Why I Like Pastelmat

Why I Like Pastelmat

Of all the drawing papers on the market today, some you have to be wondering why I like Pastelmat so much. What made me switch from Stonehenge to Pastelmat as my favorite paper?

Let’s talk about that.

Why I Like Pastelmat

There are all the usual things you hear when artists talk about this paper and other textured art papers.

  • Textured papers take an almost endless number of layers.
  • You can effectively layer light colors over dark colors.
  • Blending is very easy and requires no special tools.
  • It stands up well under solvent and wet media.
  • Building color is easier and faster than with traditional papers because the gritty surface “grabs” color so well.
  • Textured papers are ideal for a more painterly approach or for intricate detail.

Those are all valid reasons for using Pastelmat or any other textured paper.

But they aren’t the main reasons Pastelmat is now my go-to paper for most artwork.

My two favorite assortments are Assortment No. 1 ( Buttercup, Maize, Dark Grey and Light Grey) and Assortment No. 2 (White, Sienna, Brown, and Anthracite.)
The Real Reasons I Like Pastelmat

I was an oil painter for over 40 years. I haven’t painted seriously since 2016. There are some things I don’t miss about it, but there are also some things I do miss.

One thing I miss about oil painting is the ease of making corrections. It was so easy to wipe off the paint while it was wet or paint over it after it dried.

Making corrections on Pastelmat is almost as easy. I can remove color almost down to the paper with mounting putty. If I’m patient enough and if I haven’t burnished color, I can often get down to the paper color.

Another thing I miss about oil painting is the simple and easy blending. Pull one color into another and smooth the edges.

I can do that with Pastelmat and I don’t need special tools. A paper stump is one of the easiest ways to blend colored pencil on Pastelmat. It’s also one of the most inexpensive and one of the most natural. Use the paper stump just like using a pencil. I can use the same strokes, I can adjust pressure, and I can blend, then layer over the top without waiting for anything to dry.

The Bottom Line

I have found Pastelmat to be everything that other artists have said it was.

But the real appeal to me is that it lets me get the same kind of results with colored pencils that I could get with oil paint. It’s almost like having the advantages of oil painting without all the disadvantages.

Yes, there are differences.

And yes, I do still sometimes use other papers like Canson Mi-Teintes. But Pastelmat is now my first choice most of the time.

I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Sign up for Carrie’s free weekly newsletter and be among the first to know when she publishes new articles.


  1. Grillo A Grillo

    Hi Carrie
    Thanks for your comments on pastelmat. I have tried many different papers and I was terrified trying pastelmat for a commission. However…I got use to it and found the results of my drawings really nice.

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      I was reluctant to try Pastelmat for a portrait, too, but when Stonehenge failed, I had no other choice. That portrait turned out to be the best one I’d done in quite some time, and I’ve had good success with it since then.

  2. Gail Jones

    I like pastel mat too, not just for colored pencils but for hard pastels. They blend easily too without all the mess of soft pastels. They also erase. Pastel mat is a versatile surface to work with for multiple mediums.

  3. Patricia E Wilson

    This is very helpful as everyone is always looking for ways to make their life easier. Seems this paper is very “user friendly” and will look for some to purchase. Thanks for sharing your ideas regarding this paper.

  4. Toni Boyce

    Hi Carrie,i am in the midst of my Horse by Peggy Osbourne,i sent you an email last week,it seems i have run out of toothon the Bristol Vellum,i can,t use any more Solvent and the rest of the powders ect,i am 80% percent through the Horse,you suggested that Peggy may have used Bee Heavyweight Vellum.I have plowed into the world of Papers,wow.I use Pastelmat for my Pastels but i don,t likethe finish with Pencils and i noticed on reading your comments that to be wary using it with pencils for the first time,can you elaborate please.Many thanks Toni ps i pulled the horse out of the bin,

    1. Toni,

      First, regarding your horse tutorial; I contacted Peggy and asked her to respond to your first comment. Hopefully, she will do that soon.

      I’m not sure I know what you’re asking with regard to colored pencils and Pastelmat.

      There is a significant learning curve when switching from traditional drawing paper to Pastelmat, but I’ve found that to be well worth the effort.

      I read through this post again to see what comment I made about being wary, and couldn’t find one. Can you clarify your question, please?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *