Oil pastel (also called wax oil crayon) is a painting and drawing medium with characteristics similar to pastels and wax crayons. oil pastels consist of pigment mixed with a non-drying oil and wax binder. The surface of an oil pastel painting is therefore less powdery. Oil pastels provide a harder edge than “soft” or “French” pastels but are more difficult to blend.
In 1947, Picasso convinced Henri Sennelier, a French manufacturer who specialized in high quality art products, to develop a fine arts version of oil pastels. In 1949 Sennelier produced the first oil pastels intended for professionals and experienced artists. These were superior in wax viscosity, texture and pigment quality and capable of producing more consistent and attractive work. The Japanese Holbein brand of oil pastel appeared in the mid-1980s with both student and professional grades; the latter with a range of 225 colours. Another brand, Caran d’Ache, introduced Neocolor wax crayons onto the market in 1965, using a patented polyethylene wax with superior Lubrication; in the nineties these were developed into an oil pastel, Neopastel.
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