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Re: Blending values


From: Maggie White (mwhiteaz_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Sep 11 2002 - 18:57:38 PDT

> Jim Robinson wrote:
> I have a question for all who teach shading using a range of values.
> Do you allow students to blend only with the different pencils or do
> you allow them to use tortillions, tissues, fingers, etc.?

My students learn hatching, cross-hatching, and tonal techniques. They
use harder-lead pencils for the two linear techniques, and there's no
smudging; the lines must show. For tonal they use the softer-lead
pencils, and yes, they do use tortillons. I show them how to use very
light pressure to create lines that are touching each other, then create
darker values by adding more light layers on top. They use the
tortillons in tiny circles to smoothly blend the lines together so they
no longer show. And no, I don't think it's "cheating." Like Ken says,
these tools were made for that purpose. The trick is to add light
successive layers to darken the values. The tortillon picks up graphite
so they need to start in the lighter areas before going on to the darker

I read a while back, I think in The Artist's Magazine, to use white felt
instead of tortillons. I'm going to try that this year. At least felt
pads won't look so much like joints ;)