Pastels or soft pastel in particular is one of those mediums where the results are very much dependent on the materials you use. You can’t just use any old paper or pastels at least not if you want the completed paintings to look the same in a weeks time. Pastels need a paper that has enough tooth to grip the pastel and keep it on the paper. If you use a rubbish paper it does not matter how much fixative you use the pastel will not stay put.
So lets get it right from the start. I use a range of papers for my pastels and my choice of paper is dependent on the subject I am painting i.e the level of detail I intend to have in the image and whether I intend to add any other medium to the piece such as a watercolour wash for the background. These are the ones that over the years I have found have provided me with a consistent surface to work on and thus the best results. They are also papers that have enough tooth on them to allow you to forego the use of fixative which is nasty icky stuff best avoided as it kills the colours in your work.
Professional Pastel Paper
PASTELMAT® is a premium card surface (360gsm / 170lb) specially developed for pastelists. Its unique velvety surface, made from a fine coating of cellulose fibers, has the ability to grab and hold multiple layers of even the softest pastels.
PASTELMAT® significantly reduces the need for fixative, which means that colors remain vibrant and fresh once applied. It has the added bonus of being gentle on both fingers and blending tools. It is acid free and lightfast.
PASTELMAT® is ideal for use with all dry media – pastel sticks, PanPastel, pencils and charcoal. It is also water resistant.
Fabriano Tiziano 160gsm Pastel Paper
Fabriano Tiziano Pastel Paper is 160gsm and is produced with a high cotton content and pure ECF cellulose, according to ISO 9706 ‘LONG LIFE’ regulations. It is acid-free and highly resistant to ageing.
Fabriano Tiziano is a high quality paper with a rough surface and highly lightfast colours which make this paper particularly suitable for pastels but also suitable for pencil, crayon, charcoal and tempera. Tiziano can be used for all printing techniques.
Uart Premium Sanded Pastel Paper
UART Premium Pastel Paper is constructed to provide pastel, pencil and watercolor artists with a quality and reliable foundation. With seven paper grades from 240 to 800, this sanded pastel paper accepts a wide variety of media for underpainting without compromising the tooth. You can layer, correct and create without impairing the paper or your piece. In addition, Uarts manufacturing process guarantees a consistent surface so your work looks flawless from corner to corner.