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Sunday, 2 March 2014

Market Research - Pencil Blenders

Morning all.  The things I do for you!  Here is the contrast and compare post I had promised you - blame the delay on a certain UK postal delivery service.

I stamped three of the same image (Hobbycraft Bow stamp) onto a sheet of Rymans Bright White Coated Card and coloured with Polychromos pencils.  I was deliberately rough and uneven with the colouring.  I then used three different types of blender with a tortillon (single ended paper stamp), using a clean one for each image.

The following opinions are entirely mine based on today's experiment.  You may of course totally disagree with what I think, and that is fine with me.

No 1 Johnson's Baby Oil
The better smelling of the three, if you like sniffing babies.  I was slightly concerned that it would leave an oily residue but, with it being a mineral oil, although more dilute, it evaporated away nicely.  It wasn't as effective at moving the colour around but it did an ok job.  Would be fine for use on practice pieces.

No 2 Zest-It Pencil Blender
This is the one that held up the experiment (not sure if it was the seller or the postal service) but I bought a small bottle of Zest-It Pencil Blender and a pre-loaded Sponge Pot.  If you like oranges, then you will be ok working with this.  It is quite citrusy and I did sneeze a few times.  Having said that, with this and the baby oil, despite the added perfumes, you can still tell it is a solvent.  Anyhoo, this one applied nicely, did not feel greasy and blended the Polychromos pretty smoothly.  Great for everyday use.

No 3 Winsor & Newton Sansoder (Gamsol in the US)
This one is the granddaddy of blenders and is used by oil-paint artists.  It says Low Odour on the bottle, but it was the dreadful smell that pushed me towards the other two products for trial, and the fact that it was giving me a splitting headache.  Use in a well ventilated room!!  Sansodor does was it was designed for, and is in my opinion the most effective blender for the best end result.

Because of the problems with headaches that Sansodor caused, I will be using Zest-It Pencil Blender from now on.  But a word of caution, even though Zest-It carries the tag line Safe Solutions For Artists on the bottle, turn it around and read the back label - it ain't all that safe!  Carries the same health warnings as the Sansodor.  Mind you, even the baby oil carries warnings too.  Simplest solution is to work near an open window and avoid naked flames!

Be back laters with a card
Squirrel xx


Debbie said...

Wow Great stuff S.
I did not get on with the pencils that used Sansador as a blender and i sold them of E bay, my colouring is not that good. Dx

Annette said...

I must say that I can't really tell the difference in the pictures between the three. Perhaps it shows the baby oil one does not move the colour as much like you say, but they all look fab. I don't use the pencils enough to have a problem (still hopping between copics and DI reinkers) and only use the pencils when I go away and can't bear to be away from crafting (they're the only ones that travel economically space wise and won't leak onto my clothes!), But overall, you'll make a fab job with the zest it and it's much better if it doesn't give you the headaches.

Just don't do any crafting by candlelight!

Faith A said...

All double dutch to me, but beautiful bows LOL.

no wonder I'm a digi girl LOL.

Faye Wynn-Jones said...

Brilliant... And thanks xx

Kat W said...

Well I don't use pencils but thought I'd throw in my opinion anyway...they all look fab but I agree that the bottom two have subtly better blending from light to dark. In which case it's a no brainer to go for the one that doesn't give you a headache :-)
Big hugs, Kat xx

Stamps and Paper said...

HI Squirrel...interesting experiment like you I tried different things bit I like Sansodor the best I found it blended my polychromos pencils beautifully....


Jane Savage said...

Wow, thank you for that, Squirrel. Great test (sorry about the headaches). I currently use a low-odour mineral spirit (not branded) that I get from Hobbycraft and it really is low odour! I was toying with the idea of using baby oil though (easier to get hold of) and now, thanks to you, I will give it a go. xx

Princess Judy Palmer said...

Well, now I'm curious what warnings are on baby oil. I mean, shouldn't it be safe enough to use on... um... babies??!

I tried to find my gamsol stuff to take a whiff of it. I don't remember an odor and I'm fairy odor sensitive (odd considering I can't actually smell).

Thank you for your extensive product research! We appreciate you and all you do for us!

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