Soft pastel is the medium for drawing and painting at the same time. The material asks for far less patience than watercolour. One can finish a work in one row if wished for. Colours mix easily on the surface and fading effects can be reached by sweeping the material with your fingers or making use of special stumpers.
The material gives an opaque effect.
For my pastels I use heavy paper, if possible slightly coloured. The advantage of coloured paper is the effect that it gives to the work. A drawing on black paper will have another effect than one on, for example, light green paper.
To protect a pastel from forfeiture I secure it with a spray. Hairspray is an option but it will yellow within time. Therefor I use a special fixative, available in art material stores. I spray a drawing lightly in several layers to protect the colours.
The beginning of a drawing is almost always a pencil sketch followed by the drawing in soft pastels.