Every colored pencil artist seems to have their favorite blender. I’ve never been very consistent in my choice of which blender to use for any given project, so today I created a set of charts to compare how each performs. I thought you might like to see the results.
During the last couple of years, I have collected and been gifted with a variety of blenders. To me, they are essential tools for creating really solid areas of color and, more importantly, creating that deep and rich multi-colored and layered look that takes colored pencil art from drawing to painting.
It’s pretty important to know your tools, so I decided it’s time to give them a real test drive.
The seven blenders tested are:
Figuring that the blenders of a certain brand would perform better with pencils of that same brand, I tested on color swatches of Prismacolor Premiers, Derwent Coloursoft, and Caran d’Ache Luminance 6901 pencils. To make the comparison as accurate as possible, I chose similar colors for each brand, and was careful to create swatches that, allowing for a bit of color variation, were as identical as possible.
Each swatch has four color layers: two in blue and two in violet, and the blending pencil was applied with a medium-heavy pressure.
And here are the charts. The left side of each swatch is unblended; the right side is blended.
Across all three samples, based on each blender’s ability to combine colors and cover-up background paper fibers, the Derwent Blender clearly performed best, followed by the Prismacolor and Koh-i-Noor blenders.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Koh-i-Noor, which is a new brand to me and I didn’t expect it to do such a great job.
The Caran d’Ache is unique among the blenders; it’s a blender stick, about the size of a pencil, and can be sharpened like a pencil. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed to find it a bit scratchy against the paper surface and not quite as effective as some of the others.
Although the Derwent Burnisher is technically not a blender and is marketed as providing a “rich, glossy finish to your art,” it also blends quite well.
The Prismacolor marker worked very well, but an important note: if you are creating art which might be entered in a show requiring “100% colored pencil,” using a marker may be outside the rules.
Also, I found that additional applications of the marker didn’t really result in a more blended look, but additional application of any of the pencils does.
The Lyra is the least aggressive blender in this comparison, but may be the perfect choice for lighter blending.
Happy blending. And of course, if you have any insights you’d like to share, use the comments form or dash me off an email.
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I am not really an artist.
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Normally, you can’t wait to get the chores done so you can grab the colored pencils and dive-in. It’s bliss.
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When I was a kid, the original Vans store was a bike ride away. and it was where we all got our shoes. Heck, some friends of mine even worked there. Plus, for a few extra dollars you could bring in a hunk of your favorite canvas fabric and Vans would turn it into a spiffy new pair of their comfy slip-ons.
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Do you work with your hands? While you are creating eye candy, here are some treats for your ears.
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I am always up for a challenge, and this was an interesting one: draw an abstract. The founder of the Colored Pencil Society put out this call to CP artists, who traditionally render subjects in a more realistic manner. She wanted to challenge us.
Sounds simple, right? Not quite. When you are new to art and don’t even really grok the concept of abstract art, creating it can be a tall order.
So I did what most folks do when the big question mark appears: start Googling.
Good idea, right? Not quite. Google offered “helpful” suggestions like putting your paper on the floor and splattering paint on it. Sounds like a recipe for creating a drop cloth. This method also doesn’t play nice with pencils. When you splatter them, they break.
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A few months ago, on a whim, I answered a call from Ann Kullberg’s Color Magazine to submit a piece of a possible review in her magazine.
And guess what? Ann picked your girl’s self-portrait — entitled “Work in Progress” — for review in the August, 2016 issue!
There will be no living with me now.
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Mistakes. Sometimes you can cover them up. And other times things go so terribly wrong that all you can really do is cry, shake your first at the heavens, or just give up.
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Retreats are for hard-core folks. Professional artists, writers. But me? Take an art retreat? Meh. Not so much.
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