How to Blend Prismacolor Pencils Without Blender

One of the most common questions that we artists come across is how we blend our paintings? Do we use any blending tools, pencils, or a specific blending technique?

The answer to this is, we use whatever method is available, required, and effective for a perfect blend. However, in this article, our main focus will be on blending techniques that you can use to blend colors and not involve a blender’s direct use.  So, let’s dig into these methods and see which one fits perfectly for your needs.

5 Simple Ways to Blend Prismacolor Pencils Without Blender

Blend Prismacolor Pencils Without Blender

1. Using Paper Towel and Tortillons

Paper towels and tortillons are the common and ideal tools that you can use as colorless blenders. One if not both of these are also available in your basic art supplies.

You just need to rub the actual drawing with toilet paper or any available bathroom tissue. Moreover, if you have tortillons at an arms-length, you can use the fine tip blender for further details.

There is a common misconception that tortillons can only be used for graphite drawings. However, it is not true. You can also use them for Prisma colored pencils.  

This blending method is not only easy, but you can also control it by maintaining the medium pressure to heavier pressure.

2. Taking Help of Mineral Spirits

Odorless mineral spirits can beautifully blend a colored pencil artwork. Such spirits remarkably break the wax binder in the pigments and help them absorb on the drawing surface for a better result. However, for such spirits to work in your favor, you need to use sturdy paper and lots of colored pigment on the paper.

I use one of the most efficient spirits, the Gamblin Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits. It is easy to use. You can dip your painting brushes inside the bottle, remove the excess solvent on a paper towel and apply a nice layer to the drawing.

For watercolor effects or a lighter tint, you can apply this spirit on a lighter color or mix the color in spirit and brush it on the art paper. Use a hard paper for producing a watercolor effect as it might require more spirit than usual.

You can also use rubbing alcohol to blend wax-based colored pencils without an artist-grade solvent. A synthetic brush or cotton balls can be used for the alcohol technique. Pour the rubbing alcohol on the soft cloth or dip the brush in the alcohol and apply directly to the painting.

3. Use a Bristle Brush

Suppose you are not comfortable using spirits and are more into blending without solvents, then you can use a soft brush to blend the color layers. Using a brush to spread the color on paper will require a bit of experience.

So, I recommend you practice this technique on blank paper before using it on the actual drawing.

Moreover, the type of paper determines the softness or hardness of the brush. You can use a soft brush on lightweight paper and a stiff bristle brush on heavy paper.

4. Baby Oil can Help

I don’t know who gave this idea that let’s not limit baby oil to babies only. Instead, why not use them for blending effects.

Well, they were right, and we invented yet another solvent for blending that also smells good. Moreover, baby oil and other oil-based solvents are some of the gentle solvents that do not require a well-ventilated area. Pour a bit of baby oil on a dry cloth and use it directly on your drawing.

5. Color Layering is Great

Being a Professional Artist, when I say color layering is great, I mean that this blending method can result in remarkable drawings only by using the regular pencils you use for coloring.

It will not be wrong if we say that this is also a cheaper option. Layering a colored pencil repeatedly drawing with the same or lighter color results in burnishing effects. It may take a bit of time, but the results will speak for themselves.

To blend between layers, start with a darker color first. Then, add another layer of one or two shade lighter color pencils on this dark color. Moreover, to draw like experienced artists, you need to master the pressure you apply. If your pencil colors have a blunt tip, you can apply heavy pencil strokes.

However, in the case of sharp pencils, just be a little light on the pencil pressure, or you will break the tip, and it will leave a nasty mark on your paper.

Apart from this, if you are using the layering technique, you need to make sure that you use high-quality pencils and drawing paper. The excellence in this technique dramatically depends on the quality of the piece of paper you are using and pencil colors.

The opposite can result in paper tearing or poor blending of color layers. The reason is that cheap papers are made up of short fibers, and they do not hold the pigments well.



Q: Can you blend Prismacolor pencils with alcohol?

Yes, Prismacolor pencils are wax-based pencils, and the wax binders in them can easily be broken down by using alcohol techniques. The solvent blends the binders of the pigments and results in a smooth and saturated appearance.

You can either use alcohol on a cotton swab or a soft cloth and then apply it directly to the drawing. You will immediately see the results.

However, as this is a gentle solvent, you might need an extra amount for proper results. I suggest you use stiff paper instead of a soft one in this case.

Q: How do you smooth out Prismacolor pencils?

Prismacolor pencils have a wax binder inside their pigment. So, anything which can easily break off the binder can be used to smooth out the actual drawing. Some of the dry methods include the use of paper towels, tortillons, colorless blending pencils, and burnishing of effect.

On the other hand, you can also use some solvents to blend out the colors and get a smooth appearance. You can either work with mineral spirits or rub alcohol in wet blending as both give remarkable results.

Q: What is the easiest way to blend colored pencils?

The answer to this question will be different from person to person. Some may like blending by using rubbing alcohol, and others may approve the help of a paper towel.

However, if you ask me, I will say the easiest method for blending Prismacolor is using the same pencil itself. Give your painting some time and add multiple layers to smooth out the white patches.

Variation between medium to heavy pressure helps fill the gaps and gives an overall smooth surface. Even after color layering, if I feel there is still home for improvement, I simply use Gamsol mineral spirit to smooth out the final artwork.

Q: Are Prismacolor pencils good for blending?

Yes, Prismacolor pencils are wax-based color pencils and are good for blending. We are saying this because it is easy to blend wax-binders rather than oil-based pencils.

You can match artistic grade drawing by making one using Prismacolors and then applying the blending mentioned above techniques. You do not need artist-quality colored pencils for splendid paintings.

But what you need is practice and command on blending techniques. As a result, if you practice with Prismacolors, you will notice that they are pretty good for practicing blending on.


Prismacolor pencils is a known name in the field of art. Professionals and beginners use Prismacolors throughout their journey. As a result, you will surely come across them at least once in your life, and the chances that you will develop a likeness for them are pretty high.

So, it will be beneficial in the long run if you learn how to blend these wax-based colors. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the mentioned ways of blending Prismacolors without a blender.

Maria Tanish

Hello World! Tanish here, a student of Fine Arts. Drawing was my passion from an early age but I also love to do some DIY projects to spend my leisure. Even I work as a writer, to share my knowledge about the ins and outs of drawing and the art industry itself. As an artist, I always wanna share my experiences with you all.

Recent Posts