what are oil paint sticks and how they are unique?

Oil paintings are not just made by using brushes only, they are made by various methods. One of the methods is by using oil paint sticks which are hard oil paint bars usually made of linseed oil and pigment. This blog post aims to provide a detailed description of oil paint sticks and how they can be used to create beautiful art using the best brands.

These are waxed linseed oil pigments that are mixed and pressed together in a chalk form. These interesting sticks work the same as pastels but slightly differently. We can say them as the midpoint between oil paints and pastels.

Like oil paints these sticks are also sticky and slow drying. In oil paints, we can adjust the consistency of our paints using paint thinners but with these sticks, we cannot do so. Instead, we have to use other techniques to make them flow like them.

Table of Contents

What are oil paint or oil sticks?

R&F oil paint stick (Image Credit: Amazon)

Oil paint sticks are chalked sticks of pigment that are made by mixing linseed oil with pigment. Instead of using paint brushes, we use to rub these sticks on the painting surface to get results.

These interesting and full of fun sticks have created a unique way of drawing oil paintings. Some artists mastered them to become a center of attraction for audiences. They could be new for an artist who had used paint brushes his whole career but they need some practice to achieve precision.

Which brands offer good quality oil paint sticks

Oil paint sticks are not so much popular as oil paints. That’s why there are certain brands that are offering them. These are as follows

  • R&F which are offering a variety of oil pigment sticks
  • Jack Richeson student oil paint sticks
  • Sennelier oil paint sticks

What are the advantages of oil paint sticks

If I compare it with oil painting, then they give the same characters with some different advantages and disadvantages. These are solid oil colors that are really creamy and pre-made to apply directly on all surfaces. It means you don’t have to prepare paint like in the case of oil paints.

You can sharpen the edges of these sticks to draw a desired amount of layer. You can even draw different consistencies. In the case of oil paints, you have to replace a brush to change the width of your paint.

You can even control the consistency of paint with the pressure of your hands using them. To draw hard, apply pressure and to draw lighter, reduce that pressure.

It has even lessened the hurdles of preparations of oil paints. Now, you will get an auto-prepared stick which you can directly use to draw an oil painting.

Disadvantages of oil paint sticks

First of all, oil paint sticks are made of the same material as normal oil paints. To avoid it from hardening, the upper surface is in dried form. Some beginners think they are expired or can’t be used. But in actuality, you have to peel the upper surface to start using them. This is the same to unbox something and then start using it.

I have found these sticks hardly available. You will find them on some online places like Amazon. There is not a large variety of these sticks available. You will find only some brands offering them. Only some artists used them to create paintings. You can say this trend is not so much viral.

You will find them at so many expensive rates. For example, oil paint sticks from R&F will cost you around 163$ for a pack of dozen sticks.

If you want to do blending with the Bob Ross method, then you can’t use these sticks because they actually don’t work well with liquid white. So, don’t buy them to create blends. But on the other hand, these sticks contain some ingredients which create a natural blending but not like Bob Ross’s method.

In manual oil painting, you can work according to your choice. For example, you can use different materials to enhance the properties of oil paints but with oil paint sticks, you have to be bound with them. You cannot make more changes according to your need.

If you are an artist, who really understands the working style of all these materials then you are going to create a good piece of art using these oil painting sticks.

How does oil paint stick differently from oil paint and oil pastels

Oil paints are mixtures of pigment and oils which are usually in a form like butter. You can then use solvents or paint thinners to adjust their consistencies. There are even hundreds of techniques to enhance oil paint’s results.

Oil paint pastels are the same as sticks but they are considered a specific medium in oil painting. Oil pastels are thick and crayon types but oil sticks are creamy.

The working of oil paint sticks is like an oil paint layer which is in a balanced form, not so heavy nor light.

Difference between oil paint sticks and oil paint pastels

Oil paint sticksOil paint pastels
Bigger in size Smaller in size
Creamy formThicker form
Use apply a thicker layer of oil paintUse to draw fine layers of oil paint
You can create any strokeThey create lighter-weight strokes
Difference between oil paint sticks and oil paint pastels

Drying time of oil paint sticks

The drying time of oil paint sticks could be more because, in regular oil paints, artists add some solvents or ingredients to increase the drying time but for oil paint sticks, you cannot add the. usually, if you draw balanced layers of paint using sticks, not so much thick or so much thin. It will usually take up to 3 days to dry it completely.

Important Information!

Although, these sticks are like crayons but don't use them over a thin paper layer like normal paper. It will soak the oil and the paint will not absorb which will ruin your painting after some time. Prefer using good surfaces like canvas, hardboard, wood, etc.

How to paint with oil paint sticks?

Method to use oil paint sticks

Using an oil paint stick is not going to be difficult for an artist. If you are a beginner, you will have to do practice to learn the correct use. In the given video, they have created a unique way to use them same as oil paints. Draw by using these sticks and then glaze using a brush as you want. We recommend this video to learn this unique technique.


Can I create blending using oil paint or oil pigment sticks?

No, blending is quite difficult using oil paint sticks because to blend paints, you have to apply liquid white. But unfortunately, oil paint sticks do not work on a surface containing magic white.

Can I create a more precise painting using oil paint sticks?

Well, it depends on how much practice you have using them. Without practice, you can’t even create a normal precise painting. To achieve good results, practice for some days or weeks.

Can I use oil paint sticks with oil paint?

Yes, you can use them with normal oil to create a variety of effects. This is a plus point to create a more detailed piece of art.


Oil painting can be done with various methods. Using oil paint sticks is one of those methods. Oil paint sticks are actually a formation of oil paint and pigment in a slightly solid form like a crayon. These sticks can be used to create oil paintings directly. Unfortunately, they are expensive for a beginner. If you are a professional and know the correct use of these sticks, you can definitely consider them to create your oil paintings with these interesting oil paint sticks.

If you have any additional questions, please let us know. We will love to help you with a piece of information. It will also enhance our knowledge.

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