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Blending Blending Demonstration Tortillons

Shade1 This is the wrong way to achieve a smooth, gradated skin tone... trying to blend these loosely drawn lines will simply produce a rough, smudgy effect. Shade2
Shade3 Shading should be as tight and smooth as possible with a gentle gradation from dark to light... this will ensure a smooth blending of the pencil marks. Keep the tortillon at a slight angle to prevent the point from being pushed into the body. Shade4
Graphite will act very much like fingerprint powder and adhere to areas of paper where natural oils from the fingers have been deposited. To achieve smooth, silky blends, try to keep skin contact with the paper to an absolute minimum. Try resting the heel of the hand on a piece of tissue or paper to prevent unnecessary contact. NEVER try to blend graphite with the fingertips!!!

You can work with a basic palette of only 5 shades.
Tone1 1. This is the lightest part of an object where the light falls directly on to it. This is the actual paper and must not be drawn on, lighter greys should be blended gently towards it using a clean tortillon.
Tone2 2. This is our reflected light and is seen around the edge of an object as light reflects from surrounding surfaces such as clothing. It makes an object appear solid as it informs us that there is another, darker side to it.
Tone3 3. Mid grey, the tone that represents the actual colour of the object without the effects of either direct light or shadow. Remember, although this is a basic five tone system, the gentle gradation between shades will actually be producing millions.
Tone4 4. This represents the shadowed side of an object as it recedes from the light. For example, if light is from the right... the left side of the object would be this shade. It would lighten gently towards the light and darken as it moved away.
Tone5 5. The darkest tone is as near to black as you can get, this is your darkest shade and represents the cast shadows. This shadow is darkest where objects meet surfaces and lightens as it moves away from the object. Don't try to achieve this tone in one application, build it up in layers.

To change a totally flat circle into a solid looking sphere using our blending method I start by lightly drawing in the outline and the highlight, which I need to reserve as white paper. Remember, try not to get pencil in the highlight, as once blended into the paper, it's almost impossible to remove completely.
Ball2 I've drawn in the shadow below the circle to represent the cast shadow. Where the object meets the surface is going to be our darkest tone and as it moves away it gradually gets lighter. Placing one of your darkest tones quite early also helps to establish the required tonal values.
Ball3 Following the shape of the object, I've shaded in a fairly narrow section to represent the darker side of our sphere. This will be the first of a number of layers which I will build up to the required tone. Using the tortillon, I'm now going to blend and pull the colour. By the way, If the tortillon squeaks, or drags on the paper, apply more pencil...
Ball4 This is the shaded area after blending and spreading the pencil with the paper tortillon. I pull the colour towards the lighter area but stop short of the reserved highlight, I use a clean tortillon to blend the lightest grey towards the white. I then apply another layer of pencil, & repeat.
Ball5 And this is the finished sphere after three layers of shading and blending, using all five shades: 1. The Highlight, where the light strikes the object. 2. The reflected light at the bottom of the object. 3. The actual colour of the object. 4. The dark side of the object. 5. The cast shadow directly below the object, our darkest tone.

This is exactly the same method I use when drawing my portraits... light falling onto the forehead, the cheek, the nose and the chin are all rounded surfaces that reflect light and require the same technique.