Best Paper for Soft Pastels

Best Paper for Soft Pastels UK

Why it’s important to use the best paper for soft pastels?

Check out my top picks below:

Soft pastels are a tremendously fun method of drawing and painting. While the medium adheres on various different surfaces, a thing to consider is the convenience and compatibility of it all. Most pastel artists eventually want to test their painting skills on things that are meant to be drawn on by pastels and soft pastels.

That’s where pastel papers come in. What is pastel paper you ask? Well, pastel paper is basically textured paper.

What that entails for the artists is that they are able to hold more layers of paint as opposed to other pastel paper. Textured speciality pastel papers are excellent to use your pastels on to appreciate their full potential.

This review guide will enlighten you regarding various types of pastel paper on the market and the best paper for soft pastels for your convenience.

So, hold tight and stick around till the end to find out the best paper for pastels on the market and my top 5 picks that you can get right now!

01) Sennelier La Carte Pastel Pads

40 x 60cm (15.5 x 23.5in)

Sennelier La Carte Pastel Pads main image


  • Acid-free
  • Lightfast
  • Sheet count of 12
  • Textured surface
  • High tooth pastel card


The Sennelier La Carte Pad has a sheet count of 12. The cards have a high tooth surface which enables easy painting with lesser fixatives making them ideal for work with any pastel stick.

The surface with flakes of vegetables and cork gives a feel of pastel board which is what most artists look for when working with dry pastels. It also allows you to put on several layers of pastels. You can go with consistent thin layers with hard pastels and soft pastels.

  • Similar to pastel board
  • Increased toothing requiring lesser fixatives
  • Ideal for pastel art
  • Pricier than other pastel papers
  • Not great with anything wet


The La Carte Pad is outstanding for pastel painting simply because of the toothing and the roughness provided in each sheet. Pastel particles easily come off and stick to the surface as opposed to a smooth and flat surface.

Sennelier often provides great pastel paper for whatever money they charge you so this is a great purchase for your needs and this is one of the best papers for pastels and pastel drawing. It also allows you to put on several layers of pastels.

02) Hahnemuhle Velour 260 gsm Pad

30 x 40cm Mixed Colours

Hahnemuhle Velour 260 gsm Pad main image


  • Acid-free
  • Age resistant
  • 10 sheets of paper
  • Includes both light and dark paper


Hanhemuhle is an age-old name for papermakers and that entails that they have some of the best paper for pastels. The velour surface ensures smooth application for most dry media.

  • Velvety texture
  • Wide selection of colored papers
  • Fiber enhanced paper texture
  • They may not be optimal for wet media


Hanhemuhles’ craftsmanship is top-notch and extremely reliable when it comes to paper. They provide some of the best paper for pastels for pastel drawing.

In conclusion, they will give you a run for your money for exceptional paper for soft pastels.

03) Derwent A5 Pastel Paper Pad

24 Sheets of Neutral Grey, Acid-Free 200gsm Paper

Derwent A5 Pastel Paper Pad main image


  • Designed for use with pastel pencils
  • Neutral grey for ideal tones
  • Enables blending due to the surface texture
  • A5 sheets for 24


Derwent provides 24 sheets of neutral grey 200 GSM paper which is a great thickness for many layers of pastel painting. The thickness itself makes it one of the best papers for pastels to work with.

  • Great for pastel pencil work
  • Smooth texture surface
  • High-quality pastel paper
  • Not large enough
  • On the pricier side


Derwent is a safe and reliable option for anyone looking for a decent enough collection of pastel paper.

Albeit the budget, it’s definitely worth the money if you are looking for high-quality pastel paper.

04) Ampersand Art Supply Museum

Series Pastelbord White-1/8 Inch Depth, 16″ x 20″

Ampersand Art Supply Museum main image


  • Marble dust finish
  • Great for both wet and dry media
  • Made in the States
  • Pastel board with 16″ x 20″


The Ampersand Museum series pastelboard is a great piece of equipment for your pastel painting needs. It can take the place of many sorts of papers such as either chalk pastel paper or the non-mounting requirement indicates it can even replace mounting pastel paper.

  • Applicable for wet or dry medium
  • Allows for smooth layering
  • Eco-friendly and formaldehyde-free
  • Chance of damage
  • Pricier than others


The pastelboard is a brilliantly versatile piece of painting gear that will ensure you a very satisfying experience during your art project.

Overall, a great purchase for when you need the best of both worlds and that extra flexibility.

05) Strathmore 403-9 Assorted Color Pastel Paper Pad

9 x 12-inch, 24 Sheets

Strathmore 403-9 Assorted Color Pastel Paper Pad main image


  • Surface is smooth
  • Sheet count of 24
  • 9×12 inches paper


The Strathmore 403, 9 assorted colored pad contains 24 sheets of 9″ x 12″ which is great for oil pastels and soft pastels alike. Great selection of colors on the sheets if you are looking for that kind of thing.

The surface has a smooth texture enabling easy adherence for the pastels. Layering is never an issue so even if you want a bright white highlight you may easily apply that by blending it into your work.

  • Smooth finish
  • Convenient size
  • With the smooth finish, you’re restricted to how much texture you can generate


Strathmore has made its name known among many lists when it comes to pastel papers. While they might not have the top end, best paper they sure are great for when you’re limited on budget.

In conclusion, the budget this is being offered at it would be a mistake not to consider it if you don’t have deep pockets at the moment.

General Information About Soft Pastels

Soft pastels work on a variety of surfaces but do exceptionally well on papers like laid papers or mold-made paper for their texture. The texture easily allows for when you want your pastels to easily adhere onto a surface.

This allows for a specific look that most artists actually prefer as opposed to other finishes. The most common sort of paper that you generally get without even knowing is called Ingres paper or laid paper.

The nature of the chalk sliding off with each stroke is perfectly compatible with textured surfaces or sanded textured surfaces. The rougher and grittier the finish of the paper, the more substance you are able to see with each stroke of your soft pastel.

Conclusion / Roundup

Hopefully, this guide was able to cover most of the answers to your questions. While each artist may have their own niche and preference there is convenience in each type of paper and medium for every artist.

You are more than welcome to try out the things for yourself before settling for any of these products as there is a factor of getting used to a particular type of paper and texture.

There is a constituent of having too many options but whatever is given in this review should help you narrow things down to what you need at the end of the day.

On a final note, only trial and error will work better than reading things in a review.


What is the best paper for pastels?

If there must be an answer for that question and a seasoned artist were to answer that the answer would easily be Ingres paper. Mainly due to the affordability and the ease of accessibility.

Most local stores would be able to help you with just what you are looking for if you’re constrained by a tight budget.

However, you are not bound to just these types of paper as there are other options that are mentioned in this list that are just as affordable.

Do I need special paper for soft pastels?

It is possible to use any sort of surface for soft pastels. However, having special papers will give your art that extra edge you are looking for. Whether it’s the finishing or the whole experience you have with the entire project, special paper will surely take your masterpieces to the next level.

Why use sanded paper for pastels?

Sanded paper allows the particles of the soft pastel to easily adhere and slide off with each stroke. It helps with layering and blending as well. The course texture requires lesser fixative to be at work, easily giving the finished feel of velvet to your artwork.

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.