Re: Best Paper/finishing for pastels?
The sampler pack is a good idea because there are so many choices now for pastel artists. The most popular of the "thin" papers is Canson Mi-Teintes - which is probably somewhat similar to the charcoal paper you have been using, but if you like a smoother surface, one side of the Canson is smoother and still holds pastel reasonably well. But if you want to paint in more layers, the papers with more tooth are very popular. Some of the papers that seem to be very popular are Pastelmat, LaCarte (you can't get this one wet at all) and the new Canson Touch. Sanded papers are very popular, too - Wallis and Uart (which comes in many different grits). Before investing in sanded papers, you can just use a piece of sandpaper from the hardware store and try it out to see how you like it. Try a medium grit like 400. Hardware store sandpaper won't be archival, but it will give you a good idea what the sanded papers are like.