Pastels offer artists the ability to create breathtakingly beautiful compositions. They offer amazing flexibility, and can result in either a drawn look or something that resembles more of a painting. The surface you choose has as much to do with the final result as the colors themselves.
The term "tooth" refers to the texture of the medium. Run your finger over the surface and you'll feel raised areas that feel bumpy and tiny indentations invisible to the eye. Because pastels are pure pigment, they need the friction of these uneven surfaces to release color and adhere to the surface. More tooth supports ever more color, and allows for additional layers to be applied.
Paper that is smoother, with less tooth, is useful for artists who desire sharper edges and more refined points of detail. Smoother surfaces blend well compared to more rough surfaces. Finding the right amount of tooth that works for you is a matter of practice and preference.
Another consideration is the color of the paper. Many artists choose a tone that works with the pastel colors they’ve selected. Others look to achieve the opposite effect, seeing what's possible by contrasting the tone with a different range of colors.
Tone of the surface offers an additional choice. Tones can be either light or dark. Lighter-toned paper enhances darker pastels, while lighter pastels on dark-toned paper offer amazing contrast. If this is the effect you’re looking for, go for it. Most artists choose a mid-tone paper, which can be a nice balance of the two.
You'll find a range of colors and tones when you work with pastel paper. It has the right amount of tooth, and you'll often find that some have sanded surfaces or additional treatments to optimize the surface for pastel drawings.
Watercolor paper is another useful medium. It's strong, durable and available in a range of textures. Look for artist's grade cold-pressed or rough paper to give you the right amount of tooth.
Regardless of the tone, texture or type of surface you choose, Prismacolor NuPastels offer a rich, creamy texture that releases pigment easily, yet are stronger than ordinary soft pastels. This means less breakage and faster cleanup. Use them to create broad strokes and fine lines and bring your art to life.