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