Tuesday’s Tool: Gelatos vs Oil Pastels

Gelatos 1

During the last art party, I was asked what was the difference between Gelatos and Oil Pastels.  She asked if she really needed to buy Gelatos. Hmmm?  You decide.  I’ve made my choice.

For this comparison I used Faber Castell Gelatos and Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels.  I purchased my gelatos online.  They came in a set of 4 with 2 tools.  They are about $10 per pack.  However, I paid about $12.99 for both.  They are also available at Michael’s….use a coupon.    I picked up the oil pastels at Staples.  The package included 24 colors for around $22.

gelatos and oils

The numbers below correspond to the numbered rows above.  Notice: I show a comparison of the gelatos on untreated mixed media paper in the first column and the oil pastels in the 2nd column.  I treated columns 3 and 4 with gesso and did the same techniques using gelatos and then oil pastels.

Gelatos 7
1. For the first row, I used my finger to smudge the gelatos and oil pastels.
Gelatos Row 1
1. Row 1 results. Gelatos and oil pastels both color on quite creamy. However, the gelatos spread much easier and smoother, especially on the gesso’d side. Both are a little tough to spread on the non-gesso’d side.
Gelatos 6
2. 2nd row, I used a bit of water on a brush.
Gelatos Row 2
Again, not a smooth spread on the non-gesso’d side. However, Gelatos spread smoother, easier and cleaner on the gesso’d side. See how the color is still sort of saturated in the center of the oil pastels at the end.
Gelatos 5
3. Row 3. I used my finger 2 blend 2 colors.
Gelatos Row 3
Gelatos blend on both surfaces, of course better on the gesso. However, the oil pastels were hard to blend on the non-gesso’d surface, yet easy on the gesso.
Gelatos Row 4
4. Row 4. Again, I used a wet brush, but this time for blending. Just like above blending on the untreated surface is not as smooth for either and a bit tougher with oil pastels. It was much easier for both on the gesso prepped side. Although, the gesso again gives a smoother look.
Gelatos 4
5. For row 5 first I shaved some gelatos and oil pastels.
Gelatos 3
Next, I added water to make a wash/paint.
Gelatos Row 5
5. The gelatos take a little bit more mixing for the gelato to dissolve. However, they both created beautiful splatters and a beautiful wash. Since, I did not completely blend the gelatos the wash has dark and light parts…which I really like.
Gelatos Row 6
6. Row 6. Finally, I colored with each and added lots of water to create a drip. Notice, the only one that worked well was the gelato on the gesso prepped side. It worked very lightly with the oil pastels but I had to keep adding color and water to get that little drip.

The choice for me hands down is the Faber Castell Gelatos.  I love the ease of use, the texture, it feels a little less oily than the oils and the oils have a very strong smell, that I do not like very much!

Here are a few pages I made using oil pastels and gelatos:

Journal 52 Week 11 Stars
Oil Pastel Background
Journal 52 Week 14 Rain or Shine
Gelato Background

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will give them a try for yourself.  It’s always fun to compare and be able to decide what supplies you love.

Gelatos or Oil Pastels?  What say you?



20 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Tool: Gelatos vs Oil Pastels

  1. I say that was a great little comparison! Thanks for doing that. I seem to always reach for my gelatos first as well (although that may be because they actually sit on my desk : )) I hope I can come tomorrow night, I had such a good time the last time I came!


  2. Thanks for the comparison! I bought some gelatos a few months back when Archivers went out of business and never used them! I am pulling mine out now!

  3. Love your chart.. Sometimes the comparisons get overwhelming.. by having 3-4 products .. this was not.. thanks!

  4. Gelatos are my favourite medium for sure! But I am wondering if you would have similar results with watercolour pastels/crayons? I am thinking it is the oil base in the pastels that makes them less soluble and blendable. What do you think?

  5. I use both, depending on the color I need. I prefer the Gelatos, but sometimes I just need a touch of darker and deeper color and the Portfolios are great for that.

  6. This was a great blog and answered a lot of my questions about the 3 products. now I am going to try this and see just what product I like best.
    Leaving some blog love…<3

    1. I so appreciated you taking your time to compare these items and then sharing your results with us. As a newer follower, I am pleased to have someone take the time to assist me in this way. I do not own Gelatos but have wanted to get some… Now I know they are definitely in my future. Smiling

  7. Hi Tiare, thanks for sharing this info…..it appeared on my facebook feed via journal 52. I own both items but haven’t done any playing/comparison with them together. Hope you don’t mind but I shared your blog post and blog addy with the Unruly PaperArts Facebook Group as I thought there are lots of people out there who would love to read your post.

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