A great oil pastel project for kids is a drawing that is flexible in color, such as a chameleon, where the child can use a variety of colors and shapes to complete the drawing. Start a children's art project with creative tips from an art instructor in this free video on using oil pastels.
Here are some basic techniques in using oil pastel in working with children. A good beginning will make for a good project, as well as some good finishing touches. When we start with a project with children we have them draw in pencil first. And we choose something that anyone can be successful in, and something that can be very flexible in terms of color. So a chameleon is a great choice. You start with the basic football shape, add a tail, add a kind of pointy head, and everything is all set up for a great pastel painting. Once the children have their drawing in pencil they will erase any lines they don't need. And we like to outline with a china marker, because it will sharpen the edges, and be easier for children to figure out where they want to add color. And it helps organize their space. As you can see this student has already filled in with a main color of green, but we are going beyond just coloring. We are trying to build up so that the pastel is smooth as opposed to this colored look right here where it is very thin, and it looks like crayon. We have built up using layers of green, layers of yellow, and white. And we try to find a darker tone for the edges to make it look three dimensional. So here the green would not get any darker so we added blue, and that helped to round out the shape of the chameleon. The nice thing about chameleons is you can do anything with them. They can be fantasy, polka dotted, stripped. The kids have a lot of fun with it. So if I wanted to transition him from green to red here I might start with just coloring in the simple basic color. Maybe I will have him go from red to orange to yellow. I try to blend colors that work well side by side. Red and green won't work if you blend them they are opposite complimentary. So you try to think of in terms of the rainbow a step up or down the rainbow, and then you will have a smooth transition. Now the yellow will work in blending with the green, it will also work nicely with the orange. And it will blend nicely with the red. So I can use that to smooth the pastel, and get a painterly effect. I am trying to avoid the eye. I want the eye to stand out so I might come back and use a vibrant green to bring back those tones. Now you see the white of the paper has disappeared. I may use the blue again at the edges here to kind of round out the shape. Adding a little along inside where the china marker is, and I have the children use their pinkie for just a little bit of simple blending here. And you will see he has rounded out quite nicely. Let's try some of that green for in his eye, and one step along the rainbow from the green would be yellow. So I will use a little yellow to brighten it. And you can see we have a nice variation of color, a nice variation in blending as long as we stay with colors that work well together. Let me show you some of our children's work. And you can see this student makes sure they finish the outlining after if something got covered up it helps the chameleon pop from the background. It could be a realistic background or something simple, abstracted, but very rich and smooth in color. So I hope that the children would enjoy a project like this, because they will get to use a variety of color in any way that works for them.