I have been drawing with colour pencils for 14 years, first on Daler-Rowney pastel paper, then heavy weight Cartridge paper. I also tried Daler-Rowney board for bigger drawings (A1 and A2 size) but in the end, it is Pastelmat that best suits my present style of drawing: animal portraits..
The colours come out more vibrant and you do not need as many layers to achieve this effect. Not only that but because of the good grip this type of paper offers, it is possible to apply pale colours over dark, making corrections a lot easier than on other types of paper. However erasing leaves marks unless you lift the colour with a putty eraser. As a result, when working with a grid, I only use dots to mark the corners of the squares as they can easily be covered afterwards by a dot of the same Pastelmat colour.
It is also possible to create “fuzzy backgrounds” more evenly by simply rubbing the colours with a piece of tissue and create effects difficult to achieve on other types of paper. It was especially effective with the drawing of my cat Griffin (Late Afternoon Watch).
Pastelmat comes in 8 colours: white, natural sienna, brown, anthracite, buttercup, maize, dark grey and light grey. The only ones I have not tried yet are white and buttercup.
I seem to achieve my best results when picking a colour found in the undercoat of the animal I plan to draw, which is why brown Pastelmat is my favourite colour for most animals. It also offers a good contrast for dark and light colours alike and complements well subjects with a variety of colours and values.
Light grey and dark grey also work well with silver tabbies as well as black and white cats. Anthracite has been a hit and miss for me. I just couldn’t get warm colours to work on it but it turned out to be the perfect colour for my black panther .
Natural Sienna gave good results with my Caracals and worked with my kitten Austin coming out of the basket although I might have achieved better results using light grey. Who knows…
Because Pastelmat grinds your pencil, it is difficult to achieve fine lines and thus fine detail. Harder colour pencils like Faber-Castell Polychromos, Caran d’Ache Pablo and Derwent Artists work better than softer pencils like Prismacolor and Derwent Coloursoft in this respect. I find it perfect for animal portraits but had difficulties achieving the finesse I wanted for whiskers and other small detail when drawing full animals .
So yes, drawings on Pastelmat need to be fairly big but at the same time, they don’t seem to take more time to complete than smaller drawings on other types of paper. Pastelmat might not suit every subject or every drawing style but for me, it was like finding the “Holy Grail” after many years of search and experimentation allowing me to reach another level with my art.
By France Bauduin S.O.F.A.
France Bauduin’s web site.
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