Best Paper to use with Soft Pastels?

We are often asked what’s the best paper to use with soft pastels, so we asked 3 of our Associate Artists for their opinion.

Profile photo of Denise Findlay.
Denise Findlay – Portrait Artist

My preference is watercolour paper ‘not’ pressed. I like the tooth as its not too rough. I’m not a fan of pastels papers on the market as they don’t seem to hold enough pigment.

Denise Findlay
Best Paper to use with Soft Pastels? 1
Fiona Carvell – Landscape/Still life Artist

Different surfaces give different results. Canson Mi-Tientes are good for beginners due to the different textures on each side which is great for experimenting. Softer colour & easier blending with fingers on this paper.

Pastelmat is more expensive but has a stronger colour hold, very different texture. Blending techniques are different with this (you will get sore fingers if you blend with too little pastel on this surface).

I also use Canson Mi-Tientes Touch, which is good for wet pastel techniques. I’m always trying out new surfaces as there are lots to choose from.

Fiona Carvell
Profile photo of Michelle Lucking
Michelle Lucking – Seascape Artist

UART 400, Claire Fontaine Pastel Mat, Canson Mi Tientes Touch and the standard.

Michelle Lucking

We hope these tips help you when you are deciding on which paper to use. However, if there is any paper that you can recommend to us, we will gladly add it to the list!

Exhibiting at The Royal Academy Summer Show 2023

The Summer Exhibition, held at the Royal Academy at Piccadilly in London, is the world’s oldest open submission exhibition – which means that anyone can enter their work to be considered for inclusion…

#thepastel8 Visit to Thorneyburn

A fabulous day was spent at Thorneyburn last Friday in the company of Fiona Carvell, Michelle Lucking, Nina Squire, Cathy Pierce, Lynn Howarth, Meral Altilar, Lucy Brangwin and Rebecca de Mendonça.

A close up of pastel work on paper.

Let’s talk about Pastel Paper

Paper is a fantastic medium to work on soft pastels, but selecting the one that’s perfect for you can be a challenge, as there’s plenty to choose from. Whether you choose your paper from availability, price or quality, whether you are an amateur or a professional, it boils down to what works best for you.

Associate Artist Recruitment

Are you a pastel artist? Do you use Unison Colour pastels? Would you like to be part of our Associate Artist family?

Hints & Tips from Denise Findlay

Unison Colour pastels are very buildable. Try mixing colours by applying one on top of the other then use a blending stick to the mix (also called a tortillon).

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