Using a Blending Stick or Tortillon

By JBriggs Studio

Making your Portraits Soft and Dreamy

Many times when drawing my horse portraits, I want a soft ethereal look to the drawing vs. hard edges and high contrast. This is done using a #2 pencil to start my sketch softly working in the areas that will be darkest. I follow this with a blending stump or in art terms, a tortillon. Using the appropriate size for the area I’m working in lets me blend the pencil area and take away the hard edges. I then use a very “used” thicker tortillon to “draw in” the rest of my portrait. Using my #2 pencil and sometimes a #4, along with my tortillons, and of course erasers, I create the entire portrait without hard edges. This gives a very soft, drawing with a “cloudlike” feeling. It works well for landscapes and drawings where you’d like the feeling of softness. So try giving tortillons a big place in your drawings.

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