Friday, 8 August 2014

learn: Blending Prismacolor with Heidi Cooper

I've only recently discovered the joys of Prismacolor (Premier) pencils - soft waxy coloured pencils with wonderful blending capabilities. I've put together some small test areas to show the techniques I use, as well as progress shots from my drawing to try to illustrate some of these qualities. I use 4 blending techniques:

Solvent on a cotton bud
This method applies a lot of solvent, which really spreads the colour and also strips the colours out to a certain extent, giving a similar effect as a marker/felt tip. I use Zest it- Oil Paint Dilutant and Brush cleaner- any non toxic alternative to turps/white spirit will work.

Solvent on cotton bud

Solvent on a paper stump

Really good for blending large areas and getting into corners. The solvent soaks into the stump meaning less solvent is applied to the paper so there is generally no stripping of colour.

Solvent on paper stump

Prismacolor blending pencil

Which is effectively solvent in a pencil and is brilliant for getting into small/detailed areas and going over black outlines.

Prismacolor blending pencil
White or light- coloured pencil over darker colour


1. I usually lay down watercolour/watercolour pencil or ink as a foundation and then use Prismacolors over the top.

Watercolour wash

2. Apply some pink Prismacolor (roughly)

Prismacolor added roughly

3. Blend using cotton bud with solvent ( this photo shows only part blended so you can see the difference)

Blending with solvent

4. Apply more colours and some black outlines

Added colour and black outlines

5. Blend with paper stump and solvent and use Prismacolor blending pencil for small areas and outlines

Blended Prismacolor

6. In this photo you can just make out the unblended indigo pencil I've used as a shadow under one leg, while on the other side I have blended under the leg (using Prismacolor blending pencil). It's amazing how vibrant and intense the colour can become when blended-  depending on the colour used.

Blending using Prismacolor blending pencil

7. Finished drawing. It's really hard to pick up in a photo, I've used a LOT of white blending and overlaying for the feathers using a chinagraph pencil over the top of the prismas.

Finished drawing


Heidi xx


  1. Thanks....coloured pencils have always been a mystery to to use them I mean. I had never seen the use of solvents before ;)

  2. I've used turpentine on oil pastels before but never thought it worked for pencils as well :o Such cool beans :) Thanks Heidi! This is tremendously helpful.

  3. Thank you for sharing the prismacolor tips. I received some as a gift and will give this a try :)


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