Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pencil Q & A

Just collecting a few of your pencil questions to answer.  I'll begin working on a new chart comparing pencil brands, too, for those who are interested. Here's a start, comparing whites on a black substrate. I'm waiting on a set from Blick to round out the chart. Below are the pencils I have in full sets.

1. Watercolor pencils are blended using water, yes?
 They are uniquely formulated to blend with water, and they truly shine best when blended that way. However, many of them can be used dry or blended with a solvent.

2. What is the best way to blend wax based pencils?
There are several ways that wax pencils can be blended:
  • using the pencils themselves, with layers of color, or with a lighter colored pencil
  • a blender or burnishing tool (again, layers of color, pressed into the paper using the tool - it's usually in a pencil format, but with no pigment added)
  • with a solvent (quite a variety available, from mineral spirits to baby oil, laundry detergent and vodka!), applied with blending stumps
  • with a solvent marker or alcohol blending marker
What's 'best' is a matter of personal preference. For detail work I prefer to use the pencils and blend layers of color. Of all the blending/burnishing tools I've tested, I prefer the Lyra Splender Colorless Blender. All these blending methods are covered in my Pencil Basics class.

3. Can wax based pencils be used in conjunction with the water colors?
I like adding fine details and deeper shading to my watercoloring with wax or oil pencils after the painting is dry.

4. I noticed you used an alcohol blender pen... was it used on wax-based pencils or on your alcohol markers just for the review comparison? It wasn't clear to me.
The alcohol blender pen was used on wax-based pencils as a solvent blender. It does stain the marker tip but it doesn't hurt it.

5. Is the Caran d'Ache Full Blender Bright only usable on wax pencils?
 The Blender Bright can be used with wax or oil based pencils, and with Neocolor I and II wax pastels.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Hi Dina - I have t full set of Prisma pencils, but feel I am still missing colors. I am spoiled by copics and the color choices!! My question - since I have all the prismas, can you recommend specific colors in other brands to fill out my collection? thanks!

  2. Like and appreciate your review Dina and looking forward to the complete one! I very much like my Derwent Soft color white and my old Karisma white.
    creative greet Miranda

  3. Thank you Dina....I learn something new everyday. Happy to note that I can use my alcohol blender pen on my wax based pencils - I even have an extra one to dedicate to it!!!! Woo Hoo!

  4. Thanks for all the information about pencils. I hope to be taking your class very soon. I am interested in investing in pencils but can't decide which to buy so maybe if I read your blog enough and take your class I'll be able to figure it out. lol Thanks for all your hard work and valuable information.