Product Reviews

Best Blenders for Colored Pencils?

If you want to skip the intro and check out the Blending product of your choice, just use the time stamps below to go to that chapter of the video.

Prismacolor Blender | Lyra Blender |Derwent Blender | Derwent Burnisher | Derwent Marker Pen | Caran D’Ache Blending Pencil | Caran D’Ache Blending Stick | Tombow Marker | Gamsol | Zest It | Holbein Meltz | Blending Stump

If you prefer to see a shorter video that summarises the tests then check out the video below

 

Often when you are blending with colored pencils you may find that some of the “tooth” of the paper is still showing despite all your hard work.   This is often shown as white specks on your coloring or a finish that is not as smooth as you would like.  Usually, I blend over the area in question with either another pencil or a white pencil.     Using a white pencil though tends to tint the colors you have already laid down.    This means that is you want to restore the color you need to reapply your pencils again.   Sometimes, you may find that you don’t wish to do that much work for the picture or part of the picture that is bothering you.   If that is the case, then there are plenty of products that you can use to shortcut the blending process and achieve a smooth look on your colored pencil work.

Sometimes pencils will blend out smoothly without any effort from an external product, but other times I need to find something to do the work for me.     It may be that because I have a weak wrist, from an injury that I just cannot keep applying layers of color ….or it may be that I have the attention span of a squirrel hopped up on red cordial and I’m keen to move on to other projects.

In my search to find the best blender for colored pencils,  I tested all of the blending products that I own with all 25 brands of pencils that I own.


To ensure that I have the right blending product for my colored pencil projects I tested the blenders on Createspace/KDP/Amazon print on demand paper (as a lot of my coloring books are printed on this paper).

I also tested the blending products on Canson Mi Teintes paper as I discovered when I reviewed the best types of paper to print my coloring pages on, this one was consistently good.

KDP Paper Summary

You can see my test of each blending product on Createspace/KDP/Amazon paper below

Blending product test on Createspace/KDP paper

KDP Paper Summary

Prismacolor Blender Pencil

My Prismacolor blender pencil worked well on most brands of pencil, however, there was some pigment dust from the Colleen and Derwent Coloursoft. pencils.

You can buy the Prismacolor blender pencil here

Lyra Splender Blender

The Lyra Splender Blender was a lot harder and long-lasting than my Prismacolor blender and required less sharpening for the whole testing process, holding its point for a long time.

It seems to me that the Lyra Blender blended the WH Smith pencils and Faber Castell Classic pencils a lot easier than my Prismacolor blender.

Derwent Blender

The Derwent Blender pencil feel bigger barrelled and thicker than previous blender pencils and take a moment to adjust to.   The blender feels hard and sturdy.   It seems to work really well and does a good job of blending different brands of pencils.  It worked especially well on the Colleen pencils.  Although it blended the Jane Davenport pencils the  Lyra Splender Blender had better color.

You can buy the Derwent Blender and Burnisher pack here 

Derwent Burnisher

The burnisher is used when you have completed coloring and blending.   It smoothes and gives a slight shine if you want.   Personally, I never notice much difference between the blender and the burnisher. The Colleen pencils looked slightly glossier after burnishing but otherwise, there was no real significant difference, in my view.

Derwent Blender Pens

The Derwent Blender pens come in a two-pack with a large and small nib.    They are alcohol-based and easy to apply and great if you have a hand injury as they are less strenuous to use than pencil based alternatives.  Using the pens makes blending and smoothing out your colored pencil work a lot faster (but you need to be mindful not to go out of the lines or smudge other parts of your picture).   Having a pen format for me gives me a good sense of control over the product with a result that is consistently good.

You can buy the Derwent Blender pens here

Caran D’Ache Pencil Blender

The pencil blender is a familiar shape and size and feels very comfortable in the hand.   The pencil worked well on the  Prismacolor Premier pencils, Holbein, Pablo, Coloursoft, and Colleen pencils. In my view, it was not as effective on the Faber Castell Polychromos and Jane Davenport pencils. It worked extremely well with the Tombow Irojiten.    I needed to do a little more work to get a good result blending the Staedtler Ergosft.   Although the WH Smith pencils were blended and smoothed with the pencil, in my view, the Derwent Marker Pen was far better with those pencils.  For me, the Caran D’Ache Blender pencil worked better on the Lyra pencils than the Lyra Splender Blender.   The pencil does tend to blunt a bit when blending and needed to be sharpened whereas the Lyra Splender Blender was far longer lasting.

The Caran D’Ache Pencil Blender has the same pigment/filler as the Caran D’Ache Stick Blender that has been available for many years.      As the pencil has a wood barrel it has less product and will not be as long-lasting as the stick.  However, the fact that it feels comfortable to hold is in a familiar format and has the ability to finely sharpen the point that makes it a favorite for me.

The Caran D’Ache Blender pencil is currently not being sold worldwide (I will update when it is). I purchased mine in Australia from here

Caran D’ache Stick Blender

The stick blender has the same product as the Caran D’Ache blender.     The blenders are available to purchase in a twin pack.   The product goes on easily and is sturdy but prone to breaking.   It blends well on most pencils and worked particularly well on the Faber Castell Classic.    The Jane Davenport pencils blended but not really well.


Many people may not like the sensation of holding this blender that does not have a casing but a protective coating.   It is also difficult to sharpen it to a fine point if you want to blend small details (and you are sharpening away product each time) but it is very long-lasting and good value.

You can buy the Caran D’Ache Stick Blenders here

Tombow Blender

The Tombow blender works very well with wax-based pencils like Tombow and Prismacolor.   Thin paper can pill or become damaged which is what happened to the Faber Castell Pollychromos.   The blender is water-based as opposed to the Derwent Marker pens which are alcohol-based.

Comparing the Derwent to the Tombow the Derwent seems to work better with more products on a range of papers and is easier to clean the nib.

Gamsol

Gamsol has quite a strong odor which may be unpleasant for some users.    It is a useful product which smoothes pencils out easily. It worked well with the Koh I-Noor Progresso pencils than other products previously tested.  Out of the products tested it was the easiest to use with the Jane Davenport pencils and smoothed out the surface.   It did not seem to work that well with the Crayola pencils and the Faber Castell Polychromos with pencil blending alternatives working better, in my opinion.

You can purchase Gamsol here

Zest It

A similar product to Gamsol without the unpleasant odor but a beautiful citrus fragrance.   Although it worked on the Faber Castell Polychromos it dulled the pigment but was more effective compared to the Gamsol.   It worked very well with the Faber Castell Classic pencils.    It seems like it removed pigment and vibrancy from the WH Smith pencils and the Felissimo pencils.

You can purchase Zest It here

Holbein Meltz

This product is very difficult to locate and appears to be out of stock completely at the time of writing. Although, I have successfully used this product in the past, on this test using the product was unsuccessful.     On some pencil swatches, it completely dissolved printer ink or moved it on the swatch causing it to muddy up.    Whilst it worked with the  Holbein pencils it removed pigment and other products were far more effective.    When used successfully it melts the pigment and produces a lovely watercolor effect.   For some. the unknown reason this does not happen during testing.

Paper Stump

Paper stumps are cheap to buy and can be purchased at most discount stores in a pack that contains multiple sizes.    The pigment can be removed by sanding with a sanding tool, sandpaper or an emery board.  Small stumps can be sharpened and then sanded to a point if needed.    The paper stump worked surprising well with most pencils with the exception of  Derwent Coloursoft, WH Smith, and Faber Castell Classic where other products were far more effective.

You can purchase Derwent Paper Blending stumps here

Canson Mi Teintes Paper Summary

The Canson Mi Teintes paper is a dual-sided paper with one side suitable for pastels and chalks and the other for colored pencils.   You can see how this paper performed when I tested all my pencils on a number of brands of paper here.

If you like to print out digital coloring pages and like to use a lot of layers with your coloring then you may like the Canson Mi Teintes paper for your coloring pages and projects.

Prismacolor Blender

The Prismacolor blender worked well on most of the pencils but was not as good with the Spectrum Noir pencils, WH Smith, and Faber Castell Classic pencils with some tooth still remaining.

You can buy the Prismacolor blender here

Lyra Splender Blender

The Lyra Splender Blender is a harder blender than the Prismacolor and far longer lasting.    It did not work as well with the  Black Widow pencils as on the other pencil brands.  On the whole most pencils blended well but not the Jane Davenport pencils.    The Lyra Splender Blender seemed to blend the WH Smith better than the Prismacolor blender.

Derwent Blender Pencil

The Derwent Blender seemed to produce a better result on the Prismacolor pencils compared to the  Derwent Coloursoft pencils.   The blender seemed a bit scratchy on the WH Smith and Jane Davenport pencils.

You can buy the Derwent Blender and Burnisher pack here

Derwent Burnisher Pencil

The Derwent Burnisher pencil shows more shine on the Canson Mi Teintes paper than it had on the KDP/Amazon paper.     It is noticeable with the Colleen colored pencils and a little with the Guang Hui pencils and Micador pencils.

You can buy the Derwent Blender and Burnisher in a pack here

Derwent Blender Pens

The Derwent Blender pens 

The Derwent Blender pens are an easy to use alcohol marker that has specifically been created to blend colored pencils.    The markers come in two sized nibs with a large and small nib to cover most areas.   They are far gentler on your hands and wrist if you suffer from injuries or health challenges.  You can blend out your colored pencil work, wait for it to dry and add more color and blend again if you want.   A smooth finish usually results from. using these marker blenders.

You should note that there is less control with the marker as it is a wet medium and it may bleed or seep into areas of your work that you may not want.   You do need to be careful to keep within the lines that you wish to blend.

The Derwent Blender pens worked well with most of the products with the exception of Jane Davenport pencils, which doesn’t seem to be as smooth as the other pencils tested.

You can buy the Derwent Blender Pens here 

Caran D’Ache Blender Pencil

The Caran D’Ache Blender Pencil works well on the Canson Mi Teintes paper.  The pencil feels strong and sturdy when you are holding it.

Most of the pencils blended with ease although the Staedtler Ergosoft took longer to blend out.   The Felissimo and Jane Davenport pencils did not produce as good of a result, in my opinion, as other pencil products.  On the Felissimo pencils, the blender felt too hard and it was not easy to blend smoothly.    The Jane Davenport pencils felt waxy after applying the blender pencil with the sensation that the blender was slithering over the swatch and sitting on top of the paper rather than smoothly blending.

The Caran D’Ache Blender pencil is currently not being sold worldwide (I will update when it is). I purchased mine in Australia from here

Caran D’Ache Blender Sticks

The Caran D’Ache Blender Sticks contain the same product as the Caran D’Ache Blender pencil.    The sticks are woodless without a barrel casing, but with a protective coating.  The Caran D’Ache Blender works well with most colored pencils.    It does take a little longer to blend the Spectrum Noir colored pencils.   The  WH Smith and Jane Davenport colored pencils needed more work to blend and the final result was not as good as other products tested, in my opinion.

The Caran D’Ache blender sticks are sold in a twin pack.    The sticks are extremely long-lasting and quite good value, in my opinion.   You can buy the Caran D’Ache Blender sticks here 

Tombow Blender

The Tombow Blender Marker can be purchased separately or as part of the set of Tombow markers.    The marker is waterbased and can also be used with your water-activated products like Inktense pencils.

Using the Tombow Blender marker with the Faber Castell Polychromos produced some slight pilling on the Canson Mi Teintes paper.

It did not blend/dissolve well on the Spectrum Noir pencils, the Colleen colored pencils or the Shpirrer Farber colored pencils.

When used with the Muji colored pencils it tended to muddy the colors rather than blend.  Using to blend the Faber Castell Classic colored pencils produced an average result with other products being more effective, in my opinion.  It required some work on my part to blend the Progresso pencils.  Blending the Jane Davenport pencils produced a disappointing speckled finish with a below-average result.

The marker worked well with wax-based pencils like the Tombow Recycled pencils and the Prismacolor, Prismacolor Scholar pencils.

You can purchase the Tombow Colorless Blender here

Gamsol

Gamsol did not dissolve that well on the Faber Castell Polychromos or on the Spectrum Noir colored pencils.    You do need to be careful with this wet medium as it may dissolve the line art ink on your paper.  The result when using on the Marco Raffine pencils was not that good in my opinion when compared with other products.    The Faber Castell Classic pencils became muted when the Gamsol was applied.     Gamsol worked well with other pencils but it does have a strong odor and may not be suitable for all users.

You can purchase Gamsol here

Zest It

Zest It is similar to Gamsol but has a pleasant citrus odor.   The product worked well with the Faber Castell Classic colored pencils blending them smoothly.   Although they blended the Jane Davenport pencils they discolored the swatch.      Although Zest It blended out the Faber Castell Polychromo pencils, in my opinion, the blending produced a better result with a blender pencil. Zest It worked well with most other pencils and is more suitable for colorists that are sensitive to chemical odors and prefer a wet medium.

You can purchase Zest It here

Holbein Meltz

Holbein Meltz is designed to work with the Holbein pencils and produce a watercolor type effect.   Unfortunately, in this test on the Canson Mi Teintes paper the product either removed the pigment or did not make a noticeable blending difference.   In some instances, it felt that rather than melting the pigment it was scraping over it.

The Holbein Meltz worked on the Prismacolor Scholar pencils, Prismacolor, Crayola, and Holbein.  However, in my opinion, a better result could be obtained by using other products that are more readily available and can be used with more pencil brands effectively.

Holbein Meltz is currently unavailable for sale.

Blending Stumps

The paper stumps worked surprisingly well with most pencil brands.   The Spectrum Noir, Faber Castell Classic, WH Smith, and Crayola pencils required a little more effort when using the dry stump to blend out smoothly.

The Jane Davenport required a lot of hard work and effort to blend the swatch which may actually damage the paper if it was done for any length of time.

You can buy blending stumps at most discount art supplies or buy online here

Secret Garden Johanna Basford Paper Test (UK edition)

All of the pencils were used to color various elements in the UK edition of Secret Garden with different blending products tested on the flowers.

The Prismacolor pencils and corresponding blender worked well on the paper but the color could go a little streaky if you apply, blend and reapply a number of times.

Using the Lyra Splender Blender on the Lyra pencils produced a smooth result however it appears that the Prismacolor blender produced a smoother result with more vibrancy in the color.


The Derwent Blender was initially used with the Coloursoft pencils although it worked and softened the lines the final result was somewhat splotchy.    It was also tested with the Pablo pencils which softened the pencil strokes.     The Derwent Blender in Secret Garden seemed to work better with non-Derwent brands of pencil.   Adding the Derwent Burnisher with the Derwent Blender and Colleen pencils did not make a noticeable change in gloss, in my view.

The Derwent Blender pens smoothed out the Tombow Recycled pencils but not as much as I would hope.    The best result with the Tombow Marker was using it with the  Micador colored pencils where it worked easily dissolving all the scratchy marks from the budget pencils.

Caran D’Ache Pencil Blender and Sticks worked well in Secret Garden particularly with budget pencils like WH Smith.

Tombow Blender blended the Prismacolor Scholar colored pencils easily, smoothing and softening pencil marks.

Gamsol worked well with the Shpirrer Farben colored pencils smoothing the pencils out.

Zest It worked well with the Progresso pencils smoothing out and softening the lines.

Although the Holbein Meltz produced a watercolor type effect with the blue flower colored in Holbein Meltz the result was a little scratchy and other products performed better.

The blending stump worked reasonably well with most pencil brands except Staedtler Ergosoft and Crayola colored pencils.

Secret Garden Coloring Book

 

Japanese Coloring Book Paper Test

The paper in the Japanese coloring book was a dream to work with and really most pencils did not require a blending product.

Using the Derwent Blender Pens with the Progresso pencils really improved the initial grainy appearance and considerably smoothed the flower out.

 

 

Happy coloring x

Lea

About the author

coloringqueen

I'm Lea and I love everything to do with coloring! If it is a coloring book, a poster or even a bookmark that you can color in, I'm all over it. Of course, a girl has to have some pencils, markers, gelly rolls, pastels and what not to make those pictures pretty and I love those as well.

Whilst my coloring style lacks skill, I am enthusiastic and focused on enjoying the moment and having fun.

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