Blending Technique

As it says, this is about blending the tones to form a uniform gradient. This technique requires a flawless Toning technique. If yours is not quite there yet, I suggest you keep working at it. This is also the culminating point of the Absolute Style. You master this technique and the rest is a piece of cake. Well, maybe not. Flower: blending.

It is time to resize the Shades and Highlights areas to their proper proportions and eliminate visible lines. Not the easiest part of drawing, I warn you. It is very possible that this drawing will get ruined, so I hope you followed my advice and kept it simple.

Blending may sound simple at first. It did to me, until I learned better. There is more to this, than simply using a paper-pencil or a Tortillon. Once the lines are gone, the Blending will have to define the edges, the shapes, the contrast between different parts of the drawing. This is where the SMALLER and BIGGER areas come into play. That small difference will allow you to put the crucial elements which will either make or break the illusion of 3D. Intimidating isn't it?

In order to get the best results, you must first understand how Shades & Highlights coexist on paper and define an object. This example will explain what I mean. Eye.

As you see, there are no visible lines, except where necessary. The left corner of the eye, the iris and pupil and the eye lids are well defined. The scales and the right corner however are too pale. This is the best problem you might experience since this is quite easy to fix. The illusion is obtained with a proper blending of the tones. The same principle can, and must, be applied to everything you will draw, specially portraits of faces. You can now understand why a bigger sheet is better. This eye is only 4 x 3 inches.

The proper way to hold a Tortillon or a paper-pencil is at an angle so the side of the tip is doing the brushing and that side must only make contact for one passage. A clean side must be used for each passage. This means cleaning often. You must keep them clean from too much graphite. Paper-pencils are easy to clean with a fine nail file. Tortillons are another matter. Their life span is usually short but you can stretch it a bit if you use them on darker areas. That way, you will get as much out of them as possible. You can buy them by the bag full. They do need some getting use to at the beginning.

A lite touch is better here also. Start from the palest tone to the darkest in one gradual sweep. Do not go back and forth. Once you have reached the darkest area, turn your Tortillon or paper-pencil so you can make a second pass with a clean side. Didn't think of that, I bet. This will prevent adding graphite to your areas, which is how you can ruin a drawing really fast. Push the darker grey closer to its borderline without touching it. You might use a pencil to add some grey, should you need too. Here is where the Blending technique works, or fail. If the area has no neighboring area next to it, you must leave a slight line of pale grey to give the illusion of light reflecting on its edge. That small detail, if done at the proper place and in the proper shape, will fulfill its purpose.

As to the Highlight area, you simply reduce it by stretching the lighter tone until the area of the Highlight is similar in size and shape to the original one from your image/picture. It is possible that the original Highlight area is too bright, in your opinion. If that is the case, simply run the paper-pencil or Tortillon over the center of the Highlight itself a few times. That will remove some of the glare.

There is no real simple way to learn about Toning and Blending Techniques. It's all about trials and errors. That's why you must keep your projects very simple at first. Use towels or clothes from magazines or do like I do and create your own clothes. Cloak.
You might even use match stick men. In Absolute Style, they do have a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. The Crew. Once you have done all the corrections, all your drawing will need is a signature and a date. Try to be original and perhaps consider the use of an Alias. You might even incorporate your Signature & date in the drawing itself. If you can, use a computer program to create your Logo so you can copy & paste it to your drawing once they are on your computer using the proper software.

I hope the information provided here was somewhat helpful. On the next page, you can see how I usually proceed for a project, from beginning to end.