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10 Best Papers for Oil Pastels: Top Choices for Artists in 2024

Oil pastels offer artists a dynamic blend of vibrancy and texture, demanding a specific type of paper to truly shine. The right paper not only supports layers and blending but also influences the artwork’s overall impact. For oil pastels, choosing a paper with sufficient tooth ensures the colors grip and layer well, while the paper’s weight is vital for enduring the medium’s intensity without warping. But how to choose the best paper for oil pastels?

Consider the paper’s color and acid-free quality, which affect your artwork’s background tone and longevity. While many artists turn to specialized oil pastel paper, others explore mixed media papers for versatility. Our in-depth exploration of paper options aims to guide you to the best choice, enhancing your oil pastel creations with a foundation that complements and elevates your artistic expression.

Top Picks for Oil Pastel Paper

Our carefully curated selection of paper for oil pastels offers a variety of textures and weights to suit your artistic preferences. We’ve focused on options that provide the right surface for the medium to adhere properly and ensure your artwork’s longevity. Whether you’re a professional artist or just starting out, our list will help you find the best paper to make your oil pastel projects vibrant and enduring.

1. Strathmore Pastel Pad

If you’re venturing into oil pastels, the Strathmore Pastel Pad is a reliable surface that complements your artistic endeavors.


  • The paper’s weight holds the pastel well, making layering a breeze
  • It provides assorted colors, offering a versatile starting point for both warm and cool hues
  • Glue binding makes sheet removal clean and hassle-free


  • Some may find the paper too thin for heavy layering techniques
  • Lack of a textured finish may disappoint fans of sanded papers
  • Assorted colors might be less saturated than expected, subtly impacting the artwork’s final appearance

We’ve just put the Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad through its paces, and we’re pleased with the overall experience. The 80 lb weight handles oil pastels smoothly, allowing for easy blending without bleeding through. With 24 sheets at your disposal, long-term projects feel less daunting.

Working on any of the assorted sheet colors instantly changes the mood of your piece. The choice between a cooler or warmer undertone as your foundation opens up creative avenues. The sheets are securely glued at the top, and we admired how effortlessly they could be removed once our artwork was complete.

A possible hiccup for some artists could be the smoother finish of this pad. Those who prefer a heavily textured surface for multiple layers of pastels might not find this pad ideal. The Strathmore Pastel Pad’s color variety is subtle, influencing the artwork in nuanced rather than bold ways, which can either align with or diverge from your intentions.

Navigating the paper’s response to different oil pastel techniques, we noted how it performed exceptionally well for standard applications. However, for those inclined to apply thick, textured layers, the pad may fall short. Despite this, the consistent quality across each page left us content with the outcomes of our sketches and illustrations.

2. Sennelier Oil Pastel Pad

We think this paper pad is a worthy investment for artists dedicated to working with oil pastels, providing excellent surface for color blending and longevity.


  • The texture is ideal for smooth application and vibrant color display.
  • Built-in sheets of tracing paper offer protection for your artwork.
  • Being acid-free, the longevity of your creations is ensured.


  • The size may be smaller than expected, be sure to check dimensions.
  • The price point might be steep for the given number of pages.
  • Some may receive a different color paper than ordered.

In our recent usage of the Sennelier Oil Pastel Pad, we immediately noticed the bright white, heavyweight texture of the paper. It’s made for oil pastels, and this is apparent in the way the oil colors lay down on the surface smoothly. We were able to blend colors effortlessly, producing vivid and saturated artwork, just as the pad’s description promised.

During our experimentation, we were also quite pleased with the thoughtful addition of tracing paper between each sheet. It acts as a barrier, eliminating the risk of smudging when the pad is closed, which is particularly useful for pastel work that can be easily disturbed.

Despite these benefits, we did find the pad’s size to be somewhat smaller than our usual preferences for expansive projects. So, if you are looking to create larger pieces, the dimensions of this pad might restrict you. Furthermore, the cost is something to take into account when considering this pad, especially if you plan to go through many sheets rapidly.

The Sennelier Oil Pastel Pad showed us unmatched performance in our oil pastel projects. We recommend this product for any artist who values the preservation and vibrance of their art. However, it’s wise to remember to confirm the size before purchasing to avoid any surprises, and consider the price as part of your budget for art supplies.

3. GR DZPLUS Oil Pastel Pad

We think this pad is a splendid choice for artists who favor compactness and quality, perfect for creating vivid pastel pieces.


  • Textured surfaces cater to versatile strokes and techniques
  • Robust weight stands up to heavy layering
  • Acid-free paper ensures longevity of artwork


  • Smaller size may not suit large-scale projects
  • Not a bound pad, but loose sheets, contrary to some expectations
  • Limited reviews for broad consensus on quality

This GR DZPLUS Oil Pastel Pad strikes as quite the catch when you’re creating art on the go. With its heavy 123 lb paper, every stroke of oil pastel feels satisfying and substantial. Moreover, versatility shines with the dual-textured surfaces; a lighter texture for subtle shading and a more pronounced texture that adds intrigue to each piece.

We were impressed by the pad’s acid-free nature, reassuring us our creations would stand the test of time without the fear of yellowing. The warm tone of the paper itself makes colors pop brilliantly, showcasing a profound depth in our artwork that we didn’t expect at this size.

The one caveat: its compact dimensions may limit the scale of our work. As such, it’s not ideal for artists who prefer more extensive canvas for expression. Also, the paper arrives as loose sheets, which, while easy to handle, may catch some by surprise if they were expecting a traditional pad with sheets bound together.

In conclusion, our experience with the GR DZPLUS Oil Pastel Pad was undeniably positive. We found ourselves reaching for it more often than not, due to its convenience and the quality it added to our artistic expressions. It was an affordable, high-quality option that suited our pastel applications exceptionally well.

4. Zenacolor Pastel Paper

We think the Zenacolor Pastel Paper is a fantastic choice thanks to its specialized surface that brings out the best in oil pastels.


  • Varied natural-toned paper enhances artwork
  • Detachable sheets are convenient for sharing and framing
  • Versatile use across several mediums, not just oil pastels


  • Only 32 pages might not suffice for prolific artists
  • The paper’s texture might not align with everyone’s preferences
  • Lack of acid-free certification could be concerning for longevity

Having just had the chance to create with the Zenacolor oil pastel paper, we observed that the colors pop wonderfully on each of the four different neutral-toned papers. The sheets have a smooth yet sufficiently grippy texture that holds the pastels nicely, allowing for a range of artistic expressions.

The 67 lb weight strikes a good balance—sturdy enough for oil pastel applications without being cumbersome. It’s been convenient to have detachable sheets; framing our artwork or passing it along to friends has been a breeze.

While the paper holds up well for oil pastels, we took the opportunity to test it with colored pencils and charcoal, too. We’re pleased to report it’s quite effective, adding a nice versatility factor. However, we could feel that artists who work with pastels frequently may run through the 32 pages quickly, which might be a downside for some.

Our artwork feels vibrant against the backdrop of the varied paper shades. Still, it’s noticeable that the texture isn’t universally loved; some may find it too grainy for their liking. Another aspect we’re mindful of is the lack of information regarding whether the paper is acid-free—a detail that matters to us for the preservation of our art.

In summary, we’re satisfied with the performance of the Zenacolor oil pastel paper. It fulfills the role of a reliable, vibrant canvas for our creations, although the number of pages and missing acid-free certification could be potential drawbacks depending on your specific needs and concerns about archival quality.

5. Floit Papelsino Sketchbooks

We think these sketchbooks are a stellar pick for artists passionate about oil pastels due to their quality and surface texture.


  • Excellent paper thickness and durability for multiple layers
  • Smooth vellum surface enables easy blending
  • A cost-effective package with two sketchbooks


  • Some may find the paper too smooth for certain pastel techniques
  • Limited to dry media, which might not suit mixed-media artists
  • The off-white color may affect the vibrancy of certain pastel colors

After using the Floit Papelsino Sketchbooks, we were impressed by the resilience of the Bristol paper. Its substantial weight held up to vigorous blending and layering, an essential feature for our pastel work, ensuring that the medium didn’t pierce through. The vellum surface has a delightful texture that’s silky to the touch but still has enough tooth to grab hold of the pastels. This allowed us to layer colors beautifully, creating nuanced gradients with ease.

The practicality of this set shines through; it’s a boon to have two sketchbooks at our disposal. This means more opportunity for us to experiment with our oil pastels without worry about running low on pages. Additionally, it’s great for organizing projects, dedicating one book solely to practice and the other to final pieces, for instance.

Though we appreciated the off-white color of the pages as it added a unique, subtle warmth to our pastels, we noticed that some vibrant colors didn’t pop as much as they would on a pure white sheet. Nevertheless, the paper’s quality allows for a forgiving approach to application and layering, making corrections a breeze. The Floit Papelsino Sketchbooks deliver a premium experience that’s worth the investment, especially for those who are serious about their oil pastel artwork.

6. GR DZPLUS Oil Pastel Paper

We believe this GR DZPLUS paper is a top choice for anyone using oil pastels, providing excellent texture and support for both vivid and subtle artwork.


  • The paper’s dual texture allows for versatile artistic techniques.
  • With its acid-free composition, our creations are safeguarded for the long term.
  • Handling is effortless due to the paper’s heavyweight feel.


  • Only seven reviews may not reflect a wide range of experiences.
  • Thirty sheets per pack could be insufficient for prolific artists.
  • Limited to a single size (9×12 inches) which might not suit larger projects.

Recently, we got our hands on the GR DZPLUS 30-sheet pack and let’s just say, we were impressed. The 123 lb (200 gsm) paper felt sturdy, durable, and ready to stand up to the buttery texture of oil pastels. It’s like the paper absorbed the color while maintaining the pastel’s vibrancy – a perfect match.

We explored the dual-surface feature, which was like having two distinct canvases. One side offered a heavier texture, gripping our soft pastels with ease, while the other was smoother – ideal for detailed work. The paper’s responsiveness to various media was a creative revelation.

The acid-free nature of this paper means our artwork stays pristine and fade-resistant over time. It’s a relief to know our efforts won’t be dulled by age. If you’ve worked with lesser papers that yellow or degrade, you’ll appreciate the lasting quality of GR DZPLUS as much as we have.

7. Strathmore Pastel Pads

We recommend these pads to artists who enjoy a variety of colors and need paper that can handle multiple pastel layers.


  • The texture grabs and holds pastel material well
  • Assorted colors facilitate vibrant underdrawings
  • Sheets detach cleanly, maintaining the pad’s integrity


  • The selection leans heavily towards lighter colors
  • Some artists may find the texture not rough enough
  • A noticeable absence of darker shades, like deep blue

Upon using the Strathmore Pastel Pads, we noticed right away how the texture laid finish provided an excellent tooth for the oil pastels to grip onto. The pads come with an assorted range of colors, which serve as a great foundation for creative artworks that pop. Furthermore, the weight of the paper is just right—it withstands pressure without buckling or warping, so you can layer those pastels to your heart’s content.

We found the color selection a bit disappointing for those who need a variety of darker shades, with options like blue-black missing. However, the lighter hues do work well as base colors and contribute to the vibrancy of completed pieces when used thoughtfully.

Another positive is the pad’s design which allows for easy removal of individual sheets. This is fantastic for when we’re organizing finished work or preparing pieces for display. There’s a firmness to how the pages stay in place while you’re working, yet they come out effortlessly when you’re done.

While the pastel pad generally met our expectations, we did encounter feedback from fellow artists preferring a rougher paper for their pastel work. Art style varies widely, and so too do preferences for texture, suggesting that these pads are better suited to those who find the medium-texture compatible with their technique. Despite this, we still consider the Strathmore Pastel Pads a solid choice, especially for artists delving into pastel work. The balanced combination of quality, usability, and range makes these pads a worthy addition to any artist’s toolkit.

8. MUNGYO Pastel Paper Pad

We believe this MUNGYO pad is an excellent choice for artists who need a reliable surface that enhances their oil pastel creations.


  • Accommodates multiple types of pastels
  • Features a variety of dark-toned papers
  • Acid-free with a durable woven texture


  • Limited to darker paper colors
  • Some artists may find the texture too pronounced
  • A4 size might be restrictive for larger work

Artists often seek a suitable canvas that brings their vision to life, and this pastel paper pad by MUNGYO might just be the surface to do so. Its assortment of dark colors provides a unique background that makes vibrant oil pastels pop. We’ve found that this variety not only challenges our creativity but invites a new depth to our artwork.

The woven texture of these sheets is specifically conducive for oil pastels, allowing the medium to adhere properly and offering a delightful tactile experience. When layering pastels, the texture really comes to play, giving the pigments something to grip onto, which made our blending exercises a joy. The inclusion of cotton in the paper guarantees strength, which we appreciate when our work requires heavy application and multiple layers.

However, we must note that while the darker tones added an unexpected richness to our work, they may not suit every artist’s needs or subject matter. We also understand that the A4 size might limit those who prefer larger canvases, and the distinct texture might not complement softer pastel techniques. Nonetheless, our time with the MUNGYO Professional Pastel Paper Pad reminded us that even within the confines of a particular paper type, creativity can flourish.

9. Paul Rubens Oil Pastel Paper

If you’re into creating vibrant oil pastel pieces, we think you’ll appreciate the quality of this Paul Rubens paper.


  • Smooth texture to facilitate clean applications and corrections
  • Acid-free, high-quality strength supports layering of colors
  • Optimally sized for portability and convenient storage


  • Limited to 30 sheets per pad which may feel insufficient for prolific artists
  • A5 size may be restrictive if you prefer working on larger canvases
  • Premium quality comes at a slightly higher price point

The minute we got our hands on the Paul Rubens oil pastel paper, we admired its smooth surface which was a pleasure to work with. The fine texture really made our colors pop, giving our artwork a vibrant look that we just couldn’t get enough of. Plus, the challenge of correcting mistakes was noticeably less frustrating thanks to the paper’s forgiving surface.

We were also impressed with its durability. Even after aggressive blending and layering, the paper stood strong without any sign of wear. The acid-free feature was a major plus, ensuring that our pieces would stand the test of time without yellowing.

However, we did wish there were more than 30 sheets in each pad, especially during a particularly inspired week where creations were flowing nonstop. Also, while the A5 size added to its portability, making it super easy to bring along for outdoor sessions, some of us missed the freedom that a larger canvas offers.

Despite its few drawbacks, our experience using the Paul Rubens oil pastel paper was largely positive. We finished our sketches with a sense of accomplishment, admiring how well the paper showcased our work. It’s clear that it’s specifically crafted to enhance the oil pastel experience, and we certainly felt that with every stroke.

10. Ctosree Oil Pastel Paper

Artists looking for a reliable surface for their oil pastel artworks will find Ctosree Oil Pastel Paper to be a fine choice with its pleasant texture and durability.


  • The varied neutral tones enhance the artwork’s depth.
  • Convenient size for both detailed and smaller scale paintings.
  • Sturdy paper quality withstands multiple layers of pastel.


  • Limited size may not suit large scale projects.
  • A selection of only neutral colors might restrict creativity.
  • Some sheets may exhibit slight warping.

After we spent some time working with these papers, we appreciated how their smooth surface accepted the pastels easily, allowing colors to blend beautifully without much effort. The 180 GSM weight was sufficient to prevent the paper from tearing, even after applying several layers of pastels and blending. The neutrality of the colors provided a sophisticated backdrop that made vibrant pastels pop, bringing our artwork to life in a subtle yet distinct way.

We’ve noticed that these papers are not just good for oil pastels; they’re versatile enough to be used with pencils and charcoal too. Whether it’s a quick sketch or a more deliberate piece, their texture holds the medium well without unwanted smudging. And with a pack of 100 sheets, we had plenty of chances to experiment without fear of running out.

While the 5 x 7 inch size is perfect for small, portable creations and fits the bill for art on-the-go, it’s a tad restricting when you’re aiming to scale up. We found ourselves yearning for a larger canvas on which to expand our artistic expressions. Moreover, for those adventurous with color, the neutral tones might seem limiting – despite this, they do provide an excellent, understated contrast to both bright and dark pastels.

In summary, our hands-on experience with Ctosree Oil Pastel Paper revealed that it’s not only a solid choice for oil pastel enthusiasts but also caters to artists who work with other dry media. The quality and practicality of these papers make them well-worth considering for your next creative project.

11. Pentel Oil Pastels Kit

We found this kit to be a comprehensive choice for both beginner and intermediate artists who want to explore the vibrant world of oil pastels.


  • Rich, vivid colors that enhance artwork
  • Oil pastels maintain their integrity, resisting breakage
  • Included paper pad is conveniently spiral-bound and suited for pastel work


  • The paper size may feel restrictive for larger compositions
  • Oil pastel pigmentation could be stronger for professional use
  • Some users may find the pastels too firm for blending

When we first got our hands on this set, the variety of shades immediately stood out. The 50 colors allow for a rich palette that can accommodate a range of artistic expressions. During use, the pastels felt robust and not prone to snapping under pressure, which can be a common frustration.

The texture of the pastels was a pleasure to work with. Although they were firmer than some premium brands we’ve used, blending them was still straightforward—whether we used fingers or blending stumps. The tactile experience was satisfying, and the colors layered well, allowing us to achieve the subtlety and depth we were looking for.

The acid-free, spiral-bound paper pad included with the set is a thoughtful inclusion, making it simple to flip through our work and focus on the creative process. While the paper handled the medium well, we did wish for a larger size to give our ideas more room to breathe. Nevertheless, the curated combination of oil pastels and paper makes this set a solid starter for those venturing into the world of oil pastels.

Buying Guide

Paper Weight

We consider the weight of the paper crucial when selecting oil pastel paper. Heavyweight papers, typically measured in pounds (lb) or grams per square meter (gsm), resist buckling and hold up to the pastel’s oil content. We recommend paper above 90 lb (190 gsm).

  • Light (under 90 lb or 190 gsm)
  • Medium (90-140 lb or 190-300 gsm)
  • Heavy (over 140 lb or 300 gsm)


The paper’s texture, often referred to as its “tooth,” affects how the pastel adheres to the surface. We look for a paper with a pronounced texture, which holds more pigment and allows for richer color application.

  • Smooth
  • Medium
  • Rough


While many artists prefer classic white, a range of colored papers can enhance the vibrancy of oil pastels. We prefer a paper that offers a good range of hues, allowing more creative background choices.

  • White
  • Neutral Tones
  • Vibrant Colors

Acid-Free Status

We always opt for acid-free paper to ensure the longevity of our artwork. Acidic paper can deteriorate over time, so using acid-free paper is crucial for preservation.

  • Not Acid-Free
  • Acid-Free


Finally, our budget determines the paper selection, balancing quality with affordability. We find the best value by comparing paper prices without compromising on weight, texture, and acid-free properties.

Light, Medium, HeavySmooth, Medium, RoughYes, NoVaries

Remember, the right paper can significantly impact the outcome of your oil pastel creations.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will explore the nuances of choosing the perfect paper for oil pastel work, taking into account different skill levels, paper qualities, and the compatibility of various surfaces with oil pastel medium.

What are the most suitable paper types for beginner oil pastel artists?

For novices, we recommend starting with papers that have a good tooth and are heavyweight. This includes textured papers specifically designed for pastels or a high-quality construction paper. They allow the pastel to adhere properly and support multiple layers.

How does watercolor paper perform with oil pastels?

Watercolor paper can be quite effective for oil pastels due to its texture and weight. It holds the oil pastel well and can handle the pressure applied during drawing. However, one should opt for watercolor papers that have a rougher surface for better adhesion.

Which paper qualities should one consider for achieving the best results with oil pastels?

When selecting paper for oil pastels, consider the paper’s texture, weight, and acid-free properties. A paper with a pronounced tooth grips the pastel better. Heavyweight papers resist buckling under heavy layers, and acid-free papers ensure the longevity of the artwork.

Can oil pastels be effectively applied on canvas, and what should one be aware of?

Oil pastels can be used on canvas, especially those with a primed surface suitable for oil painting. It’s crucial to remember that oil pastels never fully dry, so care should be taken when storing or displaying canvas-based oil pastel art to avoid smudging.

Are there specific papers designed for Sennelier oil pastels?

Sennelier, a renowned brand, does produce papers specifically tailored for their oil pastels. These papers usually have the optimal texture and weight to enhance the luminosity and rich pigment of Sennelier oil pastels.

What is the difference between surfaces for oil pastels and soft pastels?

Surfaces for oil pastels generally require a stronger tooth or texture to hold the denser, oil-based medium. Soft pastel papers can be less textured as soft pastels adhere more easily and blend without the need for a binder as in oil pastels. Hence, a more varied range of papers can be suitable for soft pastels.