What you need to know about blending with coloured pencils
When I started as a coloured pencil artist I didn’t have a clue. But now that I have become more experienced I can share with those of you who are at the beginning stage.
So here are my tips for blending coloured pencils
Tip 1/ Get the paper right
The paper you use will make a huge difference to the blending outcome. You will want a paper that is heavy enough to withstand the many layers of colour. Additionally, you want a paper with a bit of tooth (texture) to it.
If you are going to be using a blending solution then you will want a paper that can take this wet medium (something like a watercolour or mixed media paper). You will need to build up quite a lot of layers so make sure that your paper will be able to cope with this.
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Tip 2/ Get the pencils right
The brand of pencils you use will make a difference to the blended results. If you are a serious coloured pencil artist, then it is the professional-grade pencils that you will need.
The professional-grade pencils have a better quality pigment and will make your art look professional.
The cheaper pencils just don’t seem to layer or blend very well for me.
The pencils I use most often are Polychromos and Prismacolor Premier but I have also used Lyra Rembrandt and Black Widow.
Tip 3/ Get the layers right
You need to get a lot of layers down on the paper before you even think of blending. If your artwork has white spaces, eg, lots of highlights or white parts then get some white pigment down. You need to have pigment on the paper for it to blend even if it is only white.
Make sure your pencils are as sharp as they can be as it will be easier to get those layers down. A blunt pencil just doesn’t work as good.
My go-to pencil sharpener is the Derwent Super Point
Take your time when you are building up layers of colour by adopting less pressure. Don’t make the mistake of adding too much pressure as it will be difficult to add any layers on top.
Coloured pencil art is a slow process, so having patience is a must.
Tip 4/ Get the blending method right
There are different methods of blending, which include:
- Layering colours with just your pencils until no paper is visible. This is also known as burnishing.
- By using a colourless blending pencil to blend out the layers. Also known as burnishing.
- Using a blending stump made out of paper (burnishing).
- Solvents are great to blend out layers of colour because it requires hardly any pressure at all. This is the method I prefer because burnishing causes my wrists to ache when applying the pressure at the end. I use Zest-it Blending Solution. You will notice that your artwork will have a painterly effect using this method.
The smoothness of the colours depends on the blending method used.
The best way to get more proficient is to practise on scraps of paper that you wish to use and see which method you prefer the best.
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