Matthew Archambault: How To Blend Your Pencil Drawing With A Bristle Brush

Beginner, Drawing, Intermediate, Pencil | 23 Sep, 2012

Pencil and sketch artist Matthew Archambault teaches you in this concise pencil drawing tutorial a different and less conventional way to blend your sketches by introducing the use of a large bristle brush.

With a pre drawn sketch already in place he explains why he doesn’t particularly like the orthodox use of the blending stump which most artists tend to use because during the smudging procedure you tend to get an almost metallic and silvery finish which if overdone can detract from the natural qualities of the pencil’s texture and the drawings overall presence. The pencil he has selected to use in this tutorial is a Col-erase by Prismacolor and the paper which he is drawing on is a slightly textured regular white 70 lb sheet.

The reason for using the 4 inch flat bristle brush for blending works on two levels; firstly when you use your eraser on the drawing it produces dead shavings so it is easy to just brush them away without jeopardising the drawing which can quite easily happen with your hand, and secondly the brush allows you to blend a variety of tones into each other creating a very natural transition which then allows you do go in and draw with your kneaded eraser creating highlights which are valuable to your pencil sketch.

And lastly he talks about how the brush creates a loose and natural texture which you really cannot imitate with the likes of a blending stump or your fingers. So with all this advice taken on board you should be able to progress one step closer to a more realistic pencil drawing.

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    1. This is really interesting. I’ll definitely try this! I’ve always used tissues to blend. Fingers have so much oil that the drawing always comes out smudgy and disgusting looking. I’m not a huge fan of blending pencils, either. Haha

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    2. The ‘t’ in bristle is silent for goodness’ sake.I agree that blending stumps give quite a nasty effect when used for blending, but the very small ones are excellent for softening small details. You just have to know how to use them.

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    3. What I dislike (very much) about all of the vids from you that I’ve seen, is that you don’t really show us how you, personally, draw. Instead, we see a finished, to mostly finished work, which makes me skeptical about your actual ability to draw.

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    4. What I dislike (very much) about all of the vids from you that I’ve seen, is that you don’t really show us how you, personally, draw. Instead, we see a finished, to mostly finished work, which makes me skeptical about your actual ability to draw.

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    5. Well, normal erasers are more straight forward, they remove medium from the paper and they leave shavings behind. Kneaded erasers are like a rubbery clay that you knead with your fingers when you use. They also do not leave shavings on the paper when you use them, instead the surface of the eraser gets “loaded” with the medium and they stop lifting it off the paper. Then you can use the loaded surface to blend your tones if you want. In other words they can also move the medium around the paper.

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