I have come a long way since my first blog post. I have discovered Pastelmat! It has an excellent surface for drawing and blending. I can apply layer upon layer of pastel and still get the fine details to stand out at the end of the portrait.
If you are looking to excel in your art then this is the best surface I've found . It comes in gummed pads of assorted colours and sizes. The drawing below is an example of the many layers you can create!