As any makeup artist knows if you can’t blend then you have a serious problem, the exact same can be said of traditional art, and the thing is, I think a lot of people don’t quite realise just how many different tools and tricks there are. You don’t just have to use your fingers, so today I thought I’d go through my favourite tools for blending.
Yes, you read that correctly, paint brushes. The great thing about this is that it means that you can use makeup brushes which might have fallen out of favour or are long since used up. In my art roll I carry around several different brushes. Some small nail art brushes (perfect for small details), a stiff concealer brush (perfect for blending or blending out colours) and a large powder brush. Destroyed old paint brushes are also good if you want a bit of variety in the texture, for example, if you’re drawing clothes and need to get the texture of wool.
Rubber Sculpting Tools/Silicone Colour Shapers:
These are as close to miniature versions of your fingers as you are going to get, and they’re perfect for tiny, tiny details and hair. They come in different strengths, soft, medium and hard. I have one of each and in different shapes though my favourite is this one (**). I use it in everything from small details in the eyes and lips to hair.
Paper Blending Sticks/Tortillion:
The first thing I’m going to mention about these is how to sharpen them because a lot of people don’t seem to know. First thing to point out is don’t use a sharpener, you will absolutely wreck it if you do that. What you need is to run it down some fine sandpaper to scrap the upper layer off, you could also techincally use a craft knife to sharpen it but it’s far too easy to take off too much of the end and waste a lot of it if you do that. You can find some here (**) or in The Works where I buy mine from.
I think mostly everyone will have this in their house, though it’s not a trick I use often since I have paintbrushes and tortillions. With some cotton buds you will have to pull at the cotton a little to fluff it up a bit if you want the blending to be smooth, or leave them as they are and they’ll have a similar effects as if you were using a Tortillion.