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Shennaniah
01-12-2011, 06:06 AM
What's the difference between blending and burnishing?

Now, before you think "that's a dumb question", let me say that I do know their definitions and the theoretical difference between the two.

But in practice, there seems to be little distinction. When I use a colorless blender to blend, the paper and colors also get burnished. And when I burnish, the colors get blended. In fact, both my blending and burnishing seem to produce pretty much the same result. (Note: by "blending", I don't mean layering colors and/or having them fade into each other. I talking about applying a colorless blender.)

Am I doing something wrong?
Or is this how it's supposed to be? (In which case I would then ask why Derwent has separate pencils for burnishing and colorless blending.)

Thanks!

ocmd123
01-12-2011, 07:50 AM
Using a coloroless blender will almost always result in a burnished finish. Because you generally need to use a good bit of pressure for it to do its job, that usually results in squashing down the tooth of the paper, which is really all burnishing is. Rely on light layering of colors to do most of your blending for you. If you apply enough layers, or use a heavy hand, the surface will burnish doing that, as well, given some time, as the tooth of the paper will be completely covered. The colorless blenders are best used as a last step, after you have layered all of the color you plan to layer.
So, to answer your specific question..........in my mind, blending is what happens when colors are layered and naturally blend through the layering process. Burnishing, while it does blend colors, will result in smoothing out the tooth of the paper, making it difficult to apply additional layers. Make sense?

faula
01-12-2011, 07:51 AM
a colorless blender burnishes, its not really blending the colours together. your not doing anything wrong :) no idea why derwent has the 2 pencils, seems a little pointless if they do they same thing

pinkrybns
01-12-2011, 08:38 AM
If I may interject here...

It is good to note that there are colorless blender pencils and there are colorless blender markers - they are very different animals.

The colorless blender markers act like solvents (they are all alcohol based) and will blend without leaving any waxy build-up - more like our traditional understanding of the word "blend".
You do need a lot of color layers down first for the markers to do what they are supposed to do and you will probably have to add more color on top after using them - unless you like the resulting look.
They do not "burnish".

The colorless blender pencils are simply a colorless wax pencil.
When you "blend" with these you are just adding more wax on top of what you may already have done with the colored pencil - that is, providing you are using the brands of cp's that are wax based.
If you're using the brands of cp's that are oil based, you will still be adding a waxy layer with the blender pencil because all colorelss blender pencils contain wax.

You can blend with a colorless blender pencil and not be burnishing.
It depends on how much pressure you apply and how many times you go over an area with the blender pencil.
I have used them in this way for tiny areas of color near an edge or a tight space ... and I was not burnishing.

"Burnishing" seems to be a disputed term for some cp'ers - though it does mean to make something smooth or bring up a shine/slick surface.
This is how I was taught in art college and what I understand the term to mean.

Some cp'ers like the look of "heavy burnishing" - the end result is very slick, very smooth looking.
Heavy burnishing is normally done at the very end of a piece and would be your last layer or layers. You also need a lot of layers of color down first to achieve the "look".
People who like the look of heavy burnishing use either a colorless blender pencil, or more often than not, a white wax-based pencil (though white will tend to dull down the colors being "burnished" or make a color more pastel-like).
The back of a spoon can also be used to heavy burnish, and obviously this would have to be done at the very end of a piece as you'd be pusing down the tooth of the paper (what's left of it..lol).
It's an individual preferrence whether or not to "heavy burnish" - some do, some don't - doesn't matter either way.

Burnishing will also occur naturally if you are building up a lot of layers while working an area, no matter what colors you use and even if you don't use the blender pencils.
It's a result of pressure and wax build up in so many layers.

I don't have the Derwent blender pencils (no particular reason for not having them, just don't have them).
When I use blender pencils, I use the Prismacolor Colorless Blender pencil and Lyra Rembrandt Splender Blender pencil.

Are the Derwent products, that you mentioned, actually the same thing?
Or is one a marker of some kind? Only asking because I don't have them.

Tom Perry
01-12-2011, 10:03 AM
Judy,

The Derwent blender is softer than their burnisher. I tend to use the blender with Coloursoft and the burnisher with the Artist or Studio pencils.

Shennaniah,

I've seen burnish and blend used interchangeably in a lot of different writings on colored pencil but I think of burnishing as compressing the tooth or fiber of the paper to get rid of any unwanted white flecks in the paper.

Using colorless wax or oil blender will indeed blend color but the effects can be fairly subtle depending on the amount of medium on the surface. Lots of folks, myself included, use the colorless blender to soften a hard line.

Another use is as a resist for further media application. :wink2:

pinkrybns
01-12-2011, 10:19 AM
Tom,
So that Derwent blender is still a colorless pencil, correct?
In which case it's still wax-based..maybe less wax in it, but more clay (which is the binder in the Coloursofts), than their other one.

ElaineV
01-12-2011, 10:39 AM
Burnishing:
I think of burnishing (no matter if it's done with a colorless wax pencil, or a pencil of another color) is to completely fill the paper tooth and create a shiny surface.

If there are a few white specks of paper left in the area, burnishing can fill them in -- it there is a great amount of white showing, sometimes burnishing blends a bit, but still leaves white showing. It's a matter of how much color before burnishing.

Blending:
Blending to me is a different matter entirely. I do it often. I apply a light layer of color and "smear it out", "blend it" over a greater area with a rubber blenders, stencil brush, and such. The paper doesn't have to be saturated with color and often, more color can be applied to the blended area.

Blending can also be done with solvents (melts the CP and it spreads out a bit to fill more white specks). This doesn't have to fill the tooth of the paper either.

When I work, blending doesn't fill the tooth of the paper, burnishing does.

Tom Perry
01-12-2011, 04:14 PM
Tom,
So that Derwent blender is still a colorless pencil, correct?
In which case it's still wax-based..maybe less wax in it, but more clay (which is the binder in the Coloursofts), than their other one.

Judy,

The blender feels like the Coulorsoft to me. The burnisher feels more like the Artists or Studio pencils.

aquabone
01-12-2011, 10:02 PM
Shennaniah-

not a dumb question! i also have the blender/burnisher set and i was having similar thoughts while using the colorless blender... so for cp beginners like me- this thread is informative.

thanks.
aquabone.

Shennaniah
01-13-2011, 05:43 AM
Okay, so let's see...

Burnishing and blending can be, and are, effected simultaneously if you use harder pressure on your layers...
But if you use a colorless blender with light enough pressure, you can blend without burnishing.
Derwent makes blending and burnishing pencils in order to fool novices like me into paying twice for essentially the same tool. Jk! :lol:More or less correct?

I know there was a lot more great stuff that was covered in this thread, but that's the main thing I wanted to find out. Not that I didn't learn more along the way though! Thanks for all the replies!

Another related question:
I've read a couple of times, in different places and from different people, that you can apply a few layers, burnish, apply more layers, burnish, and keep repeating until the desired result is achieved. But since burnishing flattens the paper's tooth, there's only so much more you can apply on top of that (at least in my experience). If you burnish and layer and burnish and layer, then the pigment starts to slide around and clump up in blobs. How do they do it? :confused:

aquabone-
Glad you're finding this thread helpful too! :)

pinkrybns
01-13-2011, 07:20 AM
Derwent makes blending and burnishing pencils in order to fool novices like me into paying twice for essentially the same tool. Jk! :lol: Seems that way, doesn't it?! ;) :lol:
Since I don't have the Derwent blenders/burnishers, whatever you want to call them, I probably shouldn't stand in judgement of the products. :p
I do, though, have a full set of the Derwent Coloursofts - just didn't feel the need for the blender pencils since I have enough of the other brands and I use blender pencils so infrequently.Another related question:
I've read a couple of times, in different places and from different people, that you can apply a few layers, burnish, apply more layers, burnish, and keep repeating until the desired result is achieved. But since burnishing flattens the paper's tooth, there's only so much more you can apply on top of that (at least in my experience). If you burnish and layer and burnish and layer, then the pigment starts to slide around and clump up in blobs. How do they do it? :confused: They are most likley not applying very heavy pressure, so they don't destroy all the tooth of the paper. In that way, you could use the colorless blender pencil between layers.