If you’ve ever had problems filling paper holes, you’ll be interested in today’s question. A reader asked about filling in paper holes on Stonehenge paper. Here’s the question.
What is the best paper to use for blending colored pencils?
I have tried Stonehenge which takes a lot layers but I find it difficult to fill in the pin holes that the colored pencil doesn’t cover.
Thank you for your question, Dean.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one single paper that’s absolutely best for blending colored pencils all the time or for every artist.
So rather than talk about papers, let’s talk about filling in those paper holes on Stonehenge paper.
Filling in Paper Holes on Stonehenge Paper
Blending is all about smoothing out the color and filling the paper holes. You can do that on almost any paper. I use Stonehenge, Canson Mi-Teintes, Bristol Vellum, and Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper, just to name a few. The techniques vary, but I can fill the paper holes on each paper.
So there are ways to fill in the paper holes on Stonehenge paper, beginning with the pencils you use.
The Pencils You Use
The higher quality pencils you use, the easier it should be to blend, no matter what blending method you prefer. Better pencils put more pigment on the paper. The more pigment on the paper, the easier it is to blend, and the more paper holes you fill in.
I use a combination of Prismacolor and Faber-Castell Polychromos on Stonehenge with good results.
The Way You Draw
What I’m talking about here is the pressure you put on the pencil when you draw. If you draw with light pressure, you can put more layers on the paper. If you draw with heavy pressure, you limit the number of layers you can add.
That’s because you’re putting more binding agent as well as pigment on the paper. The binding agent fills the tooth of the paper without adding color, so it can hinder you. Especially if you use waxy pencils like Prismacolor.
I mentioned earlier the pencils I use on Stonehenge. I also have a very light hand and begin drawings with light pressure, and use the lightest possible pressure as long as possible.
Simple layering is the best—and easiest—way to fill in paper holes. At least for me. The more layers you add, the more the paper holes you fill in, especially when you keep your pencils sharp.
Use light pressure for as many layers as possible as described above. Gradually increase pressure as needed. Make each layer as smooth as you can.
Blending Between Layers
One thing that really helps me blend smooth color on Stonehenge is blending between layers. I use a variety of blending methods and tools depending on the result I want. Here are a few of my favorites.
Dry Blending with Paper Towel or Bath Tissue
Dry blending with paper towel or bath tissue is especially effective with Stonehenge paper because Stonehenge is so soft. It’s easy to do, too. Fold a piece of paper towel or bath tissue into a small square, then rub the part of the drawing you want to blend.
Blending with a Light Value Neutral Color to Blend
You can blend by blending with a light value neutral color. Use light or medium pressure to add a light color over a few layers of the other colors you’ve been using. The lighter color smooths out pencil strokes and unifies the previous layers of color.
I recommend a color similar to the color of your paper if you’re not using white paper. If you are using white paper, then a light gray is probably your best choice.
Burnishing is using heavy pressure to “press” the layers of color together. It’s best to burnish toward the end of the drawing process, because burnishing flattens the paper and makes it difficult to add more color.
I hesitate to recommend burnishing because it’s easy to scuff the surface of Stonehenge, even with a lot of color on the paper. But it is effective if you don’t burnish a lot and are careful.
My Best Tips for Filling in Paper Tooth on Stonehenge Paper
I get the feeling that Dean really likes drawing on Stonehenge paper, but is discouraged about the difficulty of filling in those pesky paper holes. If that’s the case, then these tips should help him.
They’ll help you, too, if you also have problems filling in paper holes. And they work on most art papers.
With enough layers or with the use of blending methods like burnishing and solvent blends, it is possible to fill in all the paper holes on Stonehenge and other papers.
It just takes more layers and more time.