Pastel Painting Ideas for Paint and Sip Parties

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When most people think about paint and sip parties, they automatically assume that they are going to be working with acrylic paints. Most of the time, this is the case, but many other mediums can be used as well.

When I have repeat customers for paint parties, I like to keep things new and interesting. So, I get the party guests working with other mediums.

One medium that I love using for these beginner painting classes is pastels. They are fun and easy to use, and I don’t have to set up a lot of materials for each student.

Keep reading to learn more about why you should consider using pastels for your next paint and sip party.

Pastels Aren’t Just for Kids

When most people think about pastels, they think about the pastel crayons they used when they were kids. But, many people don’t realize just how popular pastels are with many artists.

Sure, little kids use pastels, but this is also a medium that can be enjoyed by anyone. Pastels are so easy to use, and I have found that my students enjoy using them for their art.

What Are Pastels?

Pastels are a medium that is usually used on various types of paper. Some are made with pigment, chalk, and a binder, while others are made with pigment, wax, and oil.

Pastel crayons are popular because they are so versatile, easy to use, and very portable. There are both water-resistant and water-soluble pastel crayons.

Pastel crayons can be either soft or hard. Soft pencils give you the most vivid colors, but they tend to crumble easily. I usually suggest using hard pastels for drawing, and soft pastels for coloring/painting.

Types of Pastels

The main types of pastel crayons are soft, hard, and oil. You may be wondering what the difference is between them.

Let’s take a look at how these types of pastels are different.

Soft Pastels

I tend to prefer using soft pastels, as they are much more versatile than oil pastels.

When I teach pastel painting parties, I always get the students to use soft pastel pencils. They come in hundreds of different colors and they can be used to create a lot of details in your art.

This type of pastel crayon is made with gum arabic, so they are smooth and have some flexibility. They also blend easier than other types of pastel crayons.

The only thing I don’t like about soft pastels is the fact that they crumble easily. But, they are easy to blend, and the colors are always nice and vibrant.

Soft pastels, also called “chalk pastels”, release a lot of dust, so it’s best to wear a mask or work outdoors.

Check my guide on oil pastels vs chalk pastels to learn the difference.

Hard Pastels

Hard pastels have more binder and less pigment than soft pastels. The colors are nice and vibrant, and these crayons don’t make as much dust as soft pastels because they do not crumble.

I like using hard pastels for drawing because they can be sharpened to a fine point with a knife. This makes them great for fine details.

But, I don’t like hard pastels for coloring, because they don’t blend as easily as soft pastels. Generally, I use a combination to create my pastel paintings, as well as when teaching at paint and sip parties.

Oil Pastels

Oil pastels are completely different from soft and hard pastels. Instead of being made with chalk, they are made with wax, so they feel more like regular crayons (even though they are much different).

When you use oil pastels, your finished artwork has an appearance that is similar to an oil painting. The colors are vibrant, and they don’t have a chalky appearance. They also glide across the paper quite nicely, and they blend well.

Like hard pastels, oil pastels do not crumble easily. Oil pastels don’t dry out, and they won’t break down while being used.

Pastels Are Portable

When I teach acrylic painting techniques at paint and sip parties, there is a lot I have to do before the party. Each painting station needs to be set up, and there are a lot of materials to lug with me.

When I teach pastel paint and sip parties, I don’t have a lot of art supplies to carry around, and setting up each art station is quick and easy.

In fact, I have found that I can teach pastel paint and sip classes just about anywhere. I love setting up a pastel class in a natural location and getting the students to create their own pastel paintings of the scenery in the area.

All each student needs (besides wine) is a set of 12 or more pastel crayons, a piece of pastel paper (I also use watercolor paper for pastels), and a hard surface to work on.

Pastel Painting Ideas For Beginners

Here are five pastel drawing ideas for paint and sip parties:


Bring your favorite pet or wildlife subject to life using pastels. Pay attention to the textures of fur, the depth of their eyes, and the expressions that make them unique. Practice blending and layering techniques to achieve a realistic or stylized representation.


Capture the beauty of nature with a simple landscape scene, like a serene sunset or a peaceful countryside. Explore the art of blending colors and layering techniques to create depth and texture in your painting, bringing the scene to life.


Begin with a portrait of someone you know—a family member, friend, or even yourself. Use pastels to capture their unique features, focusing on the interplay of light and shadow. 

Experiment with different skin tones and expressions to bring depth and dimension to your portrait.

Still Life

Arrange everyday objects, such as fruits, flowers, or household items, and let pastels be your tool to capture their shapes and vibrant colors.

Pay close attention to the interplay of light and shadow, as it adds depth and dimension to your still life composition.


Embrace your artistic freedom and let your imagination run wild with abstract pastel painting. 

Explore various shapes, lines, and colors to express emotions and ideas, without the constraints of realistic representation. 

Use your pastels boldly and experiment with different techniques to create unique and captivating compositions.

Remember, the journey of pastel painting is about exploration and self-expression. Enjoy the process, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, and let your creativity shine through your artwork.

Why I Love Using Pastels at Paint and Sip Parties

While I do love using acrylic paints for paint and sip parties, I also like to do something different once in a while.

Pastels are loads of fun to use, and they are ideal for beginners who aren’t comfortable using paintbrushes.

One of the things I like the most about a pastel painting party is that there isn’t a whole lot of mess to worry about. There are no water cups to be knocked over, and no one has to worry about getting paint all over their clothing.

I also love the fact that pastels are different. Some people might say, if you have been to one paint party, you’ve been to all of them.

So, it’s nice to be able to provide options for paint and sip parties. Some people like to host these parties regularly, and they love being able to do something different once in a while.

I would love to see more artists getting creative with the mediums they use for painting parties. These parties are growing in popularity, and they will be even more popular when there are a variety of medium options available to them.

Want to learn something new? Check my guide on watercolor pencils for paint and sip parties.

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*image by NewAfrica/depositphotos