I enjoy the directness of
Pastels and I mostly work on Pastel card and watercolour paper.
I often use pastels when I'm working outside, sketch book style, I find them quick, easy and useful. Where I want a smooth finish I use
Zest-it (either the brush cleaner or the pencil blend - they are both the same) to blend the Pastel when working on Watercolour paper. I don't use Zest-it when working on Pastel card, for blending on this I use colour shapers or a tortillon (paper stump), it saves on the fingers! Somerset printing paper from St.Cuthberts Mill is also an excellent paper for soft pastels and it's archival properties are very sound. I use these types of papers because I don't like the mechanical patterned surface of some papers recommended for Pastels - you need to find what works best for you.
Beech Wood. 11.5" x 8.5" Soft Pastel on 170 lb Pastel Card. Sold Click for a larger view
Reservoir. Quick Pastel sketch, over a watercolour under painting on Arches rough, for an Oil painting. 13.5" x 9.5"
The Tiger. This Oil Pastel on Watercolour Paper is over 30 years old. 7.0" x 4.5" (nfs)