Monday, June 8, 2015

Blending Colored Pencil 2: Using a Stump or Paper Blender


Blending is a necessary step when using colored pencil. In this, it is much like painting. One method to use is the blending stump. This is a piece of formed newsprint paper. It can have either two pointed ends, the stump, or simply be a rolled piece of blank newsprint known as a tortillon. This has only one pointed end and is hollow. This is softer than the stump. Both have their good points and bad points. 

Now, using this stump will work. I know many artist who use these tools with many soft drawing medium. They can be quite effective, but also quite distinctive. It also has the danger of crushing the paper fibers, making erasure just about impossible. The tendency is to really bear down on the stump, and this is what will cause the fibers to crush.  

I am not saying don’t do this. I use this method a lot, but know what you are getting. It can be a very effective way to blend layers of colored pencil.

Note: What I show here are store bought, but you can make your own with clean newsprint. They are simply readily available and cheap enough not to be worth it to me.

I do try to keep my pressure lighter and use the friction of fast movement to blend the colored pencil. The binder is wax and there will be some heat from the friction.
A few pictures will show you the effects of using these paper blending tools. First is a picture of sparrow I drew in colored pencil. It is unblended and simply the layers of colored pencil on paper.
In this close-up you can see the unblended tail and wood of the feeder. You can see how grainy the surface is, and how unfinished it looks.
There is a small start to the blending in the right corner near the tail, but over all, does not look that good. OK, just not great
Clearly this is not a finished drawing.
You can see in this next photo, the beginning of blending, and how dirty the paper blender is getting! It is quite possible to move the pigment around simply with the blending tool.
Care needs to be taken not to over blend, or to contaminant adjoining colors. Usually, I do start with the lightest area to blend. For this, I started with the darkest to show you the effect better. But normally, start with the lights and work to the darks.
You can and should keep this tool clean. It is easy to do with a sandpaper pad. It will also keep the point on the tool sharper, and thus more effective.
You can see the previously dirty stump has been cleaned off by simply sanding away the dirt.
Note: You can also see that I will touch up the points of my colored pencils with the sandpaper pad.
Here, the right half has been blended with the paper blender.
It does a good job, but the effect is rather distinctive. You can usually tell when this tool is used.
Not bad, and the effect is good, if this is what you want.
Practice with them and you will learn how much and when to use this tool.
This last photo is with the blending of the picture complete.  Blending the pigments does increase the saturation. You will notice that the wood is much darker after blending. No more pencil was added, simply the use of the blender. I also used the blender on the bird itself, to saturate the pigment of the feathers.
This is just one way to do this. there are still several more ways to blend colored pencil.
You can use various solvents and a color blending marker.
I will show you how to do this another time. 

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