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Blending Blending Demonstration Tortillons

 
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A tortillon is a tightly rolled sheet of paper, the inside of which is pushed out into a pencil shape and used by pencil, pastel and charcoal artists to blend and push colour around on the drawing paper, softening edges and graduating tones. 
You may want to try experimenting with various types of paper, the commercial tortillons that I've come across are made from a rather loose fibre paper, similar to thin blotting paper but I've found that just about any paper will do. I make mine from ordinary copy paper straight out of my printer. Very little practice is required to produce your own homemade tortillon.
 
Tortillon1 Take a sheet of A4 paper and mark 1" down on one side and 1" up on the other. Rule a pencil line between the two points and then cut along with scissors. You can now make 2 tortillons.
 
Tortillon2 Starting at the narrow end, try to roll the paper evenly and fairly tightly, towards the wider edge. This can be a bit of an art and does take a little practice but they do last a long time once they are made. They do occasionally come to a point as you are rolling... this is fine.
 
Tortillon3 Once the paper is tightly rolled, hold it firmly and push out the centre with a very thin knitting needle / thick wire or something similar, to form a pencil shape.
 
Tortillon 4 You now need to secure the paper with a small strip of adhesive tape and trim any excess paper from the top.
 
I finish by roughing up the point with a piece of medium sandpaper, this gives a softer, velvet texture, especially if using ordinary printer paper as I do. The sandpaper is also used to clean the end of the tortillon. Try to use a clean one for lighter areas of blending and darker, dirtier ones for dark areas such as hair and deep shadows. Use the tortillon at a slight angle to prevent pushing the point into the body. By the way, some nice, soft skintones can be achieved using a soft chamois leather or ordinary kitchen / toilet tissue over the fingertip, especially around the larger highlights of cheekbones etc...


Home Materials Blending Blending
Blending Blending Demonstration Tortillons

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