I've been going through the pastel book and trying some techniques to get the feel of the pastels and paper, just doing something simple to practice the strokes. There are so many choices in pastels and so many choices in papers, too! Right now I'm just using the Mi-Teintes pastel paper I bought recently in various colors (ochre, eggshell, pale blues - all fairly pale colors).
I'm not sure I like the dust and mess of pastels but maybe I can work around that. Or it's back to the graphite for me (and I even get that all over my hands and forearms when drawing :) And the author says a beginner problem is blending too much so everything is soft looking (which I'm tending to do!) so you have to go back in and heighten things with strong lines after you've softened everything you need to soften or blend.
You really need to know your color theory well to work on colored paper - how does this warm ochre change my blues or greens? How does that cool paper work with any warms in my painting? Lots of things to learn, of course! And the color is never completely covering the paper so some of that base color will show through, changing colors - like the simple landscape below - it's on a warm ochre paper and the sky color sits on top of that warm color, which shows through unless you put on fixative and add more and more layers. I'm using Rembrant soft half pastels and I like their creamy texture - not too hard like the NuPastels I used once in a drawing class. Isn't this small box like looking at delicious candies of all flavors?