This is an unfortunate situation. Sometimes the fault lies with the manufacturer, but sometimes it is a matter of storage issues before you get to use the paper – this can be in-store or at home. Multiple reasons can be responsible for the faults.
I try and check the surface of the paper before using to discover any faults. Hold under a good light and tilt the paper back and forth to show up flaws. Run your hand across the surface to find finer faults.
If you find any, you could apply a fine coat of clear pastel primer to the surface before beginning to pastel. This effectively provides a total coverage of a grainy primer that will ensure pastel will adhere with ease to the surface. The applicator that you use for this will determine the texture of the surface once you have finished.
Options could include:
- a roller
- rag etc.
I use Art Spectrum pastel primer as a good commercial product that consistently provides great results. Custom made primers can also be used.
Ideally the papers are faultless.
To prevent problems in storing the papers:
- store flat
- store outside of a plastic bag
- do not allow insect sprays or other chemicals etc to come near the papers
- store where there is minimal frequent shuffling through your papers. Perhaps have each paper type housed in an envelope type arrangement and labelled as to the brand and or colour for ease of accessing exactly the piece you want at any given time
- always have very clean hands when touching papers
- keep well clear of abrasive items such as staples, blades, broken finger nails etc.
- avoid laying heavy items onto papers as this can add creases which are virtually impossible to remove completely and are difficult to disguise in a painting
- if possible store in a drawer- lined with an acid free shield such as foam board or painted MDF or cover your pastel paper with a piece of tissue or cartridge paper to keep the dust off- dust is abrasive and contains acid