How To Blend Colored Pencils

Paint thinner is a great way to blend oil and wax based coloured pencils. The paint thinner pushes the pigment of the coloured pencil into the grain of the paper, so you end up with a smoother more painterly look with your coloured pencil art.

How to use paint thinner?

- Use wax or oil based coloured pencils, like Faber-Castell Polychromos or Caran D'ache Luminance pencils.

- I like to use an odourless paint thinner like Mona Lisa Odorless paint thinner. The liquid doesn't smell, but be sure to keep it away from pets or children because it's still very toxic. I try not to inhale the paint thinner while I'm working, I keep the lid on the bottle at all times when it's not in use.

Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils are oil based and they work great with paint thinner.

Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils are oil based and they work great with paint thinner.

- Use thick high-quality paper like Fabriano Artistico Watercolour paper. You will want to draw a lot of layers of colour onto the paper, so using a high-quality paper is very important.

- Draw at least four or five layers of coloured pencil before using paint thinner. If the layer of colour is too thin, the paint thinner won't have much of an effect. The more pigment you have on the paper, the better the paint thinner will blend the colours.

- Draw each layer of colour with a very light hand. If you put too much pressure on the pencil too soon, you will damage the grain of the paper and it won't take so many layers of colour. The paint thinner will do the blending for you, just add a lot of layers of coloured pencil with a light hand, and keep blending the layers with paint thinner. When I have at least 15 to 20 layers of coloured pencil on the paper that I have blended with paint thinner, I will start putting a little more pressure on the pencil to put in the final details.

I like to use a flat brush to push the pigment of the coloured pencils into the grain of the paper.

I like to use a flat brush to push the pigment of the coloured pencils into the grain of the paper.

- Try different shapes of brushes to see what works best for you. I find that a stiff flat brush works great with pushing the colour into the grain of the paper.

Thank you for reading! I hope you found this article about blending coloured pencils with paint thinner helpful. If you have any questions or thoughts about blending coloured pencils, please share in the comment section below!

-Eeva