I'm experimenting with a surface I haven't used very much to date called Pastelmat. It takes lots of pastel and has a softer surface than the Wallis paper. It allows blending, but also, if you prefer, it shows individual strokes. The only negative for me was one has to be very careful when handling (storing, carrying, preparing) the paper or when roughing in the sketch NOT to press too deeply. If you do it leaves indentations in the surface that are difficult to cover over with the pastel. This may be just me, but I've tried two projects on the paper, and it has done the same thing each time. I will try it again and work very carefully because other than this problem, it's a great surface.