In this easy oil pastel drawing tutorial I teach you how you can draw an eye with oil pastels. This medium is really fun and not hard to use once you tried out the different techniques.
If you want to learn the different oil pastel techniques first, then check out this article.
You’ll need oil pastels of course but only three colors and white is necessary.
The three colors should consist of a dark value, a medium value and a light value. If you keep this in mind the actual colors will not matter. (Meaning you don’t have to use colors from the same color family.) White will be for the lightest highlights.
For this easy oil pastel drawing I used these colors by Paul Rubens:
- 203 / Titanium White
- 144 / Malachite Green (lightest value)
- 123 / Azurite (medium value)
- 297 / Prussian Blue (darkest value)
The Paul Rubens Oil Pastels are really good quality, very soft and affordable. You can get them here.
- Pentel Oil Pastels ($2.05 – $46.78)
- Van Gogh Oil Pastels and Sets ($2.80 – $51.41)
- Sennelier Oil Pastels and Sets ($3.75 – $297.00)
You can use whatever paper you have laying around. I used this toned gray sketchbook by Strathmore. Using a toned paper will make the whites pop more.
Now let’s get to drawing!
What do I need to get started with oil pastels?
Now use the darkest pastel to mark the darkest parts of the eye like the fold of the eyelid, the eyebrows and the pupil. Press the oil pastel down hard for this step.
For the next step pick up the medium value oil pastel and put it down where the medium skin tone values are. So, on the eyelid, above the eyelid, on the iris and under the eye.
As you can see I didn’t press down as hard under the eye. That is to make it easier for blending later. Make sure to leave space for the lightest parts.
Go back in with the darkest oil pastel to blend the medium and dark value together. You can blend by slightly pressing down the pastel on top of the medium value in the areas of the crease of the eyelid, on the iris and lightly under the eye.
Now you can pick up the lightest oil pastel (that is not white) to draw the lightest values. In this case it’s on top of the brow bow, the center of the eyelid, in the inner corner of the eye and also under the eye. In addition, I also used this color to lighten the iris.
After using the lightest value pastel, you can pick up the white oil pastel. Use this for the white of the eye. Blend it slightly with the blues (or whatever colors you used) from the corners of the eye because the white of the eye is never purely white.
In addition, use the white oil pastel to slightly blend the lightest areas in the inner corner of the eye.
We’re almost finished and just need some final touches. Use the medium value oil pastel and blend it slightly into the lightest areas. After that, use the darkest pastel to draw the eyelashes.
You don’t need to draw every lash but indicate them with some carefully placed lines by going in the direction of the hair growth. Tip: wipe the pastel clean with a paper towel if it picks up a lighter color.
The last step is to add the lightest highlights with the titanium white oil pastel. This is typically the light reflection in the iris. Be careful not to overdo it with the pure white highlights as it might not look as realistic anymore.
It’s quite hard to add small details with oil pastels because the ends are so thick but a great way to add those details is to use a palette knife. Scrape some of the oil pastel onto the knife and use it to apply the pastel color to the drawing.
I hope this easy oil pastel drawing tutorial was helpful to you and if you decide to recreate this eye drawing I would love to see it! Just tag me on Instagram @christiana.walther
If you’re interested in learning how to draw an eye with charcoal check out this tutorial right here.