Product Review -- Mungyo Gallery Oil Pastels

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Amethyst crystal drawn in Mungyo Gallery oil pastel on gray Canson mi-Tientes by Robert A. Sloan

Excellent Student Grade Oil Pastels

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Mungyo Gallery oil pastels fall in the high end of the student grade category. The full range is available at Jerry's Artarama, while Blick only carries the Fluorescent and Metallic 12 color sets. I've seen some excellent videos on YouTube demonstrating oil pastel painting with them. This drawing is an amethyst-tipped quartz crystal I drew with them on gray Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper.

You can see that the white is strong and opaque. It's a good blender, some of the mid values are created by using the white as a blender. An unusual pale gray-violet gave me exactly the right value for one of the planes of the crystal, and a light mid-value distinct from the gray of the paper. These blend well. The wad of kneaded eraser holding the crystal to a matte silver tin lid is a combination of a dozen or more colors around the spectrum to produce varied, mixed neutrals.

I created this for my example drawing so as to show both light and heavy applications on a typically toothy drawing paper, the smooth side of Canson mi-Tientes. The round, wrapped sticks are satisfyingly opaque and the softness is reasonable. They don't crumble as much as some other student grade brands.

As I said at the beginning, Mungyo Gallery oil pastels are one of the borderline brands. I feel they compare decently to Cray-Pas and Van Gogh's products, certainly in handling they exceed many of the cheap brands without going much beyond their price. The proof will be in the lightfast testing next year.

There is no mention of lightfastness or "fadeproof" or "fade resistant" on the box or inside it. What I suspect because of this is that some colors are a lot more fade resistant than others, depending on what pigment.

Mungyo Gallery oil pastels are available in open stock or 12, 24, 36, 48 and 72 color sets at Jerry's Artarama, where again there is no mention of lightfastness issues. The 72 color set is a wood box set at a higher price, the box looks sturdy with two rows of pastels in one long narrow layer. Jumbo sets of 12, 24 and 36 are available as well, with larger sticks for covering more area.

Mungyo Gallery also has two specialty sets of oil pastels, a 12 color Fluorescent set and a six color Metallics set with two of each color. These are probably not lightfast. Certainly the Fluorescent colors aren't, but they are perfect for party decorations and black light posters if you don't mind that they're ephemeral. Because I'm an old hippie from the 1960s, one of these days I'll do a beautiful stained glass black light poster probably with a stylized nude and swirly psychedelic designs around her. I won't leave it up on the wall often though, only take it out when I use a black light.

By definition, fluorescent pigments degrade every time UV light touches them. This is what creates their glow and dramatic effect, it's just not something to use for a permanent archival work. There are many reasons why you might not care whether something is archival but do want it to get attention, and the Mungyo Gallery fluorescent set is perfect if you want bold areas of fluorescent color on signs directing people to a party or yard sale, or black light party decorations.

I used the Metallics to create some holiday decorations without regard to whether they're lightfast or not, because Gallery Mungyo metallics are strong, pigment rich, reasonably opaque with a good texture. Look at the background of my Santa Claus for an example of the gold coverage.

Santa Claus drawing in Mungyo Gallery oil pastels by Robert A. Sloan, illustration for eHow article on how to draw Santa Claus and product review of Mungyo Gallery oil pastels.

This is a good student brand and a good sketching set for anyone who wants to experiment with medium soft, smooth oil pastels that have good opacity. Lightfastness is unmentioned and unproven, but other than that their handling qualities bring them close to artist grade. I recommend them for sketchbook use, crafts projects and student use.

The range is a well balanced chromatic array, very suitable for designer and illustration work where you're not worried about lightfastness at all. Online cartoonists and illustrators can have a good time with these. Jerry's Artarama has some videos on oil pastel that use them, and some YouTube artists use them for demos and art lessons too.

Color chart of 48 Mungyo Gallery oil pastels on white sketchbook paper.