Carrie L. Lewis, Artist & Teacher

Helping You Create Art You Can be Proud Of

On EmptyEasel: How to Blend Colored Pencil with Rubbing Alcohol

In this article written for EmptyEasel, I describe three ways to blend colored pencil with rubbing alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is a great solvent colored pencils. It breaks down the wax binder in most colored pencils and allows the pigments to blend more like paint. It’s also wonderful for restoring the paper’s tooth. When compared to other available solvents, it’s much less toxic and much more accessible.

I use rubbing alcohol in three main ways. Read the full article.


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  1. Da Lena

    Does it matter what percentage of rubbing alcohol is used? I have 99% here and the color is stripped right off the page…

    • Da Lena,

      The higher the percentage, the more risk involved. I generally use a rubbing alcohol that’s 70% alcohol. That’s strong enough to dissolve the wax without removing the color.

      Also, be certain that you’re using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) and not a wood alcohol. Wood alcohol is much stronger and is also toxic.

      How heavily did you layer the color you blended? Were you blending a lot of color or a light application of color? That might make a difference, too.

      Can you attach a picture?

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