I have not been a fan of plain paper for pastels. I tried to use Canson Mi-Teintes when I first learned to use pastels and I found it difficult and messy. Most pastel teachers requests new students use this paper. I feel there are better options that are less frustrating. Recently, I watched one of my friends work on this paper, and now that I have much more experience with pastels, I thought I should give it another try so I purchased one sheet.
I also bought a new pastel paper (new to me) at Blicks. My local store carries very few pastel papers, which is disappointing for the many pastelists in my town. We keep asking them to carry more variety, but it hasn't helped yet. I was hoping to find a paper I liked locally, so I didn't have to order everything online. I had one of their 40% off coupons, and decided to use it on this paper. It is Sennelier Pastel Spiral Pad . It seemed similar to the Canson, but was a lighter weight.
I decided to use both papers in a test. I wanted to follow along with one of Richard McKinley's online lessons, so I used his composition for my experiment.
Both papers were pretty dusty and lots of pastel dust filtered down. They both seemed to need the first layer pressed into the paper for the next layer to start to adhere. Hard pastels didn't work too well on either. The very soft pastels such as Terry Ludwig's and Great Americans were great on the Sennelier.
My conclusion is that I am still not a fan of Canson. The Sennelier holds promise and I plan on using it in the future.