How to Overcome the Graininess of Pastelmat | Coloured Pencil Tips

Apr 12, 2024
How to Overcome the Graininess of Pastelmat - Blog - Bonny Snowdon Academy


Pastelmat is one of my favourite surfaces to draw on and I know a lot of coloured pencil artists feel the same, but one challenge that crops up a lot is overcoming its graininess.

A lot of people tend to think that Pastelmat is a sanded paper and that it eats your pencils, but it’s not and it doesn’t! What actually eats your pencils is sharpening them!

The trick for overcoming graininess on Pastelmat is to start with a sharp point, but you don’t need to keep sharpening your pencil. A blunter point works really well with your initial layers.

All pencils work differently on Pastelmat depending on their pigment, some will go down more smoothly than others. For example, Polychromos Terracotta goes down much smoother than Polychromos Caput Mortuum Violet.

With darker colours, which tend to be grainier, use light over dark as you add layers. For example, if you’re using a Dark Indigo, layer Cold Grey II over the top. If you’re using Caput Mortuum Violet, layer Warm Grey II on top. 

Layering light over dark helps to smooth the graininess. Once you start to figure out which coloured you can combine with others to create smoothness, you’ll become less frustrated as you won’t have to battle with the grain!

To see me putting these tips into practice, click on the video at the top of this page and, if you’re like to learn more about the materials I love and use most often, have a look at my free Guide to Coloured Pencils download by clicking here.


Ignite by Bonny Snowdon the ultimate membership for those wanting to improve their Coloured Pencil Skills, increase their confidence and realise their dreams!


Sign up below to join the Ignite Waitlist

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.