Friday, 15 March 2019

Product Review: Crayola Oil Pastels

Blog 11

During the last session of my Cartooning & Comics classes, I introduced Crayola Oil pastels to offer the children (aged 5 - 12 years) a different medium. They had worked with pencils, coloured pencils, crayons, and markers already but were immediately attracted to the bright colours and liked that they could blend the colours.

Before I bought the pastels, I did some research as they were quite low-priced. I wanted to avoid buying a product of poor quality that would result in a frustrating experience for the students.

Despite the good reviews, I was still sceptical. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when we used the pastels in class. The colours are well pigmented. Due to the hexagonal shape, it was less likely that the sticks rolled off the table. The solid sticks were a good size compared to many low-cost brands. They felt nice in your hand and were less likely to break in the hands of children. To avoid stained tables, tablecloths or clothes, I suggest to cover the workspace and wear clothes that can get dirty or a smock. At least roll up your sleeves.

While you can use your fingers to blend these certified non-toxic oil pastels, I prefer to teach the proper use of materials to the kids from the beginning. Not all oil pastels are non-toxic and blending with your fingers can get very messy. Therefore, I gave every child some paper towel sheets. Cotton swabs would also work great.

For our first project, we drew on black construction paper. The colours did not bleed through the paper and the bright colours really popped out. When we used the pastels in our regular sketchbook, they also did not bleed through but transferred to the page on top.

Using dark colours next to a light colour was a challenge for most of the children. When they outlined their characters, they smudged the lighter colour. Most of the children also had some colour on their hands from rubbing inadvertently over their drawing. Children who had drawn the character quite small found it difficult to create the details with the chunky sticks.

Often, kids do not have a lot of patience. That is why most of the students loved that the soft and creamy pastels covered large areas fast. It will be hard to get them to use crayons after they have worked with oil pastels. With the hard crayons, it takes a lot more time and pressure to get a solid cover of an area, they do not blend, and the colours are a lot less vibrant. However, their tips make it a little easier to colour smaller areas of an image.

The star in the right hand corner was drawn with crayons.

I can definitely recommend the Crayola oil pastels for both children and adults who want to practice with oil pastels. I had a lot of fun creating my little Pikachu and Olaf characters. The pastels are recommended for children over 4 years.

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