We were sent a box of HAIYA oil pastels by the Paul Rubens art company, asking if we would review them. We only agreed to do so with the understanding that we could write an honest review. After conducting our research and product testing, we present our findings and hope this review is helpful to you.
Key feature of this set:
Ideal for the novice
If you're a beginner, we suggest starting with a more affordable set to gain some experience. This approach can be cost-effective in the long run.
You can purchase this set of 48 oil pastels on Amazon for approximately £30. They are considered to be of student-quality, which means they are priced similarly to other student-quality oil pastels and provide good coverage. If you are an amateur, this set is a great way to get a feel for the medium.
How do they compare to professional quality oil pastels?
Having read numerous reviews about this product before agreeing to do our own review, we note many users comparing them to the Sennelier oil pastels. The Sennelier pastels are almost certainly the best quality oil pastel on the market and were created especially for the artist Pablo Picasso in 1949, so any comparison to this product is purely cosmetic. Paul Rubens does not market their oil pastels as artist quality, so we will briefly compare them. They are both bullet-shaped, making the application slick. They are also very creamy, so each layer is thick and opaque.
Though Paul Rubens states their pastels are lightfast, we cannot find any information on the testing standards they use, so it is unlikely that they will be of the same rigorous levels that well-known brands use. Always ensure your artwork is correctly protected and avoid hanging your paintings in direct sunlight.
Our trial and findings
We used a limited number of colours and a small sheet of Art Spectrum Colourfix black to create a drawing of a fishing shack against a pink sunset. First, we applied a light layer of colours, gently blending them. Then, we added more tones and re-blended to cover most of the paper surface. We used a palette knife to lift the pastel and expose the black surface, which helped to create the contrasts found in the shack and frame. By removing the pastel with a tool, we could achieve the fine details that are impossible with oil pastels alone. To enhance the definition, we purposely left some of the paper showing through.
What do the symbols mean that are printed on the paper sleeve?
The paper sleeve displays the colour name, pastel number, star rating for lightfastness, and opacity level. Additionally, it provides the pigment codes that explain which pigments were mixed together to produce each oil pastel colour.
Unfortunately, these pastels are not currently available as open stock, which is a significant issue for a pliable medium like the oil pastel. The necessity of accessing additional colours is fundamental to the product's longevity.
If you're new to oil pastels, starting with a set like this would be a good option. However, it's worth noting that they are creamier than most student-quality oil pastels, which you may find awkward at first. These oil pastels are perfect for creating impasto work because they are incredibly soft and creamy, with opaque colours that are ideal for this type of application. However, if you're going to create high-quality artwork for clients, we suggest using these in conjunction with artist-quality pastels.
At this price, they would make an excellent addition to your oil pastel collection, and it won't break the bank if using them to practice your techniques or create art to reproduce into prints.
About the Paul Rubens company
It is worth noting that we do not receive a commission for any products sold through this review. In this particular case, we were fortunate enough to receive this set without charge. We are committed to providing an impartial review of the product, and our opinions are based solely on our own experiences and observations.
Our newsletter has dropped and we have three new articles now available, plus details regarding our 2023 art workshops.
We like to cover a wide range of mediums and products in each article, so in this newsletter, we explore the Chromaflow coloured pencil range, the latest pencil produced by Derwent. Do we have a UK Prismacolor Premier pencil finally? Our second article covers the creamy oil pastels by Sennelier. Even if you don't work with oil pastels, you may find this article interesting, and you may even decide to try them yourself.
Finally, we have the latest 2023 art workshops now available to book, but for those who can't make one of our workshops, we have the latest tutorial for soft pastel artists. If you haven't tried soft pastels before, we highly recommend you give this tutorial a go. It's so easy and you don't need any previous experience to make a brilliant piece of art.
Click on any of the images below to visit the article and have a read. Why not grab a coffee, as we do throw lots of information into our articles, so we hope you enjoy them!
Derwents' new coloured pencil range
The Chromaflow pencil was released in June of 2021, initially in the USA and India and then the UK and the rest of the world, the following year. Derwent is a company, that has produced quality products for over a century and a half, so we would expect this new range to meet all the usual standards, but do they?
In this article, we analyse the quality and application of the pencils. Did we find the same quality that we have come to expect from Derwent?
We provide information from our own research, as well as reviews by other artists', found online. See how they compare to other brands, in particular with the highly popular Prismacolor Premier pencil, but with Derwents' other lines too.
Sennelier collaborated with Picasso to create this lightfast oil pastel range
The Sennelier (pronounced Sen-el-EE-A) oil pastel is creamy, with an extraordinarily high pigment content, providing vivid colour and excellent covering potential and brilliance, with a high degree of light stability. Oil pastels are comprised of pigment in a non-drying binder of oil and wax, which is formed into a compact stick. Like soft (dry) pastels, alternative brands offer diverse combinations of binder, oil and wax, which make them soft or hard. The Sennelier Oil Pastels use the same high quality pigments and high pigment loads as their other lines, combined with a pure, synthetic binding medium and mineral wax.
In this article, we explore the possibilities of this compelling brand and the rich history of the company. We discuss best practices, delve into lightfast properties and provide recommendations on effective accessories. Finally, we share the feedback of other users and our own thoughts on this product. Even if you have never used oil pastels before, this article may inspire you to give them a go.
New tutorial - Poppy field on black base for soft pastel artists
This is a tutorial created for the soft pastel artist. You may be a complete novice, unsure where to begin on your journey, or an intermediate looking for more knowledge.
Pastels are a quick and easy medium, making them ideal for the absolute beginner. We provide a simple breakdown of how to create an eye catching landscape of these sun-kissed poppies. We show you how to build the foundations and offer practical techniques. By providing images and descriptions, we offer an easy to follow guide for every artist.
You may just wish to pass the time with a box of pastel and a cuppa, simply because you like the composition. Wherever you are in the process, we encourage you to embellish as much as you want, or keep it as simple as we have. Why not give it a go?
2023 Art workshops
Our workshops are aimed at those looking to learn how to create detailed portraits using coloured & graphite pencils. You do not need any previous experience, as our programme ensures you get all the advice you need to create your own masterpiece and we ensure you receive help and advice throughout the day.
At every workshop, we provide individual demonstrations and offer one to one help if you need additional help. You will also receive a booklet that you can consult if you need to refresh your memory of the last demo, as it covers all the techniques explained in each demonstration. We keep the groups small so that we can connect with everyone and make the day as enjoyable as possible.
Why not come and join us!
Where is the workshop venue?
Our newsletter has dropped and we have four new articles, including a brand new medium for our mini tutorials section, the oil pastel. If you haven't tried oil pastels, we would highly recommend you give them a go. Our new tutorial only takes 10 minutes to create a highly effective piece of work, and maybe you will fall in love with the medium too? We certainly love them!
We like to cover a different medium or product, in each article, so this quarter, we provide a list of blending tools for soft pastel artists, a selection of black papers for artists who enjoy working on a dark surface. We have chosen various surfaces and brands, suitable for numerous mediums, not just pencils.
Finally, we have updated the Prismacolor pencil artist. We really delved deep into the history of these pencils and believe us, these pencils have a great history. They span over a hundred years! We also discuss what these pencils can achieve, as we are aware that they are a favourite of many coloured pencil artists.
Click on any of the images below to visit the article and have a read. Why not grab a coffee, as we do throw lots of information into our articles, so we hope you enjoy them.
About the Prismacolor pencil
Karen M Berisford