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CONTÉ BLENDING TOOLS

Pastels, charcoal and graphite are great media for blending.  A blending tool can give shading a much smoother appearance.  

 “Tortillon” is of French origin and comes from “tortiller”, meaning “something twisted”, which describes how a tortillon is made. It’s basically a piece of tightly rolled paper. They are used by artists to smudge or blend marks made with charcoal, Conté carrés, pencils or other drawing utensils.  The earliest use of tortillons and blending stumps dates back to 1427.

Blending stumps are similar to a tortillon but are longer, more tightly wrapped and pointed at both ends. Tortillons produce slightly different texture than stumps when blending, and they are also hollow, as opposed to stumps being solid. By its use, gradations and half tones can be produced.

A putty eraser is a soft, pliable eraser that can easily be shaped and is used for erasing (removing) pencil, charcoal, pastel and similar dry mediums from an artwork. Being pliable makes a putty eraser particularly useful for erasing small areas as it can be shaped into a point.

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