Sketchbook Sunday: Using Powder Blender for the First Time!

Hi friends! As a reward for completing Inktober I decided to treat myself to a supply I have been curious about for a while: Brush and Pencil Colored Pencil Powder Blender. During my research I realized that this was not going to be a cheap endeavor. The colored pencil blender itself s $7, but I did some research and realized that I would need need fixative and special sanded paper. At that point I figured if I was going down this road I would get the other accessories that round out the experience. Although pricey, I knew that I would definitely use the sanded paper and fixatives with pastels if the powder blender was a bust so I decided to give it a try. The products arrived two days ago, here is my fist attempt:

For best results with powder blender you want to use oil based pencils (all regular colored pencils contain both oil and wax but pencils regarded as oil based have a lower percentage of wax) which is fine by me because I have Polychromos and I don’t use them that much as I favor the thicker waxy more opaque Prismacolors. That said sanded paper is just what is sounds like, sandpaper, and it wears down your pencils like crazy! Since I didn’t want to “waste” my expensive Polychomos on a practice piece I grabbed my affordable Art-n-Fly pencils as they are oil based and $20 for a set of $48 so i can afford to experiment without it being too precious. The paper is precious enough LOL! (I only used half a sheet on this) 😀 BTW the reason you want to use “oil” based and not “wax” based pencils is because the wax wants to ball up and get gummy when you add the powder blender. If you have any pencils that feel kinda dry they will work fine. The Arteza pencils worked pretty well too. I was able to use Prismacolors for final details that I didn’t belnd out at the end tho. If you are curious as to how this all went together please watch the time lapse.

Supplies: *Amazon affiliate links used. I will also link to Brush and Pencil and Blick as not all products are available on Amazon and the prices may be better in a bundle from those sellers.

My friend Lisa has a wonderful tutorial using these products. I highly recommend you check this out if you are thinking about trying these products.

It’s not to often that I find something really new and innovative to try. I think the technique of layering the pencils with the powder and fixative is really cool. You can approximate this at home as I did last month with panpastel and the workable fixative I had. The sanded (or gessoed) paper and oil based pencils makes all the difference here. I think anything that is powdery would work to blend as the pencils want to blend on the sanded paper even with no product because the grit shaves off pencil as you color making it’s own powder. That said I like supporting innovative companies and I do like that fixative, touch up texture and titanium white powder and knowing it won’t scratch off will save me on some mixed media work. You can feel OK to substitute with what you have on hand to see f you like the process before dropping $50+ on the whole shebang. I don’t regret my purchase. I think my first try was pretty successful and I look forward to using it again. One more thing I wanted to mention is Alyona Nickelsen, the woman who invented this system, has a book that I am currently reading called The Colored Pencil Bible and it is wonderful! I got the kindle version and I am about halfway through. So far there is no mention of the powder blender (I think she wrote it before inventing the product) but she does talk about shaving colored pencil leads for similar effects. It’s worth a look especially if you like Prismacolor pencils as that is what she mainly uses in the book! I hope you enjoyed my Sunday Experimentation and til next time happy crafting!

4 Responses

  1. Your first attempt is gorgeous, Lindsay!!

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  2. HI Lindsay thank you for your tutorial I thoroughly enjoyed I do feel bad because you spend your money to test for us although I am so grateful. I also have the book you mentioned and it is the best reference for people who use pencils.

    I found that the product “Zest” is the cheapest and by far the best product to use to blend colours. I use my pencils regularly and I don’t do the blending in until I’m finished, of course I blend as I go by laying colour down and over so that there is no defined lineal mark. I use a Q Tip which I dip once and use that to blend with a very light touch almost skimming the surface.

    It works perfectly and I have had comments along the lines of which paint did I use? Plus I only bought a small bottle for a couple of dollars and I still have half a bottle left!

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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  3. This is pretty cool Lindsay. I have a lot of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for soaping. I wonder how it would work? i know nothing about this method except your video. It is really interesting.

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