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on 10 June 2017
Not a good book for oil pastelists, didn't learn anything and the drawings are awful. I know everyone sees a picture differently but if you were to asked to guess the age of the illustrations you would say 8 years old.
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on 5 May 2008
I am so pleased to have found a book solely about oil pastels. This is a very informative, beautifully illustrated book. The techniques described within have been a great help.

The quality of the art presented on these pages, I will admit, seemed a bit daunting and posibly beyond my abilities; but then it is aimed at 'the Serious Beginner'.

I am still glad to have a book with instructions to allow me to further enjoy this wonderful medium!
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on 27 April 2017
Only 3stars at the moment as I haven't really got into it yet. I bought it prior to using oil pastels to find out about blending mediums and sticks, thinners, and other practicalities around oil pastels. It answered the questions I had but I still haven't put the answers into practice yet. Must get round to it.
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on 30 January 2008
At last someone has produced a book on oil pastels true to it's title!!!!
Just like the author I find the soft traditional pastels, messy, dusty and untidy to work with. I don't like them, but that's what is offered on nearly all books on 'pastels'! I purely enjoy working in oil pastels, although as a beginner to this medium I have experienced incredible difficulty in getting any guidance.

All the books on 'Pastels' either completely ignore oil pastels altogether or only include them as a mixed media option or to use with watercolours. I don't want to have to buy watercolours to paint with oil pastels!
I was so pleased to finally find a book that taught me the techniques I needed to learn. I made many discoveries with this book, including the diversity of supports usable for oil pastels as well as some interesting techniques.

The artist is amazing and his true love of this media is obvious. Like the previous reviewer said he is 'too good'. I am in awe of some of his work so much so that I feel I can never reach that standard. But he certainly gives me incentive to try!

One drawback is that it is American. The suppliers contacts, availability of propriety items mentioned is not relevent to the UK. I also found some of the terminology confusing as Americans have different names for some things. I thought though that this was a small sacrifice to finally finding a totally dedicated book specific to oil pastels written by one who so clearly loves the medium!

If you can't use 'normal' soft pastels for health or economy reasons (you have to buy so many to get the tonal range)and wish to take up Oil pastels this book is an absolute must.
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on 14 October 2014
I just bought the 2014 reprint of this book, oil pastel for the serious beginner by John Elliott.
After waiting for years for that opportunity, as I refused to buy the original book going for a silly price on amazon and elsewhere, I was so elated that it was again available for half the price and as a reprint.
Now I have seen the new version, I have to say I am very disappointed: the quality of the pictures is horrendous, half of them are not focussed and great details get lost in a blur, also the print looks like it was made on a home printer on simple cartridge paper - not the picture quality that you would expect from an art book.
Oil pastels are beautiful and bright, full of dynamism and life. And all of these qualities are lost in the poor quality of these pictures.
This book does not do oil pastels, nor John Elliott, justice. It is a real let down, to my opinion. I will have to send it back just for these reasons. What a shame.

e.g. if still in doubt, have a look at pages 53, 75, 97, 123 for some of the worst pictures... awful.

Also the preview on Amazon is of the older original book and gives better quality pictures!
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on 13 January 2008
This American book is the only book solely for oil pastels available at the moment.
I am satisfied with this book but will detail the negatives first then the positives. From my point of view there are just 2 disadvantages to this book. The First disadvantage is that the artist is just too good! Some of the examples he draws with oil pastels are too hard and dazzling for an amateur hobbyist like myself to have a go at. But even with my limited ability I still found many examples that I could try and got a very satisfactory drawing of a sunset done as a result.
The 2nd disadvantage is that he describes all the many techniques that exist for using oil pastels, except one!
He missed out the technique that uses sectioning and then underpainting of a lighter shade of colour as described at the "fantasy art" "FARP" website. That technique was the main reason I had for buying this. Yet I was not disappointed overall.
Overall I do not regret buying this book. It is easy to follow, has beautiful illustrations and I hope that more books on oil pastels alone are published in the future.
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on 15 June 2010
There is little available about this medium and I found this book really helpful in getting started. It gives a good introduction to starting this medium and also useful tips on how to develop further if you are really interested. I have tried some of the techinques and they work.
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on 15 June 2015
I'm finding it really hard to make my mind up about this book. It's comprehensive and covers a lot of subject matter and technique (although layering & scraping back isn't really covered at all - there are only 2 paragraphs in the whole book that mention scraping) but, for me, it feels rather dated. I was looking for something a bit more contemporary and up-to-date in nature but found its style - both text and paintings - too 'traditional' for my taste. I think the techniques could be useful and there are bound to be things I could use when trying for myself, but ultimately I didn't find anything in the book at all inspiring. If you have never painted before I can see that this book might be helpful with painting in general - after all, its subtitle is 'Basic Lessons in Becoming a Good Painter' - but for someone who has at least some knowledge or experience and really wants guidance on using oil pastels as a new medium, I found it a rather expensive and somewhat dull read.
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on 12 April 2010
Well presented and illustrated but no comparisons as yet because this seems to be about the only book entirely devoted to this medium. I thought being American might make problems but it doesn't seem to.
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on 2 October 2013
I liked the book, but found it much to expensive for what was in it. I did expect more. There are lots more good books on the market for far less. I have seen it on sale since for far less than what I paid. Maybe I didn't shop around enough. Having said all that not a bad book.
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