By now you may have come across many tips, (or as the kids call them today, hacks) to help your colored pencils do what you want them to do. Below is a list of our top tips including a new favorite eraser everyone should own.
1 - BLENDING: To help smooth-out areas of colored pencil, create gradations or to help blend multiple colors, try a blender. These solvents help break-down the vehicle to move color around for a new look.
* Prismacolor has the #3503 blending pencil (same size and shape as their standard colored pencils) and the #3533 colorless blender (found in the Prismacolor marker rack).
* A new favorite is the Finesse blender pen available in a single or 3-pack. An alcohol-based solvent that is low odor, fast drying and non-bleeding and comes in a pen for easy use.
* Gamsol odorless thinner. This has taken the place of our once top seller, Bestine. It comes in a small, 4oz size and can be used with a brush, Q-tip, brush or any other applicator.
2 - SHARPENING: There are a lot of subtle options you have when sharpening your colored pencils. One tip we have enjoyed immensely: if you have a colored pencil that is continually breaking as you sharpen, microwave it for 5 seconds. Since we've offered this advice we've not had to replace a defective, poorly sharpening pencil. That little jolt of radiation seems to re-set the lead and salvage bad pencils.
* With hand-held sharpeners, try turning the sharpener and not the pencil. In theory when you hold the pencil to turn, you may put a bit of torque on the casing as you turn the barrel.
* Try a sharpener like the KUM Automatic Long Point or the Blackwing Long Point. They both have two sharpening spots, one meant to sharpen the wood and one to sharpen the point.
* Sandpaper Paddles. You can always use a touch of sandpaper (sold in convenient paddles) to help get the perfect point on the end.
3 - BRAND CHOICE: Every range of colored pencils is built slightly different. Pencils can be wax-based, oil-based, thick-leaded, thinileaded and manufactured in many different countries. If you are having trouble getting the desired effect with one style of pencil, check out our selection and see if there is a pencil out there better suited to your needs.
4 - ERASER: Tombow Sand Eraser. Yes, it is a $3 eraser, but it is amazing. If you can imagine a soft white eraser that has been lovingly caressed by angels who then fill the eraser with a sandpaper-like grit. This roughness will help pull off the wax or oil-based colored pencil better than a standard eraser. Truly one of the must-have finds of the art store.