Best Paper for Soft Pastels

Best Paper for Soft Pastels

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) Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad

Assorted Colors, 18″ x 24″ GlueBound, 24 Sheets

Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad main image


  • 24 sheets
  • Tape bound
  • Acid-free paper
  • Optimal for various mediums of paint and pastels
  • Sheet dimensions of 18″ x 24″


The Strathmore 400 series pastel pad is a brilliant option for various dry media techniques including pastel pencils and pastels. With 24 amazing sheets of high-quality paper surface for your painting, you are sure to enjoy every single second of your pastel drawings.

  • Very affordable
  • Great mixed media paper
  • Textured surface
  • The texture may not be optimal for finer details due to the grit of the paper.


The paper surface has a very textured feel which is great if you’re looking for that. However, you might want to avoid it if you want to achieve finer details for your pastel work.

Overall, a great purchase nonetheless for when you are in a pinch and want to get something right away on a budget.

02) Canson Mi-Teintes Touch Pad

A3 355gsm

Canson Mi-Teintes Touch Pad main image


  • 12 sheet count
  • Sanded paper with a slight grit
  • Good for wet mediums due to the thickness
  • Great for colored pencils and chalk pastels
  • Optimal size


The Canson Mi-Teintes touch pad features 12 textured and sanded sheets of pastel paper. Create brilliant masterpieces with the versatile support of mixed media painting.

  • Appropriate for various surfaces
  • Great size for carrying
  • Not many sheets of paper
  • On the pricier side


The Canson collection of 12 sheets offers a great starter pack for all sorts of artists. The versatile support of various mediums makes it so you can use it for any purpose.

The final verdict lies that it is a great purchase if you want quality pastel papers. This is your pick albeit being on the pricier side.

03) Hahnemuhle Pastel 10 Color Velour Pad

11.7 x 15.6 Inches 260gsm 10 Sheets

Hahnemuhle Pastel 10 Color Velour Pad main image


  • 10 sheets in the pad
  • Velour paper pad
  • 12″ x 16″
  • Soft textured surface


Hahnemuhle is one of the oldest papermakers founded in Germany. They make quality pastel papers for soft pastels and various other paint mediums. This velour pad enables the artist to be able to work with soft pastel sticks with no difficulty at all.

Velour surfaces are great for both soft and hard pastels, making them very popular among pastel artists.

  • Smooth surface
  • Great for pastel layers
  • The finish gives a more subtle texture to touch
  • Low in quantity


The Hahnemuhle is one of the easiest recommendations on the list for their craftsmanship when it comes to paper’s quality. The velour surface is great for various paints and will give your pastel paintings a satisfyingly soft background.

Overall, the pad is a steal if you can get your hands on it. Every sheet has a slight texture that gives your painting life and a beautiful finish.

04) UART Sanded Pastel Paper M-147746

21-Inch/27-Inch No.600 Grade Paper, 10-Pack

UART Sanded Pastel Paper M-147746 main image


  • 10 pack of loose sheets
  • From gritty paper to smoother paper
  • Supports various mediums from oil pastel to wet mediums
  • Acid-free paper


UART Pastel Paper offers 10 sheets of great textured sanded pastel paper which is great to practice and execute your pastel painting skills on. The surface supports a very versatile selection of mediums starting from oil pastels to hard pastels.

UART additionally is a very reputable brand for other art supplies and art tools. The paper proves to be just as good as their other art materials.

  • Various grades of textured surface
  • Covers support for various art mediums
  • The paper gives a softer colour look due to the texture
  • Lack of quantity for the price


The UART pack contains 10 beautifully textured and sanded gritty papers which also come in various grades. The sheets hold oil paint just as well as any other wet media making it super versatile.

A great purchase if you’re looking for loose sheets with an excellent paper texture at an affordable price.

05) Sennelier La Carte Pastel Pad

Multi Color 12 x 16

sennelier la carte pastel pad main image


  • Acid-free
  • Lightfast
  • Sheet count of 12
  • Textured surface with flakes of cork and vegetable


Sennelier is a household name for pastel painting and their brand name is no exception for pastel papers. The La Carte Pastel Pad provides you with a sheet count of 12, 12″ x 16″ sheets which is a decent size for your pastel paintings.

The textured surface with vegetable flakes and cork makes it an exceptional option for dry ingredients. This pad is ideal as soft pastel paper which is a great find for soft pastel artists. The soft surface allows the application of multiple layers.

  • Decently large pastel paper pad
  • The paper texture is good for dry pastels
  • Has two sides and one side has a lighter texture for ease of removal
  • Ideal for chalk drawing
  • On the more expensive side


Sennelier usually offers quality equipment for any pastel artist, amateur or otherwise. The La Carte is a great option for you to consider if you need a safe reliance.

Overall, a great purchase for anyone looking for good quality on a healthy budget.

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 pastel papers 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.