I go on and on about the glories of textured pastel paper-which I love and prefer-but sometimes, I do use a piece of “regular” pastel paper…with a twist. While I mostly use Ampersand Pastelbords and Sennelier La Carte pastel card, I often choose a sheet of pastel paper for soft subjects, like a baby’s face. However, I do NOT like the little dots that show up on most papers.
So, I just flip it over and use the back!
Granted, some pastel papers have dot or line texture on both sides, so I just don’t pick those brands. Mi Tientes, for example, has a smoother back (you know its the back because there’s a price sticker on it!) The reverse side still has enough texture to hold my layers of pastel, that I apply more softly to get a smooth result for a rosy baby cheek.
Even on the smooth paper, I can still get some good texture by using layers of soft pastels, as you can see here:
Some people like the “dots” on pastel paper, saying it looks like canvas, or it adds a different texture…it is a texture! I just don’t like it. Here is one of my earliest portraits, when I was still using the “correct” side of the pastel paper:
I was happy with the result at the time, am still satisfied with my rendering, but I am happier these days using the smooth side of the paper, or a good textured surface to really pump up the colors and show off the details! What is your favorite surface to use?
Check out some of my other blog posts on pastel surfaces:
Pastelbord: Once you go bord, you never go back