I had read some about using solvents with colored pencils. But my experimenting with the Prismacolor colorless blending marker yielded less than satisfying results. And the other solvents I had read about have toxic levels that I prefer not to bring into my world. One site said to use them with an open window. Well, the seasonal opportunities for that where I live are very very small. And then I found Zest-It products. They have several products under this name including brush cleaners and oil paint mediums. But the one I am so excited about is the colored pencil blending medium. It is non toxic! Well, they suggest you not drink it. Oh. Well, it does have a refreshing orange aroma. But I don't think I'll be too tempted to drink it. The other solvents I have looked at leave a residue on your drawing creating a non archival piece. But according to the Zest-It representative, the Zest-It evaporates leaving nothing on your paper except colored pencil. How great is that?!
Blended with a paper blending stump.
I was very pleased with the results I got when using the Zest-It and found it to be much quicker than the slow tedious process of blending with the pencil blenders. And the icing on the cake was that my hand didn't even ache when I was through.
blended with the tortillion
blended with the paint brush
I also piddled with the Zest-It with soft pastels and oil pencils and found it to work quite well with them too.
Zest-It is something I will definitely be sharing with my Creative Pencils students. They will love how it helps them advance more quickly in their colored pencil skills.
The only draw back for the Zest-It is that it is a company based in the United Kingdom and they do not, as of yet, have a distributor in the US. (****See amended note below. It is available in the US now) The shipping I paid was a bit high. But I ordered enough to last quite a while and decided that in the long run, it was still a good buy even after the shipping. It took 2 weeks to get my package of Zest-It from England to Oklahoma. Perhaps if there is enough interest shown in the US by colored pencil artists, they will establish a distributor over here. That would be great! Let me know if you try it or have any experience with it. I'd love to see what you've done.
Want to learn more about drawing and creating your own pencil art? Try out my online pencil art learning community at Creative Pencils. We are having a great time there and my students are progressing so well. (Click on the Tulips in the sidebar for a workshop teaching the use of Zest-It)
****Note added 12-5-12 Zest-It is now available in the US. You can see more about that in my post here. Also I now have workshops at Creative Pencils that demonstrate and teach the use of Zest-It. Check it out. There is usually at least one workshop current that utilizes this helpful tool.
Wind and Honey Creations
Creative Pencils - Online Drawing Lessons