View Full Version : Paper for Wildilfe Paintings???

01-22-2010, 02:03 AM
Hello everyone,

I have been somewhat experimenting with different paper and am curious what you animal painters use and why? So far I have tried ColorFix, Canson and Velour (for one day ha). Oh and what type of pastel do you use?

Paula Ford
01-22-2010, 02:06 AM
My girlfriend is an animal painter and she uses Mount Visions on Uart and Ampersand Pastelbord. She takes after me :D

01-22-2010, 05:34 AM
I do quite a bit of wildlife in pastel and, having tried different supports, I now use Clairefontaine pastelmat or Fisher 400 sanded paper almost exclusively. Colourfix is OK but I prefer the others. Velour is, I fear, not for me although I have several sheets so must give it another go. I like Uart but can't get it here without big shipping costs. Don't think I can get ampersand or wallis either for the same reason.
But I'm happy with the ones I use.

01-22-2010, 10:26 AM
I've had success working large on velour for animal paintings. That seems to be the best subject for velour! Medium-soft or soft pastels are good on velour, the hard pastels tend to scratch up the surface and not stick -- NuPastels, Richesons, that sort of thing doesn't work as well on velour. So the softer the better for those.

Colourfix is great for almost anything and I've used it on animals as well as landscapes and florals.

ClaireFontaine PastelMat is fabulous stuff. It's great with pastel pencils and hard pastels, you can get supreme detail on it with that relatively smooth but gripping coated surface. Ampersand PastelBord would be good too. I haven't tried GatorBoard yet but might get a piece sometime to see how that goes.

Canson Mi-Tientes and Ingres and the other tinted non-coated papers seem better for loose sketching. They work well for animals if I'm going loose with them and using the paper tint as part of the background. That depends on style.

I did a puppy in PanPastels on Colourfix and she came out well, so Pan Pastels can work well on Colourfix. They work even better on PastelMat though. It depends on how much detail you want.

Use the pastels that work best for your hand and the style you're doing. I sometimes go hard-to-soft on sanded surfaces, starting with the hard pastels Richeson or Conte color, then doing medium soft Rembrandts or Art Spectrum, then adding last tweaks with Senneliers or Mount Visions.

I have noticed even within categories that each brand of pastels has its own texture and "feel." I use different techniques with my different pastels and like them all in different ways. So finding out which ones work best for you is personal. I still need to try all the ones in my Greens Sampler to know how the different brands handle. Maybe a Brown Sampler would help for you with animal painting, I know Dakota has one.

Karen Margulis
01-22-2010, 11:43 AM
My favorite paper for animals is LaCarte. My favorite pastels are Terry Ludwigs and Great Americans.


01-22-2010, 12:26 PM
Wow, what great advice. I guess I just need to buy several samples and try them all out till I find what I like.

I was playing with Velour last nigh and after a few hours of incredible frustration, walking away and coming back, I find that it is really quite nice. It is VERY different from ColorFix but it does go on very smooth which I like. I am looking for paper that will achieve the greatest detail possible (for me that is).

Thank you all for the incredible advice. I'm off to do some online shopping :)

01-22-2010, 12:29 PM
Velour isn't the best for incredible detail, unless you work on a full sheet.

I'm with Ruthie, and Fisher is very similar to Wallis Pro, and I guess it is also very similar to Uart, from what I've heard.


01-22-2010, 01:14 PM
Velour, as Charlie mentioned, is not the best choice for detailed work. It is a good choice for animal portraits and painting fur works well on it's soft texture. But if the animals are on a smaller scale within a landscape, then I would recommend any other paper! Like most choices, you will determine what works best for you after some experimentation.


01-22-2010, 02:01 PM
Is there a difference between pads and boards?

01-22-2010, 02:21 PM
Big difference. A pad will have board to support some sheets of the paper bound at the top, so you can use the pad as something to support the paper. But the sheets tear off at the top.

A board, the paper is bonded archivally to a (hopefully) acid free mounting board and is thicker than paper. It's hard to cut, you need a mat cutter to do it basically. They're fun though.

If you want the maximum detail, go for PastelMat or Ampersand Pastelbord, which is nearly as fine grained as the PastelMat. I've gotten the best details on PastelMat if the animal's not large or the painting isn't large.

01-22-2010, 04:16 PM
Would PastelMat be in between ColorFix and Velour when it comes to texture?

01-22-2010, 04:41 PM
PastelMat feels a bit like Colourfix, only much smoother, so much smoother that one first thinks it will not hold any pastel at all. One is in for a surprise. It holds pastel *better* than Colourfix, although the surface is much more even. Colourfix is the closest paper to it. Does it make sense if I say that when actually painting on them, velour feels soft and thick with a 'spring' to it, and one sort of 'dig in' with the pastel stick, while the PasteMat feels hard, like the stick is dancing on the surface?

Both these papers are made in a same-ish way, they're covered with some gesso-like liquid into which grit is mixed prior to application. PastelMat has cork particles, they say.

Actually, velour and sandpapers are made in a similar way. A paper (or card) gets a layer of some glue, and then fibers (velour) or sand/aluminium shavings/pumice dust/marble dust (sandpapers/sanded papers) is strewn over it. That is, the particles sit on top of the adhesive.


Merethe T
01-23-2010, 09:48 AM
I use La Carte for animal paintings, it's better for details than velour, and it has a better grip than Colorfix. I enjoy detail work, and find that a combo of La Carte and harder pastels like Faber Castell, Giraults and pastel pencils work well. I save my softer sticks for finishing touches and for strong shadows. Velour look nice and some are able to achieve details, just doesn't work for me.

02-03-2010, 11:37 AM
I paint mostly animals and I found that velour has what I want for painting animals, and I do get the detail I want using velour. I also use soft, medium, and hard pastels on velour. I am going to buy the new pastelmat and give it a try for my wildlife art.

Ginger Lantz