How to Blend Colored Pencils with OMS – 5 Steps

by Wendi OBrien

Today is all about blending your colored pencils with OMS or ordorless mineral spirits.

Supplies you will need are:

Color Pencils

A Solvent…I am using Mona Lisa Odorless Mineral Spirits, but you can also use things like gamsol and zest-it to list the more popular ones.

Paper that can handle a wet medium.  I am using Bristol Vellum for this demonstration, but other great choices are watercolor paper, mixed media and even various sanded papers.

A Paper Towel

A brush – round or flat, whichever you prefer.

Step 1

First … layer your pencils on the surface of the paper.  You want to preserve the texture of the paper so be sure to use a light pressure and apply several layers for this step.  Anywhere from 3 – 7 depending upon paper and amount of pressure used.

It is important to get the right balance of layers here…too little will  not do anything and too much will cause a big muddy mess.  Be sure to practice and see what works for you.

Step 2

Second…after you finish putting down your initial layers get your OMS and dip your brush in, dab it on a paper towel and begin blending your colored pencil.  Start with the lighter areas and work into the darker to preserve those lights.  Work in circular motions or single strokes to prevent harsh stop and start lines from developing.  The first layer you can be a bit more generous with your solvent, but you want to decrease the amount you apply with each subsequent layer.

It is important to note that you should be working with the solvent in a well ventilated room and be sure to cap it between each use to limit the amount of fumes you breathe in.  I like to put my solvent in a smaller container that I refill, as I find that with time, pigment does come off your brush in the container and I don’t want to contaminate the entire container with color.  I just clean and refill as I need.  It also reduces the amount of fumes that get into the air with a smaller amount.

Step 3

Third….let it dry.  The area you just applied solvent to need to dry for 5-20 minutes depending upon how much solvent you used and which layer you are on.  If you apply pencil too early, it will damage the tooth of the paper and the amount of pigment being applied to your piece will me minimal.  So be patient and let the area dry.

If you are working on a larger piece you can work in a different area and come back after it is dry.

Step 4

Forth….Repeat the first 3 steps as many times as you need for the piece you are working on keeping light pressure on your pencil and decreasing the amount of solvent used each time and allowing to dry in between layers. I typically follow these steps 1-4 times depending upon the need of the piece I am working on and the paper I am using.

Step 5

Fifth….this last step is all about the final layers and details.  For this demonstration I am applying my final layer with a medium light pressure being sure to blend and overlap the colors.  If you are rendering fur or hair this is the time to put in those fur and hair details.  Since this is an orb, I want the final surface to have a smooth appearance so I work with my gradients making sure the color transitions are smooth.  My final layer I burnish a bit with a medium pressure which flattens the tooth of the paper and creates and very smooth and blended surface.

Do you have ideas for tutorials you would like to see?  If so,  let me know in the comments below.

Until next time…keep on arting!

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