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Blending with Colored Pencils

“How to Blend God’s Promise of Rainbows To The World of Bible Journaling”

Noah's Ark Jackie Colored Interleaved

Blending Rainbows for Noah’s Ark

Every time you put down a layer of color with a colored pencil, or one color over another, you have the opportunity to blend from light to dark or one color to another.

Until you can see rainbows in your head, there are a number of color charts you can make to help you with your color and blending choices.

We hope you have read the Post “Getting to Know Your Art Supplies” so that you know the difference in the color between what is on the outside of your pencil, what the pigment you see at the tip of the pencil is and what the color of each of your colored pencils actually is. If not it, is important to read before you read further. – Click HERE

Having done your color charts is very important if you want to start blending colors in the most visually appealing way. It may be true you can blend any yellow into any red, but is “good enough”, good enough?

Now it is time to print out more color charts HERE.

Color Doodle Chart

These sheets are perfect for practicing the techniques described below.

Practice blending 2 colors on each Bible. Write the colors on the line below. This way you can learn which colors blend well and which do not.

Make a fresh page and redo your favorite color combinations and keep that page with your other color charts in a 3 ring binder.

 

METHODS OF BLENDING COLORED PENCILS

Blending colored pencils or watercolor pencils is done in one of three ways. Watercolor pencils are the same as a regular colored pencil until you ad water.

  • Pencil blending
  • Dry blending
  • Solvent blending

It is much easier than it may sound, you have probably already been using one or more of these methods if you have been trying to ad highlights or shadows to your drawings at all.

Pencil Blending

The easiest way to blend colors with colored pencil is building up layers of color. Your first layer is the most important because this layer is going to start filling “the tooth” of the paper. Even smooth feeling Bible paper has tooth. If you don’t make this first layer blend smoothly, it may never look right.

It is easiest to control the color if you start light and go darker. It is easier to build up layers and make things more vivid, than think you are going to lighten the colors once you have put down to much pigment. Add layers until you have achieved the blend you want. If you are going to have a highlighted area, gently scrub in some white pencil, even if you cannot see it, to fill in the tooth, before you get anywhere near it with color.

If you put the colored pencil to the paper by making gentle little overlapping circles instead of going back and forth, or holding the pencil almost parallel to the page and rubbing at a 45 degree angle one way and then 45 degree angle the other way,  you will get a much smoother blend while you add layers and achieve your desired shades of color.

The sharper your pencils, the lighter the pressure you should use. Use light pressure on small areas with a sharp pencil.

Then if you want you can burnish the colors using heavier pressure to blend layers of color together.

There are several options to burnishing the colored pencil art once you have filled the tooth of the paper:

  • You can use the lighter of the colors you are trying to blend to burnish the overall fade.
  • A white pencil can brighten the overall fade (took me awhile to figure out why they bothered making white colored pencils : )
  • You can use another carefully chosen pale color.

If you want to burnish a larger area, it’s best to use a dull pencil, or a Burnisher or Blender Pencil like one of these,

Derwent Blender and Burnisher Pencil Set

The blender pencil is soft and colorless and allows you to blend 2 or more colors together; the burnisher is a hard colorless pencil that provides a rich, glossy finish.

A Prismacolor Colorless Blender is a colored pencil without pigment. It works great for any colored pencil that is wax-based, as Prismacolors are.

Dry Blending

The dry blending methods use tools other than your colored pencils to blend without solvents.

You can use Paper Towel to produce an eggshell smooth surface. Simply fold a piece and rub it over the area you want to blend. Be careful on thin Bible Paper, buffing gently you can achieve a velvety semigloss. This method only produces minimal blending, but if that is all you need, paper towel will work.

Blending stumps and tortillons are more often used with graphite drawing, but they also work with colored pencil. They are very useful if you want to blend a small area.

Solvent Blending

There are a number of solvents used for blending colored pencil. Only the gentlest are appropriate for thin Bible papers.

Before you try any solvent on colored pencil in your Bible, test your products on a small doodle, back in the concordance. There is nothing more discouraging than ruining an illustration that you have poured your heart into.

Each solvent reacts differently whether you are using wax or oil based colored pencils.

While solvent blends can be interesting, they may not produce the look you want.

Baby Oil

I have read that a small amount of baby oil on a cotton swab can be used to blend colored pencil, but all I managed to do was make a mess. It did not work as advertised, saturated the paper, bled to the next page. .. maybe it takes technique that I do not possess. If you have been successful using Baby Oil to blend colored pencil, please give us some advice in the comments below.

Baby Wipes

You can wrap a piece of baby wipe over the end of a cotton swab and use it to blend small areas or wad it in a small ball for a little larger areas. Different brands behave differently. TEST your brand first. Make sure that the wipe has air dried until it is only slightly damp before using it to blend with.

Blending with Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is suitable for doing a light blend. It breaks the wax binder in colored pencil just enough to move a little pigment around and  fill in the tooth. With a good amount of pigment on the paper you can almost get the effect of watercolor pencils.

Use cotton swabs or small paint brushes dampened with 70% or less alcohol to blend on Bible paper, which will not withstand excess amounts of liquid. Stronger than 70% may just pull up all of the pigment instead of blending the color.

Prismacolor Blender Pen

Prismacolor Blender Pens work with colored colored pencils or colored markers. They result in moderately smooth blending. With wax based colored pencils (like Prismacolor) they break down the wax to be liquid and it blends like a wet medium. However blender pens can take a little while to get used to working with without saturating your page (especially when you first open a new pen).  And just because it worked perfect last time you used the pen, does not mean it will preform the same the next time you use it. – again – practice in the back on a doodle before each time you use a new blender pen.
They can make your drawing look wet or muddy, if you have not chosen the colors you are blending together carefully and can change the pigment to something slightly darker than you started with.
Be sure to wipe blender pens on a spare piece of paper between blending different colors because it will retain some of the color on the tip.
Blender pens work well to lighten/mute the Prismacolour pens.

Safety Tips

Make sure you use all of these solvents safely. Work in a well-ventilated space and exercise caution. Don’t work around children or pets and make sure to clean your work area and tools thoroughly and to secure cap containers when you finish.

Let your artwork dry thoroughly before you begin working on it again, let your Bible sit open overnight in a well ventilated area .

Practice

Speaks for itself.

Have Fun !

For the next tutorial, please Click here to learn about HIGHLIGHTING Verses

And have a Blessed Day

Jackie Whedbee-Mattingly

Jackie Whedbee-Mattingly


 

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