There are a huge variety of pastel surfaces to choose from, and it can be confusing at first knowing what to use. For pastel work your surface needs enough ‘key’ (texture), or the pastel will slip around and not adhere.

It is easiest to start with pastel papers, such as Canson Mi-Tientes paper, or Winsor Universal paper. Some art suppliers have selection packs so that you can try a few and see which ones you like.

There are also many different types of textured surfaces, such as Clourfix primer, Sennelier Sand Card, Pastelmat, Velour, UArt and Canson Touch, to name but a few.

The lovely thing about pastel papers is that they are available in lots of different colours and tones.

For beginners the hardest colour to work on is white so try to avoid that and go for a mid-tone paper instead.

Different paper surfaces.
Lurcher on mid-tone neutral surface.
Lurcher on light tone, neutral surface.
Lurcher on blue surface.
Using different surfaces.