Studio Talk

A page regarding all things Studio


This page is where Dee will talk about what materials she uses to create her artwork, where she sits to create her artwork, what pastel brands she uses, what papers or boards she likes,  and what pastel pencil brands she uses. 

There will also be some studio talk, discussing where Dee currently works to create her artwork and updates of her studio as that goes up and the progress from the start of the build up to the finish and when Dee moves all her art gear in.

I will do sub-pages each with a different material on, going from pencils, to pastels, to paper and so on. I hope you enjoy this section of pages and as I grow with my art and my materials grow I will make changes adding on anything new.

So just click on the sub menu's under Studio Talk and enjoy.

Pastel Paper & Board

Strathmore Medium Vellum Board

I thought I'd found something that would work beautifully for me, but I have found that I like to put down a lot of layers of not only pastel but pastel pencils too and this board just couldn't take more than half a dozen layers. After a few layers it just wouldn't take anymore and I found it would almost start to lift the top layer of the board if you try to force more than it can take. Maybe with experience I might learn to be able to use less layers and could go back to using the Strathmore but for now this board has been put into my large sheets box to keep it clean and safe from damage. 

I did find this board really lovely to work with, it was a nice solid board but with only a slight tooth I'm just not quite suited to it. For a huge sheet I found it a fair price for sure and I will certainly try this again in the future and if I just cant get the pastels right on it I'll probably try some paint on it and maybe do something huge and new for a bit of fun. 

ClaireFontaine Pastelmat

This is probably the most popular paper and board that's used by pastel artists and some coloured pencil artists too.

It has a rough texture to it, if I had to describe it I'd say it feels a bit like sandpaper. Because it has such a good tooth, it works wonderfully with soft pastels and pastel pencils. You can do well over a dozen layers and keep going as long as your gentle with it and don't pack so much pastel into it to quickly. 

I found that if I worked slowly ensuring each layer was rubbed into the paper I could put down a tonne of Pastel blending layer after layer and getting my piece right as it grew.

I think if I had to say there was anything wrong with Pastelmat, I would say sometimes I'd find it hard to give the portrait a smooth finish because of the tooth. My other problem with it would have to be the cost. The paper is cheaper than the board but I still found it quite expensive. As a disabled artist with no support or sponsorship from any businesses, cost is a large issue for me. If I'm creating a commission for someone I will only use the best materials which means obviously the cost goes up substantially, but its always worth it to get the best results for the customer, but when creating art just for my portfolio, the cost is much more noticeable and I'll try use something cheaper from another pastel art pad. 

I do hope if I keep searching through suppliers I will eventually find something that works as a perfect substitute with a more friendly cost. 

Hahnemuehle Velour Pastel Paper

This paper is probably the most different from all the other papers I have used. 

It is a floppy paper and is certainly easier to use when backed onto card. The feel of this paper is probably what sets it apart from the other pastel papers as it has a suade feel to it which gives you a lovely soft surface to work on. However, I personally have found this takes the longest to get used to working with but once you do settle into using it, I've found it works just beautifully with soft pastels. 

Personally when using the Velour I use Unison Soft Pastels, Jackson's Handmade Soft Pastels and other pastels alike as they glide onto the surface so easily. When using this paper you do have to rub each layer of fresh pastel into the Velour otherwise even a slight movement of the paper will dislodge a lot of the pastel losing your hard work, any pastel you've used and the time you put into creating it. 

Once you find the best way for you to work on this paper I've found I get some really lovely results. I'm currently doing my first large piece on Velour and  am loving every moment along with the results I'm getting. The other great thing with Velour is you can still use pastel pencils for the finer details, but the harder pencils wont work, you have to use soft lead so for me I found the Derwent pastel pencils, the CaranDAche pastel pencils and the Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils all work on the Velour but you have to be gentle so you don't destroy the Velour, it's takes a bit of time but the results are well and truly worth it. Don't be mistaken, you won't get the super clean lines you get when using other pastel papers, because the Velour has that fuzzy texture, there's always a slight fuzziness to your work, but you can get enough layers down to make the details more than clear enough and you can get a lot of layers down in soft pastels to create a stunning piece of art as long as your gentle. 

Personally for me the Velour is my favourite paper at the moment and the cost is a lot lower than other papers too which makes using this even better for me. I would advise anyone using Velour for the first time to buy a sheet of self adhesive board and fix the Velour to it so it's easier to use. I would also say don't give up on it straightaway, it does have a very different feel to it but it's worth sticking to it for a few drawings before you make up your mind. 

I drew my tiger piece on this paper and look forward to seeing how my bear turns out too. 

UArt Pastel Paper

To follow.....

Soft Pastels