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HOW TO USE TOMBOW’S COLORLESS BLENDER PEN LIKE A PRO
If you’ve been wondering what that clear pen is in your packs of Tombow Dual Brush Pens, or if you’ve used it already but feel you aren’t successful with using it, then this blog post is for you! The Colorless Blender Pen is one of my favorite tools to use. If you don’t know already, I LOVE blending with my Tombows! It’s my absolute favorite way to create. I’ve been creating blending pieces for over 2 years now and have learned so much since I started. One of the many things I’ve learned is there are quite a few ways to use this magical pen! I may not cover some of those ways here today, but I will be showing you the ways I use it for my lettering and illustrations, and how you can become a pro at using it too! So let’s get to it!
LIKE A PRO - PAPER MATTERS!
Probably the most important thing to know when using this pen is that your paper choice does matter! I’ve tried Marker, Bristol, Watercolor and Mixed Media paper. Out of all these, I’ve found the Strathmore Mixed Media Paper to be the best choice, especially with Tombow pens. They can fray if you do not use the right kind of paper. The Strathmore Mixed Media Paper is very smooth and won’t damage those precious pens!
LIKE A PRO - CREATE SMOOTHER TRANSITIONS
This is the way I use the Colorless Blender the most in my artwork. I have found using this technique helps soften the transition into different colors much more effectively. There are some pieces I create where I will use a 2 or 3 color blend and not use the Colorless Blender at all because the transition came out the way I wanted. But there are plenty of times where I blend colors and I need a little extra help from the Colorless Blender. Let’s look at an example:
Using 451 Sky Blue I lettered a lowercase t.
Then using 493 Reflex Blue I added a little color to the top. Using 451 I pulled the darker color down to blend in. In order to make it look like a smooth transition I had to bring the color all the way down to fill in the letter. Because 451 is such a light color, adding more of it will actually change the color of your first layer. So you’ll no longer have that original Sky Blue left.
Let’s see how this will look using the Colorless Blender. Below I lettered out a lowercase t using the same 451 Sky Blue. Then I added the 493 Reflex Blue to the top. I still used 451 Sky Blue to blend the darker color down just a bit then stopped.
Now taking the Colorless Blender I used quick flicks downward to blend in where I stopped from the last step. This helped me to stop blending about halfway down the letter, leaving the original Sky Blue color intact.
This is a great way to use the Colorless Blender if you need to get the color to stop short at a certain place in your lettering. Below you can see the difference between the two. Of course just using the 2 colors without the Colorless Blender will give you beautiful results. However if you’d like more control over where your blending starts/stops, using the Colorless Blender will help you achieve that!
Here’s a couple examples of finished pieces where I used the Colorless Blender to smooth out the transition of colors. Instead of blending from the top down, I placed the colors in random spots on each letter and used the Colorless Blender to blend them in.
LIKE A PRO - CREATE NEW COLORS!
Did you know you can create new colors from your Dual Brush Collection using the Colorless Blender? There may be 108 colors in the set, but new colors can be created, and it’s really easy! For this Like a Pro technique, you’ll need Tombow’s Blending Palette (or a ceramic dish or sandwich bag) and 2 Dual Brush Pen colors. Practice combining colors just to see what happens. Even colors you think wouldn’t go together, try blending them anyways. You never know what you can create unless you try! Some may turn out muddy, but hey, there is a lot of fun to be had in this process! You can even create a journal page or tracker sheet to jot down the color combinations you love the most. This will be a great reference for you down the road!
To show you this Like a Pro technique, I’m using 2 of my favorite color combinations: Dual Brush Pens 725 Rhodamine Red and 452 Process Blue. Scribble the ink from both pens onto the Blending Palette.
Next, use the Colorless Blender to combine both colors together directly on the Blending Palette.
Then letter out your word or phrase. These 2 colors together create a pretty purply-pink color!
LIKE A PRO - ADD DEPTH TO ILLUSTRATIONS
Using the Colorless Blender in my illustrations is another way I love using this pen. Adding depth and detail is easily achievable. Here’s a quick example to show you how:
I started out by drawing a floral illustration using the Tombow MONO Drawing Pen 03. Then using 620 Lilac, I colored in my flower as the base color. Next using 569 Jet Blue, I added a line of color to one edge of each petal.
Using the Colorless Blender, I blended in the Jet Blue quickly into the Lilac color, flicking the tip in a right to left motion. Here’s a BIG TIP: These darker colors can saturate your blending pen very quickly so don’t be afraid to scribble off ALL the ink onto an extra sheet of mixed media paper. This trick makes a HUGE difference!
Here’s what the finished flower looks like. I love adding even more detail to my florals with the MONO Drawing Pen 01.
Practice this technique in a bunch of illustrations. Think of using a darker color and the Colorless Blender to add shadows and depth to what you’re drawing.
Here’s another way to use the Colorless Blender to add subtle depth. This technique is best if you want more control over how much color is being added to your illustration:
Here I drew a cactus using the MONO Drawing Pen 03. I colored it in using Dual Brush Pen 173 Willow Green. Then using the Blending Palette I scribbled ink from Dual Brush Pen 177 Dark Jade onto it. Using the Colorless Blender I picked up just a little bit of color from the blending palette and applied it to the top of my cactus sections to add a shadow. Even with picking up just a bit of ink, I had to scribble most of it off onto an extra piece of paper. I wanted a more subtle shadow that didn’t overtake the cactus.
Here’s what it looked like once all the shadow was added.
I then gave more details to it by using the MONO Drawing Pen 01.
LIKE A PRO - OMBRE LETTERING
This is a very easy technique! Simply scribble ink from any color Dual Brush Pen onto the Blending Palette. Then using the Colorless Blender, scribble it over the color picking up some of the ink. Then letter out your word or phrase. You’ll notice as you letter it transitions on its own from dark to light giving an ombre look!
LIKE A PRO - CLEANING THE PEN!
You’ll notice when using this pen that the tip will stain. That’s perfectly normal and doesn’t mean you’ve ruined the pen. When you are done creating, simply scribble off any ink remaining on the pen onto an extra piece of paper then cap it and you’re done! It is self cleaning so you have nothing to worry about! It really is a magical pen!
ARE YOU READY TO BECOME A PRO?
Now that you know all the amazing ways you can use this pen, you have to remember one more very important thing: PRACTICE! Becoming a pro at something can take time, so keep practicing and before you know it you’ll see incredible results!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask away. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you try any of these techniques, I’d love to cheer you on!
Have fun becoming a pro!!!
Till next time,
For more blending fun check out these posts below: