Thursday, January 16, 2014

Discovery Bay Rhododendron Progress - Colored Pencil Blender Tips

Here's the latest update on my Discovery Bay Rhododendron painting. Since my last post I've filled in considerably more background on the right side. I will continue filling in background information in a counter-clockwise direction until the painting is finished. Then there will be a little visual surprise at the end of the painting. 


Have you worked with a colored pencil blender before? Here are some tips that will help you get the most from using a colored pencil blender to enhance your colored pencil work.

1) When you've been blending in a dark area, like the dark background behind the flowers above, roll and dap the point on a tissue thoroughly before you move into a light-colored area, like the white petals above. The point of the blender will pick up the dark color and transport some of it into the light area, and "stain" it with the darker color. When you're blending an area of dark and light hues, blend the light color area first, then move into the dark area. 

2) The tip of the blender doesn't hold its point very long. After  blending for a while, you'll find that the tip has crumbled slightly. You will then have to be careful when blending in tight areas. If you're not careful when blending in a tight dark and light area, the dark color on the tip can stain the light area. Once the area is stained, it's not easy to remove. You can scrape it with an exacto knife, but in doing so you can easily damage the surface of the paper. This is the big advantage that Photoshop has over traditional painting. I must admit that I've been spoiled by Photoshop. 

3) To get the feel of how the blender works, you may want to experiment on a separate piece of colored pencil art that you don't mind practicing on. The above painting was my first experience with the blender, but I just dove in and got the feel of the blender through the course of the painting.

4) As you apply the blender to your colored pencil, you'll find that it makes your "dry" colored pencil strokes look wet, like watercolors. Yet the colored pencil strokes will still be somewhat visible. The blender also fills in the tiny white specks that occur when you don't thoroughly cover the paper with the colored pencil. You may prefer to practice using the tool before starting your painting to get the feel of applying the blender solution in different strokes, like long and smooth, or tight circles.

5) The blender I used is called: Artist's Loft Colored Pencil Blender. I bought it at Michael's Arts and Crafts, an art and craft chain store. The blender has a large tip on one side, a small tip on the other. To give you an idea of how long the blender lasts, I will go through three or four blenders to complete the above painting, which is 8.5 x 11 inches.

Check out my Painting in Paradise web site for the date of our next workshop. On the "Package Info" page you'll find the departure date for the fantasy South Pacific island of Rarotonga. In the course of the workshop I will teach you how to paint flowers in the realistic technique that you see above.

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles


  1. It's coming to life:) It's amazing:)

    1. Thanks for all your comments on my work. Check back soon. I'll be posting an update an the Rhodie in a few days.