Craft Tool of the Month

Blender Pens and Pencils.

These products are so invaluable in your art practice which begs the questions.

What are they? And how do we use them?

Well as the name suggests, they are used for blending.

If like me, you've been frustrated that your artwork is streaky and your colours just don't lay

evenly on the paper, blenders will become your best friends. 

But as there are several different types, let's look at them one by one.

For Use With Alcohol Based Marker Pens.

I love working with marker pens but I'm sure we can all agree that some of them

- especially the cheaper felt tip pens we used in childhood - are terribly streaky once they start to dry out a bit. 

The blender pen is a dual tip marker which is filled with a clear, alcohol based blending fluid and by using this over the top of our streaky pen marks we can create an even, blended finish.

Brands include - Winsor & Newton Promarker pens,  Tim Holtz Alcohol Ink Blending Pen,

Spectrum Noir Colourless Blender Pen.

These pens usually accompany a range of alcohol marker pens

but I have also used them in conjunction with other alcohol markers

such as Sharpies so feel free to experiment with different makes.

For use with graphite and coloured pencils.

Streaks across your drawing are very common and it can be rather frustrating when you've spent time creating your piece of work. There are several types of blenders, some to be used with

graphite pencils and others that work with coloured pencils.

Blending Stumps / Tortillion

These have been around for years and work really well with all types of graphite

pencils as well as charcoal. Essentially they are made from compressed

paper with a point on each end. Some people use a sharp craft knife to 

trim the point however I find this doesn't work very well. I file mine into shape

using sandpaper which I find works much better.

As you can see from the photo, the difference between the 2 is that Tortillion have a finer point than the Blending Stumps meaning you can get into awkward tiny corners. There are plenty of video demos online to show you how to use them but here's a link to get you started.

Blender Pencil



These come in a pencil format which you sharpen like a normal pencil.  Coloured pencils need a colourless binder to keep the pigment stable inside the core of the pencil. The blender pencils are made from this clear binding materal. I've only tried the one made by Derwent but they are available from other suppliers such as Prismacolor, Caran d'Ache, Koh-i-Noor, Staedtler and Lyra, You apply a layer of blender over the top of your colour, smoothing the surface as you go.

Whilst checking out pencil blenders for you, I've come across a blender pen by Derwent, for use with both graphite and coloured pencil. Obviously I've not tried it out but it's definitely one I will be purchasing. According to the description - 'The blenders dissolve the wax found in coloured pencils to give a strong velvety finish'. The pencil blenders leave a waxy finish so it will be interesting to see how these pens differ.

So I hope you've found this interesting and informative?

These pens/pencils really do make a big difference to your work &

definitely give a more professional finish to your artwork so give them a try.