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Zest-it with Parchment, Ink and Coloured Pencils
zest-it register trade mark


How to use Zest-it Parchment Blend to blend Coloured Pencils for Parchment work,
with tips and techniques for using dip pens and ink.

coloured pencil applied to parchment

Applying pencil

Apply Coloured Pencil to the Parchment.

The coloured pencils used through out these examples were Luminance by Caran d'Ache, they are lightfast and have a waxy stripe. (You could also use Prismacolor, Karisma, Polychromos, Derwent; Drawing, Artist and Coloursoft).
On the smoother side of the parchment, 'Rouge' coloured pencil was applied in smooth diagonal strokes. Keep all the pencil strokes going in the same direction, this gives a neater look to the coloured area.
When applying, try to keep the thickness of the pencil colour even all over the area, this gives a smoother finished result.

Blending the Coloured Pencil.

On Parchment paper I prefer to blend the coloured pencil using a brush, to control the amount of Zest-it® Parchment Blend I pick up on the brush, I've used the pre-impregnated Zest-it® Blending Sponge. Press the brush onto the sponge surface and a small amount will be taken up by the brush.

Using brush strokes in the same direction as the pencil was applied, blend the coloured pencil. It's better to work small area's at a time, have a cloth or kitchen towel handy to wipe the tip of the brush, this also keeps the work smooth and the brush clean, which in turn keeps the sponge cleaner.

When using a brush for blending work it's best not to wash it until you change colour or have finished the work. You may wonder why? A clean brush will remove colour from your work and this is not the object of the exercise! Although this is shown on Parchment it works just as well on paper.

Tortillions, blending stumps and cotton buds also work extremely well. Press the tip of the tortillion, stump or bud onto the surface of the sponge to dampen it and with gentle pressure in a circular motion blend the applied coloured pencil. Excellent for detail and small areas. More pencil can be added whilst the paper is still damp, gentle pencil pressure, then blend again.

Tortillions and Blending stumps can be found here at J and T's Art and Calligraphy and Zest-it® Parchment Blend on this link.
Copyright © Jacqui Blackman 2005

(Please note: We don't take credit for the original idea of using Zest-it® via a sponge, we were asked to solve a problem for a parchment craft teacher and the Zest-it® Blending Sponge was the result.)

Blending Sponge Zest-it blending sponge

Blending the pencil
brush blending the colored pencil

tortillions for blending the coloured pencil

Blending Stumps
blending stumps for colored pencil techniques

Click the link for blending oil pastels on parchment by Karen Fitzpatrick.

coloured pencil on the back of parchment
Both sides of the parchment
coloured pencil parchment

The degree of blended colour.

The Zest-it will not only blend the colour, it will also allow you to spread it further. The images left show the progress of blending and spreading the applied colour pencil. Some areas have been left with a lot of pencil, others have been left with very little. The 'squiggle' below the main area is where I emptied the build-up of colour from the tips of the bristles.

The amount the pencil is blended, is a matter of personal choice, if you wish less pencil just brush it and spread it further. This amount would be enough to cover the whole of the oblong area in the image, with a delicate colour.

The top image is the original side the pencil was applied to (the wrong side), the bottom image is the reverse (the right side).

If you wish to cover just small areas with colour, wipe the bristles of a small round brush across the point of the pencil to pick up colour and apply to the area.

Inking the drawing.

I trained as a Draughtswoman, part of that training involved knowing and being proficient with all types of surfaces and forms of ink work, including the dip pen nib. I often do ink work at the art shows we attend, most of the questions I get asked are 'how do you get fine ink lines on parchment and what is the best nib to use'?

Most people seem to use needle pointed Mapping nibs on their parchment, but Mapping nibs are very delicate and were designed to easily form fine and wide lines, that indicated land features, when held in a normal hand writing style.

At shows I offer people the chance to try out Joseph Gillott Drawing nibs, these are needle point nibs that give the very best fine lines. 170 for a light hand; 303 for a normal hand and 404 for a heavy hand, all with the pen held normally. After a little instruction about hand pressure, almost everyone found them easy to use, they achieved fine lines and felt happier about inking their parchment.

I personally prefer to see expressive ink lines, so in inking the examples on the right I have used thick and thin lines. I've used Royal Gold Metal Ink by Robersons, which is a slightly thicker ink than normal and a Gillott 303 drawing nib. This thicker ink allows the finish to have a slightly raised 3D effect, which gives it a different look.

The dip pen nib is held in a normal handwriting hold, thick and thin lines are obtained by the amount of pressure exerted by the hand on the nib tip. Fine lines are achieved by resting the nib on the surface, without undue pressure, the needle point of the nib is designed to leave a thin line of ink behind.

Expert, knowledgeable and experienced victorian steel nib makers like Joseph Gillott; William Mitchell; Hinks Wells; Leonardt; I D Belcher; E S Perry and G W Hughes made nibs for every conceivable application. Copying; sketching; china; drawing; writing; lithograph; mapping; shorthand; artists; school and ledger were the main nibs, each tailored for a specific trade, surface or style of writing. All were made for use with a normal hand hold, not held like a technical pen perpendicular to the surface. The needle point nibs produce lines best in two ways, either pull towards you or at a slight angle moving sideways.

For anyone having problems using a dip pen nib for inking their parchment, I hope the information above is helpful.

Copyright © Jacqui Blackman 2005

For help with cleaning your nibs try Dip Pen Nib Cleaner

inking with gold ink
Inking the drawing
with Gold ink

thick and thin ink lines

using both thick and thin lines.

ink lines

Ink coloured background with Gold ink outline.

tree drawing with gillott 303 and ink

Fine lines obtained using a Gillott 303

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Suitability for Use
The information contained in this document is furnished without warranty of any kind. Whilst every care is taken to maintain the highest standards of quality, J. & T. Blackman Ltd. whish to make it clearly understood that it is the users responsibility to ensure that the goods are suitable for his or her own particular requirements. In no circumstances can claims be entertained for the value of work alleged to be spoilt by the use of a product which proves unsatisfactory, the makers liability being confined to replacement of any product proved to be defective in respect of materials or workmanship.