Pencils are responsive, sensitive coloured vessels that are extremely versatile and deserve far more respect than they currently command.
To obtain the best results one must use quality materials. Pencils are no different and the same must be said for the surface one works on. I work exclusively with Berol Prismacolour and Faber Castell Poychromos coloured pencils. Their colours are rich and soft while they respond well when used on heavy/soft acid-free papers and boards. I prefer a strong background colour, especially ochres and greys, even black.
The beauty of working with two brands of coloured pencil is the huge palette one is presented with. Working on Canson pastel board is the best! Your subject matter will drive both background colour and palette. Experimentation is essential to get the best results.
I always work out my palette through test strips and I even lay my pencils out as if I were undertaking a surgical procedure!
What surfaces do you draw on? I would like to know what other artists use.