I have a very distinctive style and much of it is due to my choice of paper. Colourfix paper, from the Australian company Art Spectrum, is a high quality paper with a sandpaper type surface which holds onto the pastel and minimises shedding during the life of the completed work. I find this paper the perfect base for producing artworks in pastels. An equivalent paper type is Canson Mi-Teintes Touch pastel paper....
Art Spectrum also produce Colourfix paint which can be applied to variety of surfaces and allows me to use pastel in a variety of other ways. In addition, Colourfix paper can be used as a base for gouache and other media, which gives me potentially a number of different ways to experiment with pastels.
I have just recently started using Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper, following on from advice a fellow artist. I have found the paper more absorbent, with a velvety texture that holds well to the pastel. It is a gentler on my fingers, as I use these for blending the colours, along with polystyrene sticks and soft paintbrushes. It is waterproof so can also be used as a base for wet media such as watercolour and mixed media. I find it more difficult to correct mistakes because it holds onto the pastel, and also blending is not as easy for the same reason. However pastelmat seems to be more effective in holding the highlight colours as it retains their zest.....
My choice of paper will therefore vary depending on the subject matter......
I use a number of different makes of soft pastel including Unison, Rembrandt, Conte, Derwent, and Art Spectrum. Each make has it's advantages and range of colours, and I enjoy utilising these differences to create a blend of colours and textures.
I find that using pastel pencils is the best way of achieving the incredible detail that is seen in all my work. By using a blade and sandpaper for sharpening pencils, I am able to add detailed touches such as strands of hair, blades of grass and distinctive whiskers to complete the picture.
I strongly recommends purchasing these pencils from Pencils4artists for prompt and helpful service, a huge range and excellent prices.