Using Canson paper for charcoal & pastel studies

Fabric study, charcoal and pastel on Canson paper, 9x12 in.

I used to do a lot of studies on Canson paper in pastel and charcoal. However, I had gotten away from that and for awhile I’ve been using Wallis paper for my pastel work, even for demos and studies. That can get very expensive, so I decided to give the Canson paper another try. The thing to remember about Canson is that it is not sanded and therefore you must choose your values/colors carefully because you have a minimal amount of layers that you can apply. For this fabric study, I chose a medium, cool grey sheet and used vine charcoal to start out. Once all my dark values were placed, I began working backwards through the medium values using NuPastel greyscale pastels. To finish up, I hit the darkest darks with some compressed charcoal and used a soft white pastel (Schmienke brand) for the highlights. As you can see, this works quite effectively even though the surface is not a sanded sheet. The key is to choose your values (or colors) beforehand and apply them in the correct places the first time, this also provides for a very confident and spontaneous looking drawing.

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