Selecting the right paper is essential when working with any medium to ensure that you get the best results. Otherwise, you won’t get the most out of your materials.


Oil pastels are no different and choosing the correct paper will make your artwork stand out.

If you’re a beginner, it’s important to take the time to get to know your materials before you begin. Trust us, it’ll save you a lot of frustration and disappointment!

There are lots of things to consider when looking for the best paper for oil pastels, from its thickness to the texture of the paper.

Here are some tips to help you get started…

What is the best paper for oil pastels?

When you’re buying oil pastel paper, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Thickness

Lighter papers may tear if you apply too much pressure while blending or shading.
While you don’t need to opt for the thickest papers like watercolour paper, you should choose paper that’s at least 160gsm for best results.

2. Texture

Smooth papers don’t work well for oil pastels because there’s nothing to grip the pigment. This can lead to the colours bleeding and smudging.

Ideally, you should choose a paper with a textured surface – this is sometimes described as “tooth” by artists.

Some pastel papers are described as “sanded”, meaning that it has been coated with gesso or a primer to create a rougher surface.

3. Colour

A lot of pastel papers are coloured. This saves time, as you don’t have to fill in the background.

The right colour can really showcase the shades and textures of the pastels, so we’d recommend trying out coloured papers if you’re a new artist.

4. Acid-free

If you want your oil pastel art to last, look for paper that’s acid-free to ensure that your work looks great for years to come.

Look out for archival paper, as this is designed with artists in mind.

5. Paper options

Most oil pastel papers are sold either in pads or as separate sheets. Buying in bulk can save you money if you’re a prolific artist.

Canvas paper and mixed media paper also work well with pastels. You can even use oil pastels on canvas if you like!

10 best papers for oil pastels

1. Frisk pastel paper

Frisk pastel paper

If you’re looking for a basic pad of pastel paper, this one created by Frisk is a good starting point. It’s less expensive than many oil pastel papers, so it’s a great option for beginners or anyone who just wants to dabble with oil pastels.

The paper is 160gsm, so it’s robust enough to withstand any pressure you apply to it while blending. The surface texture is good and should hold your pastel marks well.

The paper in this pack only comes in white, but Frisk also has a black mixed media paper pad at a similar price if you’d like to experiment with other colours.

2. Daler Rowney Murano pastel paper

Murano pastel paper

Bring colour into your oil pastel drawings with Daler Rowney’s Murano pastel paper. This pack includes six warm colours in oranges, reds and browns.

If you enjoy using these colourful papers, look out for the rest of the Murano range which includes cool and neutral shades.

The paper has a reasonable weight (160gsm) and it’s acid-free to help preserve your drawings. The pad is glued on one side, so it’s easy to remove and mount your finished artwork.

The surface of the paper has a honeycomb texture that’s ideal for pastels.

3. Fabriano Tiziano pastel paper

Tiziano pastel paper

We love the soft pastel shades of this gorgeous Italian-made Fabriano Tiziano paper. It comes with six light colours including purple, orange and blue.

The paper weight is 160gsm making it just right for oil pastels and the surface of the paper has a rough honeycomb texture to hold the pigment.

Fabriano also produces a beautiful flecked pastel paper that we’d recommend if you enjoy using this paper pad.

3. Sennelier oil pastel block

Sennelier oil pastel pad

Sennelier has a brilliant reputation for producing high-quality art supplies and this oil pastel block is exceptional.

The paper is thick (160gsm) and rough enough to hold the oil paints well. It’s acid-free to keep your pastels looking bright for years.

Sennelier pastel blocks are perfect for professional artists or anyone who wants to create art to display in their home.

This pad includes layers of thin paper between each page to protect your drawings. This will stop the pastels from bleeding and keep your pad clean.

Get started with Gathered’s complete guide to oil pastels

If you’re new to oil pastels, take a look at our in-depth oil pastel guide which is packed with tips and tricks to help you enjoy this satisfying medium.

4. Clairefontaine Pastelmat pad

Clairefontaine Pastelmat pad

This pastel pad from Clairefontaine is much thicker than some of the products we’ve previously mentioned, with sheets of paper that are 360gsm thick.

The surface of the paper is soft but it holds the colours really well. It doesn’t require any fixative to keep your drawings looking their best.

Due to the thickness of the paper, it’s possible to use water or other mediums without affecting the surface texture.

The paper is also acid-free and has crystal paper sheets between each page to prevent your work from getting damaged.

5. Daler Rowney Ingres paper

Daler Rowney Ingres paper

This spiral-bound pad from Daler Rowney comes in a range of beautifully muted shades. You could easily use this paper for everything from portraits to landscapes.

Like Daler Rowney’s Murano pastel paper, this pad is 160gsm and has a good surface for oil pastels. There are extra sheets of thin paper between the pastel paper to keep your art neat and tidy.

6. Rembrandt pastel paper

Rembrandt pastel paper

Make dramatically moody artwork with these dark pastel papers from Rembrandt. This pad includes papers in a variety of deep colours including brown, black and blue.

The paper is 160gsm with a nice medium-rough surface – just right for oil pastels.

7. Winsor & Newton Tints pastel paper

Winsor and Newton Tints pastel paper

This tinted pastel paper from Winsor & Newton is a great option for art students or anyone taking their first steps into pastel art.

The pad contains six different colours including black, white, slate grey and sand. If you’re looking for more vibrant colours this isn’t the right choice for you.

The paper has a grained surface and the paper weight is 160gsm.

8. Clairefontaine Ingres pastel paper

Clairefontaine coloured pastel paper

This pastel paper from Clairefontaine has a selection of vibrant colours to choose from including a rich red, deep purple and warm sandy yellow.

This is laid paper, which uses a specific manufacturing technique to create a ribbed surface. This textured surface is brilliant for pastels because it picks up the pigments easily.

The paper is available in a range of sizes from 24x30cm up to 36x48cm. The paper weight is 130gsm, so it’s a little thinner than most pastel papers.

Of course, it’s also acid-free to help keep your drawings in excellent condition.

9. Sennelier La Carte pastel card

Sennelier pastel card

Looking for quality over quantity? This Sennelier pastel card contains just six sheets per pad in a neutral shade (monochromatic light grey). You don’t get much paper for the price, but it’s superb quality.

The paper is 360gsm, so it’s very thick. The surface is sanded to provide a better grip for the pastels.

10. Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper

Canson Mi Teintes pastel paper

Canson Mi-Teintes is a popular paper for pastel artists. It comes in an array of colours, with both plain and mixed colour pads available to buy.

It’s 160gsm and the paper is dual-surfaced, so one side is rougher than the other. Try both and see which you prefer!

The paper is lightfast and acid-free, so it’s a fantastic option for professional artists.

Create incredible art with the best paper for oil pastels

Selecting the correct type of paper for your oil pastel art can mean the difference between success and failure.

If you choose the wrong kind, you can end up with disappointing artwork that doesn’t show off your skills.

Take the time to familiarise yourself with different types of pastel paper and discover the one that suits your style.


Choose the best oil pastels

Now that you’ve found the right pastel paper, it’s time to find the perfect oil pastels! Find the best oil pastels with Gathered.

Best oil pastels


Sarah OrmeDigital Editor, Gathered

Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of – and before that our sister website – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine,, and She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints

Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating