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Pencil Drawing Fundamentals - The Blending Phase

Blending is another skill you need to learn before you can become an accomplished pencil artist.
Before you start blending you need to create a line drawing with the appropriate shading according to an internalized 5-value scale.
There are several different tools you can use to blend with.
There is the pencil itself with which you can draw short parallel lines to blend two differently valued areas together.
There is the tortillon which is a piece of rolled up paper especially designed for blending.
And finally, there is paper tissue as well as the use of your fingers.
Here are some guidelines to help you with the blending task: 1.
Hard Edges - A hard edge is created when two areas with different values touch or overlap.
An edge can be clearly seen.
Above all, these edges should not be represented by actual lines.
Instead, produce a hard edge by juxtaposing two differently valued forms.
In reality, there does not exist what we ordinarily think of to be a line.
Lines are seen because of two neighboring areas have different values.
Therefore, making use of contrasting values is the preferred method to create lines.
A drawing with actually drawn contours will look planar.
In fact, this style of drawing is called contour drawing and has its place in the realm of pencil drawing.
However, these types of drawings are not meant to convey the illusion of three-dimensionality.
Soft Edges - A soft edge results when an object's surface gradually curves away from the light source.
The value of this sort of edge varies gradually and this should be reflected in your blending.
The surface closest to the source is the lightest and the values become darker as you move farther away.
Whenever possible, do the blending parallel to object edges.
For example, always follow the curves of an arm or an ear.
This approach allows for blending into the edges and yields a more rounded impression.
It is part of creating three-dimensionality in your planar drawing sheet.
Contrast - Contrast is, of course, an essential ingredient of creating a convincing drawing.
It brings your drawing to life.
Use your internalized 5-value scale to help you with observing the correct values.
To better distinguish the different values in your scene it helps to squint and/or to work in dusk-like conditions.
Darkest Darks - If your scene contains a really dark area it may be necessary to create such area by building layers.
You can start with one dark layer and put a layer of fixative on top.
Then, on top of the fixative you can draw a second dark layer.
If necessary, repeat the process until you reach the desired darkness.
Uneven Values - Often you will find that some of the areas are blended unevenly.
In such situations you can use the kneaded eraser to remove some of the darks and your pencil to add some darkness wherever needed.
A kneaded eraser is a putty-like type eraser that can be shaped in any desired form.
One of its best properties is that you can shape it into a fine point.
This allows you to erase thin strips and lighten tiny areas such as small pupil or nose highlights.
Kneaded Eraser - A kneaded eraser is a very useful tool to use during the blending phase.
It can actually be thought of as a drawing tool in the negative.
That means that you can use the kneaded eraser to take out (erase) graphite from a penciled area in your drawing.
For example, the kneaded eraser is ideally suited to create highlights and many types of textures.
Dark to Light Transition - Always blend from dark into light.
That is, work from the shadows towards the light areas.
Highlights are the lightest of all values and therefore are equal to the white of your drawing paper.
At the other end, the cast shadows are the darkest of the darks.
* Blending Tools - As mentioned above, there exist a variety of blending tools.
They include: your regular pencils, the tortillon (i.
, different sizes of rolled up paper cones), the kneaded eraser in certain circumstances, ordinary paper tissue, and even your fingers.
These guidelines represent just about everything you need to know to start developing your blending skills.
This phase is also the time to exercise your artistic talent and to show your heart and soul.
At the end of the blending phase you should be nearly finished with your drawing.

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