Sarah Stanley tests out Hahnemühle Velour Pastel Paper and demonstrates a portrait of German shepherd, Jack.

I have been asked to review the velour paper by Hahneuhle. I have used this paper for years, mostly for painting pet portraits, but occasionally for landscape and portraits. 

Initial thoughts

I was sent a pad of the velour paper, measuring 30x40cm.

It contains 10 sheets of various colours:

  • White
  • Medium grey
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Orange
  • Dark grey
  • Sand
  • Ochre
  • Light grey
  • Black

The pad has a thick cardboard back cover, an outer front cover and a protective inside cover of thick paper.

The velour paper has a soft textured surface on the front and a plain white paper backing. The texture is similar to velvet or the flocking that you get inside jewellery boxes.

The paper can also be purchased in individual sheets.

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Top features:

  • Ideal paper for creating soft features
  • Takes many layers of pastel
  • Can be used for mixed media as well as pastels
  • Great range of colours available

Price: From £23.34 for a 24x32cm pad

Where to buy: Art Supplies with Painters Online


Preparing the paper

Winter Light

Before starting to work, I always remove the paper from the pad and attach to a smooth firm surface with masking tape. A piece of mount board glued to a wooden board works well.

Also, when not working on the painting; I keep it covered with a piece of clean card to protect it from being splashed, scratched or indented.

Testing the paper

Baby Portrait

Hahneuhle velour paper is ideal for creating soft textures such as fur and hair.

The paper is designed for use with pastel and oil pastel. I find that the hard, square pastels rather than the very soft, work best.

As well as pastels, I tried out different media including some pens such as watercolour brush pens and soft tipped markers and gel pens. They work well and, although there is no real advantage of using pens on velour, it’s always worth experimenting with different media. I do use a brush pen to sign my finished paintings!

You cannot successfully use any very wet media, as the paper will  crumple. Also, unless it is completely dry, the flocking comes away from the paper backing if you try working on the paper while it is wet.

This also applies to fixative (see image above) which can be used but, if you intend to apply more pastel on top, it must be completely dry first. Using a fixative will also slightly darken the pastel. I personally don’t use fixative as the paper holds the pastel so well, therefore it isn’t very necessary.

Pushing the pastel into the paper with your fingers helps it to adhere. The pastel doesn’t smudge, but you do get a very slight fuzzy effect, which is what makes it perfect for soft textures.

Pastel can be applied in layers. I tested how many layers I could apply. I applied approx. 50 successfully but by the 63rd; the paper would not take any  more pastel.

When layering, the underneath colour affects the subsequent layers. It is best to start with light toned pastel and go darker.

Soft pencils such as  pastel and charcoal pencils can be used. They are good for fine details. I find that hard pencils dent the paper.

Tracing will also indent the velour, so I don’t recommended it.

Using the black paper

Still Life on the black velour paper

I hadn’t used the black paper before, so I was interested to see what could be achieved.

I tested with some colour swatches, including white pastel, and decided to keep it simple and do a quick study with just white. I did use a small amount of black in the finish to tidy some edges.  

I was surprised and excited by the result. I noticed how much I could vary the tone depending on the amount of pressure applied to the pastel.

Reworking on velour paper

If you decide that you need to rework or begin again, you can remove some of the pastel, although not completely.

To do this, you can try banging the back of the support. This will loosen the pastel which you can then rub with kitchen paper. I recommend you do this outdoors!

Framing pastel paintings

Pastel paintings always have to be framed with glass to protect them. Usually a frame with a mount would be used. Sometimes a space is put between the painting and the mount to allow any loose pastel to drop behind. I prefer to frame with no mount at all.

The glass directly touches the painting, and, because I finish my portraits and pet portraits as vignettes, I don’t feel they need a mount. I have done this successfully for years!

Other pictures, such as landscapes, also look good with the right frame and no mount. It makes them look like an oil painting.

Demonstration: Jack

Stage one

Using the dark grey velour paper, I very carefully drew an outline, with a pastel that was slightly darker than the paper.

Stage two

I then blocked in main tones.

Stage three

At this stage I started laying in the colour.

Stage four

This shows how I then pushed the pastel into the paper using my fingers.

Stage five

I continued adding more colour and darker tones.

Stage six

The final stages involved building up the fur textures which you can see in the detail above.

The finished portrait

Jack, pastel on Hahnemühle Velour Pastel Paper

I completed the portrait which I then signed with black fibre pen.


I just love using this paper!

If you like trying to capture the soft effects of fur or a baby’s face, then it is well worth trying.

However, as with any new medium, it will take practice to get used to.

About Sarah Stanley

I have been painting on and off for most of my life. I mainly use oils, pastels and acrylics.

I do commissioned pet portraits in pastel on velour paper but also enjoy oil painting en plein air and painting still lifes.

I am inspired by Victorian and contemporary Impressionism and interested in capturing the effects of light. I have recently been doing studies using oil with a palette knife using the Henry Hensche method of painting light.

See more from Sarah in the gallery by


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