There are a few well-known brands of coloured pencils blenders on the market, so how do you know which one is right for you? I will put all the colour pencil blenders and burnishers that I have to the test, and a white pencil (Prismacolor Premier in White) to the test.
For an overview and more information on what colour pencil blender and burnisher pencils are, please have a look at my other Hub over here:
The colour pencil brands tested in this hub are:
- Derwent Coloursoft (wax based)
- Prismacolor Premier (wax based)
- Derwent Artists Colour Pencil (wax based)
- Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor (oil based)
- Colleen (wax??? really I have no idea...)
The blenders and burnishers tested in this hub are (excluding the Prismacolor White pencil):
- Prismacolor Colorless Blender (wax based)
- Derwent Burnisher (wax based)
- Derwent Blender (wax based)
- Prismacolor Colourless (presumably wax based)
- Lyra Splender (oil based)
Explanation for the numbers in the top row:
1 - first layer of colour laydown
2 - blender/burnisher/white pencil overlay
3 - blender/burnisher/white pencil overlay AND second layer of colour laydown
Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor
Colleen colored pencil
Notes on the results
- Derwent Burnisher & Prismacolor Colouress don't blend the pencil strokes well (they're not meant for this purpose anyway), but they push the colours deeper into the paper and thus make the colours appear brighter. They seal in the colours with a layer of smooth, glossy wax, and because of this glossiness, the colours with this pencil overlaid on top don't take on further layers of colour too well.
- Lyra Splender, an oil-based colour pencil blender, works best with oil-based Lyra Polycolor pencils (which is what I expected). It performs disappointingly poorly with wax-based colour pencils. It performs relatively well with Colleen, which is making me changing my mind that it might be oil-based (it's a kids grade colour pencil that I love to use!)
- Derwent Blender and Prismacolor Colorless Mixer both leave a matt surface when applied onto the colour pencil layers. The surface looks dry, almost like it's slightly dusted with powder. They also seem to make the colours really 'sink' into the surface of the paper, while colours blended with Prismacolor white pencil seems to retain that slight shiny waxy look.
- While both Derwent Blender and Prismacolor Colorless Mixer pushes the colours around and into the paper equally well, I find that Derwent Blender leaves this slightly yellowish cast which is absent in the Prismacolor blender which I don't particularly like (though I'm sure is excellent if you are making warm-toned colour pencil artworks). I think for this reason, I slightly prefer Prismacolor blender.
- Burnishing with white colour pencil gives a very soft, creamy, pastel-like colour. Subsequent layers won't be dark as the ones blended with colourless blender pencils.
- Both blenders and white pencil are great for blending colour pencils in the early/intermediary stages of colouring
- I like both blender pencils and white pencils equally for blending. Both have their places, depending on the look you're going for.
- Burnisher and Prismacolor Colourless are not recommended for blending, save that for later stages or the last layer.
- Wax-based blender performs best with wax-based colour pencils, and same goes for oil-based blender and colour pencils. I don't recommend mixing
Examples, white pencil blending:
The two images below are drawn with only white pencil as blender & burnisher. I don't know if you can tell from the scan, but the colours 'sit on top' of the paper more, like a film of shiny wax on the paper.
Examples, blender and burnisher blending:
The two images below are drawn using Derwent blender & burnisher. I used Derwent blender only in the early layers of the colour laydown, and notice how the colours seem to 'sink' into the paper and look more 'matt' which seems to persist even after several more layers of colours are applied on top.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you've found my Hubs useful! :)
Caitlin on May 12, 2015:
Hello, I would like to know if Polychromos can be blended with the derwent blender?
Kayness (author) on February 03, 2014:
I'm not aware that Polychromos has a blender pencil. Does it?
But yes, you can use oil-based blender & burnisher with oil-based colour pencil.
gokhandemir on February 03, 2014:
Why did you not test faber castell polychromos? I need the result of this test :(
Polychromos are oil-based pencils...
So can I use lyra splender because, it is oil-based blender and burnisher?
Please help me on this :(
Kayness (author) on June 27, 2012:
Thank you Shaddie (and for following me!) I love that method, too! I love all of them in fact :D
Shaddie from Washington state on June 27, 2012:
Fascinating hub, I have always wondered about blenders. From the looks of it, I really fancy the Prismacolor white method.
Kayness (author) on May 29, 2012:
thank you so much!!!
stephenjm on May 29, 2012:
I love your work.