Today, I want to show you two different pastel papers that I really love to draw on. My absolute favorite pastel paper is Pastelmat from ClaireFontaine. It’s a high-quality pastel paper. It is well ready and it allows to draw a lot of layers. The second one is Pastelcard from Sennelier. I have used this paper for many years for commissions and for my own portraits, and I really loved to draw on it. It is a sandy paper but also amazing.

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Pastelmat vs. Pastelcard

Here I have prepared two different papers: this is Pastelmat from ClaireFontaine and Pastelcard from Sennelier.

Pastelcard – rough, a little bit sandy like sandpaper

Pastelmat – smoother; velvety


So let’s start with Pastelmat from ClaireFontaine. I really love this paper. I use it in most of my animal portraits in pastels, and it’s amazing. I can highly recommend it. It’s a special pastel paper developed for pastel painting.

  • You can buy it in different colors, you can buy it in pads or in single sheets.
  • The weight of the paper is 360 grams per meter.
  • Has a very unique velvety drawing surface and all the pastel pigments will stick very well to the paper.
  • It allows drawing lots of layers.
  • Using a fixative spray for finishing is not needed. It works really well without it.

On that paper, I would never recommend using a fixative spray because all the colors will lose their lity, and they will get much more darker and all the highlights and details you have drawn will be lost, especially the white fine hairs.

Pastelmat has a smoother surface and is not so rough as Pastelcard, and as mentioned, it allows lots of layers. So you can imagine the paper has many small valleys and mountains, and there is space between those valleys and mountains. And with each layer you draw, you will fill pastel pigment into these spaces.


It’s a paper I have used over many years, and I also love this paper. It also allows lots of layers. I have used it for my animal portraits many, many times, but the surface is a little bit more rough. So if you touch the surface, you can feel it’s rougher, it’s sandy like sandpaper, and you can also see the coating of the surface comes off. So you have dust here on the drawing desk.


In conclusion, both papers are excellent for different needs and preferences. Pastelmat offers a smoother, less dusty experience, ideal for those who prefer ease of layering without the need for fixatives. Pastelcard provides a textured feel that some artists may prefer, despite its roughness and the extra care needed around water.

Choose the one that best fits your artistic approach and enjoy the beautiful results in your pastel artwork!

For beginners, I’ve prepared a free beginner’s guide you can download. It’s filled with tips and tricks to get you started with pastel/ pencils. Get it here 👇

    For more details and lessons on drawing with pastels, check out the Animal Art Club 👇