Katie O Media

Original Oil Pastels by Katie Orchard






How I work

What are oil pastels?

Oil pastels are like oil paints in a crayon form. Sort of.
These little wax-like crayons are made from pigments mixed with non-drying oil and a wax binding agent. They are rich in color and are great for artists who like to get their hands dirty. 

Since oil pastels are considered both a painting and drawing medium, you have the opportunity to take skills from both practices and use them to your advantage.
Once the colors glide onto the paper or canvas, they are easily manipulated. You can push or pull the colors into one another for smooth transitions, you can scrape and create texture with tools, or you can leave the raw edges of each stroke on the page to make the image feel alive.


How do you come up with your subject matter?

Photoshop. Photoshop. Photoshop.

I love creating the compositions for my pieces. Most of theses works have been created for someone else or as a gift so I take a lot of inspiration from whom the piece is going to. 
I take a lot of pictures and find ways to use pieces of them somewhere in the final product. My best friend and fellow artist, Cameron Derby, and I have a tin that contains all sorts of inspiration and concept terms that we pick from from time to time.

'Steel Flowers' is a great example of a typical composition. Out of our tin, I chose the concept term "100 years in the future" and thought about what a piece of art would look like in the future. As most cartoons taught me, the future would be chrome and everything would be technological. Then, my idea was organic matter would have to be recreated to make us still feel like a part of Earth. So the composition ended up being a part of steel flowers that someone bought that would have fallen onto the side of the road, in the rain, left there without anyone noticing. 
I used a photo taken on a trip to Belize almost 8 years prior, turned it metallic in Photoshop, and created one of my favorite pieces, 'Steel Flowers'.


How long does each piece take you?

That all depends on how big the piece is, how much detail is involved, and how much other work I have at the moment. Because I'm an artist with student loans, I have a full-time job as a project manager that I can't fall behind on. I also do freelance work when it comes around, from single or album cover designs for musicians to motion graphic titles for car companies to music videos.

On average, it takes about 5 hours per square inch to complete one oil pastel once I've started working on the page. The composition beforehand can take anywhere between an hour to six hours to get it just right. 


Interested in a print or custom oil pastel?