, as they may try to eat them or choke on small parts.
To Sum Up
Pentel Oil pastels will surprise you. They are not horrible kids’ crumbly waxy crayons, they are impressively good oil pastels with smooth coverage and vibrant colors (up to 50!) that will last you for hours of practice as a beginner. And for such a price, it is honestly a steal.
Will work beautifully for children 6+, young artists, beginners in drawing and painting, and students. And even professional artists but only as a practice set if we want to save money 🙂
Please try them for your still-life practice or mixed media paintings and let me know how you liked them!