Review: Winsor & Newton Artist's Oilbars

Winsor and Newton Oilbar oil paint sticks
Oilbars can be used to create monotype prints. (See How to Make a Monotype with Oil Paint Sticks.). Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

The Bottom Line

If you like the saturated colors of oil paint and instant gratification of drawing, then oil sticks or pigment sticks are a medium you should try. Winsor & Newton's Oilbars come in over 30 colors, plus a colorless one that functions as a medium for blending or spreading colors.


  • Crossover medium that makes painting and drawing on one artwork really easy.
  • Use "as is" to draw straight onto the canvas or paper with oil paint, as lines or shaded tone.
  • Can be used with oil painting mediums and converted into "normal" oil paint consistency.
  • Dries with time like oil paint (unlike oil pastels which never dry).
  • Can be mixed with tube oil paints and alkyds.


  • Don't expect a cheaper alternative for tube paint, oil sticks are an oil medium in their own right.
  • Slow drying time, as with oil paint (days to touch dry; months to varnish dry).
  • Need to remember that the fat over lean rule still apply. Don't use under thin layers of oil paint.


  • Artists' quality oil paint presented in stick form, consisting of pigment combined with linseed oil and wax.
  • Oilbars have a sticky, soft-butter consistency. A thin skin forms over the end when it's not in use; simply peel this off.
  • 35 colors available in small (slim 17ml) and standard (50ml) stick sizes. Four colors in an extra-large stick (stump, 165ml).
  • Also a colorless Oilbar, for blending and spreading/glazing color. (Think of it as the equivalent of oil medium.)

    Guide Review - Review: Winsor & Newton Artist's Oilbars

    Giacometti is better known for his tall, thing sculptures than his paintings, but I have long liked the latter with the strong lines all about them. I've lacked the patience to keep dipping a brush into paint to do something similar in my own painting, and charcoal into wet paint didn't do it for me.

    But now I've tried Winsor & Newton's Oilbars and felt how smoothly they work, seen how vibrant the colors are, I think I'm going to have another serious go at incorporating line into paintings. While I mostly paint with acrylics, oilsticks can of course, be used on top of acrylic, as any oil paint can.

    What I have already had great results with is using the Oilbars for creating monotypes. Drawing with the sticks onto a piece of glass, placing a piece of paper on top (damp gave me better results than dry), and running a brayer over it.


    Disclosure: A review set of six slim Oilbars was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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    Your Citation
    Boddy-Evans, Marion. "Review: Winsor & Newton Artist's Oilbars." ThoughtCo, Oct. 23, 2016, Boddy-Evans, Marion. (2016, October 23). Review: Winsor & Newton Artist's Oilbars. Retrieved from Boddy-Evans, Marion. "Review: Winsor & Newton Artist's Oilbars." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 18, 2017).