Van Gogh Meets Oil Pastels: Make a Van Gogh Oil Pastel Project

Published: April 30, 2018

I’m not sure why I haven’t done an oil pastel on black paper project yet, but now that it’s here, it’s fantastic. We’ve got a little Van Gogh, a few sheets of black paper, and a whole pile of luscious, color-infested oil pastels. That’s a recipe for pure art magic, right there. (And messy hands, so no nose-picking during this project.)

van gogh oil pastel project

To begin, check out this sunflowers painting by Vincent Van Gogh. It’s famous, it’s cool, it’s fun to copy.

We didn’t print it out, but you could if you feel like it.

Start by making a quick overall sketch on your black paper with pencil. You are trying to get down the basic shapes, where the horizon line is, and the overall shapes of the flowers. Don’t go for any detail or real shapes here, this is merely for placement of everything.

pencil drawing

Grab a warmer ochre-mustardy yellow and a lighter yellow oil pastel, and fill in some of the table and sunflower petals. I started with the light yellow on the petals, just making really rough lines. Almost like you are drawing the rays of a sun.

For the table, I started with the mustardy yellow oil pastel, still using rough lines and marks to fill it in mostly, then added in a few light yellow lines here and there. This gives it some highlights, and makes it look more textural.

oil pastel van gogh art project

Pick a green and add some random marks in to represent leaves around the flowers. This is starting to get fun, isn’t it?

The next thing you can do is add some grey and a little brown to the bottom of the vase, and some brown (I used tan and reddish-brown) to the insides of flowers.

Throw a few tan or brown lines around parts of the edges of the flower petals, just to get all crazy.

To finish it all off, use a turquoise oil pastel to fill in the background. Look! How! Pretty! These! Colors! Are! Together!

Van Gogh oil pastel art

Materials for Van Gogh Oil Pastel Project:

Oil pastelsBlack paper

(keep this somewhere handy for Halloween projects)



  • Leave some of the black paper showing through as the lines around the vase, and to make the colors pop.
  • Have fun with making the marks on the page. You can work quickly and energetically instead of laboring over where to put every line. This is perfect for antsy kids. And adults who overthink making art. 🙂
  • Curve the lines of the vase down in the center of the vase; this will help the vase look nice and round.
  • Use a big piece of paper under your drawing; oil pastels have a sneaky way of getting all over the place.
  • Make up a little song about Vincent Van Gogh while you draw.

van gogh pastel sunflower project

More Good Stuff

Try this crayon transfer project using oil pastels and see how it differs from the crayons.

Read 15 interesting tips about Van Gogh’s sunflower series here.

If you’re wanting a straightforward drawing project for kids, try this portrait drawing using a grid.

Here’s an awesome idea for displaying your kid’s artwork, and you can store up to 50 artworks in there to keep them or switch them around.

Van Gogh Oil Pastel Project



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