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Blending Colored Pencils

Aparna Jadhav
Blending colored pencils is a beautiful technique in art, to give the drawing a unique and realistic look. Read into the coming up story to find a few techniques for the same.
Color is always more precise than black and white. This fact is applicable to colored drawings and sketches as well. When you use colored pencils for sketching or drawing, it is very important to use the colors that complement each other and make the end result look perfect.
Sketching with black pencils is not a problem, as there is a single color that defines the minute details of a drawing. But when colored pencils are used, these details need a different color shade at each point, which need to be precisely placed for perfection.
Smudging is a technique that a number of artists use to give the drawing a slightly shaded image. However, it is often used for black and white sketches. On the other hand, if you are using colored pencils, a technique known as 'blending' is used, where the different colors are combined on paper to create each and every detail of the drawing clearly.
In the paragraphs ahead, you will read more about blending colored pencils in unique and creative ways.

How to Blend with Colored Pencils

The definition of blending colored pencils is, the process of creating layers of these colors by using layering techniques and using some blending tools. It is very easy to blend water, oil and acrylic colors as they are in the form of liquid. But, blending the pigments in colored pencils is surely a task that needs skill and a fine hand.
Therefore, blending with colored pencils cannot be called blending but layering, where the colors are layered above each other to create an effect of mixing the colors. However, even if this sounds difficult, all you need to do is learn a few blending techniques for colored pencils.
These techniques and tips are put together in the paragraphs ahead, to help you create a sharp and detail interpretation of the real images. Take a look.

Step 1

Sharpen your pencils to make them razor-sharp as you need to have pointed tips in order to get the layers right. This is because, when you use blunt pencils, they skip the "depressions" on your drawing paper and can reveal the white through your drawing. Thus, make sure you sharpen your colored pencils each time you want to use them for layering as they need to run through each and every depression of the paper. This is the first step to learn how to color with colored pencils.

Step 2

Once you have created the outline of the drawing, you need to fill in the colors. Therefore, pick a starting point and by using the lighter colored pencils, stroke the paper with slight pressure, at the desired locations. After the first strokes are done, build stronger strokes gradually and create the undertones of the image. If you are creating the highlights of the drawing, use warm colors and then the cool ones to create the shadows.

Step 3

The first layer needs to create a base for the later layers, therefore, make sure you use the desired pressure for the strokes. Make the strokes in only one direction and follow the same direction for the rest of the strokes as well.
Now, after first layer is done, use another color that could be a contrast or complementary and follow the same stroke procedure. However, you need to layer the following colors very carefully and specifically on the base layers, to blend the colors and make the drawing look natural. Fill in each depression on the paper, so that the whites are not visible.

Step 4

While blending, it is nearly impossible to get the exact color precision and detail as the real image. Therefore, you can use various helpers to bring that perfection, such as using blender markers (that is colorless), which help in dissolving the colored pencil pigments on paper and blending them easily.
You could use crayon erasers to push the colors around on the paper and thus, give them a slightly blended look. A makeup sponge could also work wonders in blending the colors.
Another technique is of dry brushing, where you apply multiple layers of color with strong strokes and then with a dry paintbrush, blend it colors together. Applying strokes in different directions with light pressure could help the depressions too.
With these unique tips for blending colored pencils, hope you have learned new ways of doing the same. As an artist, you can develop a number of techniques depending on your own comfort. But you could try these if you need help.