Every day so many people ask me about the type of pastel paper I use with my work. It is entirely an individual choice but I do have my favourites. As an Art Tutor, I think it is very important for me to be able to give recommendations to my students regarding different papers for different mediums, and I am happy to also give that information to others who may be looking for something different to use in their work.
However, please note that as each and every Artist works differently to another, advice and information given on this page is from my own working point of view and therefore cannot guarantee that the stated paper is going to be the favourite of each and every reader.
The paper I use is Colourfix™ paper. It has a grainy tooth not unlike mild sandpaper. An indication of cost of the paper in Australia, is around $17.00 for a pack of 10 sheets. (230 x 300mm) OR around $6.00 per sheet for 700 x 500mm. It comes in a great variety of colours (20 in all).
Printed on 300gsm hot press watercolour paper and with its dense, lightfast colours and fine deep tooth, Colourfix™ is a superb substrate for acrylics, inks, silverpoint, oil pastels, gouache, watercolours and dry media such as soft pastels, charcoal and pencils. The natural toothy surface will hold multiple layers of pastel without the need for fixative, allowing the velvet bloom and vibrant colour of pastel to be preserved. Erasing is also easy with Colourfix™ – simply lift off excess pastel with clear adhesive tape, brush off with a dampened or dry brush, or use a pencil eraser.
Alternatively, errors can be painted over or areas touched up with the matching colour of Colourfix™ Primer. It is worth noting that they have also recently released Colourfix Smooth Primer which can be applied to almost any surface. It comes in the same 20 colours as the papers. The ability to apply a primer to any surface and also to be able to tint it to suit a particular painting is very appealing.
One thing that I really love about this paper is how forgiving the surface is. The tough, toothy surface can be sanded, scrubbed, soaked and reworked over and over, without damaging the paper. I’ve had no problems removing mistakes and taking layers right back to the original surface.
For me, I find that the tooth picks up the pigment perfectly and gives you amazing strength of colour. I use soft pastels and occasionally pastel pencils for detail only. When I think I require density in my colours, I try to minimise the use of pencils as much as I can. The larger pastels gives me an unrestricted finish meaning less details, therefore the finished painting has a lovely quality about it and a fresher appeal. Quality professional pastels must always be used to achieve a better result.
By the way, if you are a pastel artist then I can highly recommend Rembrandt Soft Pastels. I have been using them for years. They have a great colour range and are top quality.
I hope this article is able to help other Coloured pencil Artists. Also, if you are a pastel artist, you may be interested in my new e-course! Check it out by clicking here!
My final recommendation would be, as with any new medium or product – practice first, get used to the paper, see which of your pencils work better on which paper and if there are any techniques that you currently incorporate into your work, be aware that it may not work with Colourfix paper – but just try it and have fun!