Do you want to apply a softness to your drawings? Have you tried using a blending stump?
How to use a Blending Stump
A drawing tool by nature, the stump is made up of a piece of paper rolled and compressed into a cylinder, with two ends cut into a point (made of newspaper or blotting paper). It is used to create gradations, soften lines, and extend, blend and reshape dark or light areas.
For fine and smooth quality stumps, I have a distinct preference for those made of rice paper.
The stump is never used alone, but always combined with charcoal, dry pastel, sanguine, a Conté square or a graphite pencil.
The stump can be worked in several ways:
- Removing the pigment from a drawing to allow for easier gradations, blending, lightening, retouching, much like the marker blender (a colourless felt-tip pen, or alcohol-based markers).
- Loading the tip of the stump by rubbing it with powdered pigment and then using it like a pencil.
The bevel of the tip or the body of the blender (called a tortillon) softens large areas. The straight or slanted tip is used to sketch large lines.
- TOP TIP: The stump can be sharpened with a sharpener, and easily cleaned with a microfibre towel or chamois leather which retains more of the pigment dust.
Characteristics of a Stump
- The line is very soft, velvety, weathered and light.
- The tones are medium, cloudy, without sharp contrasts
- Helps to create shadows, fades, gradients, blurred effects, and reflections
- Add small highlights as details
- Retouches a drawing, erases, and removes pigment applied to paper
- Overlays 2 shades, softens lines
The Effective way to Draw with a Stump
In order to draw with a stump, it is essential to know the right gestures:
- Using a cutter blade, scrape a stick of charcoal or chalk to transform the compact pigment into powder.
- Then rub the tip of the stump several times on the powdered pigment to darken it.
- Now you can draw!
- To fully discharge the tip, it is useful to turn the paper cylinder from time to time.
TOP TIP: To make a homemade stump. Select a thick or soft paper (tissue, blotter, newspaper, bristol board). Cut the paper into a triangle and roll it tightly into the shape of a pencil with a stump. Once the paper is rolled, add a piece of tape or a dab of glue to hold it together.
- 1 sanding board (sandpaper or nail file)
- 1 kneadable eraser (erases blurred lines more easily)
- 1 stump
- 1 sketch pad (smooth or grainy drawing paper)
- 1 old rag
There are stumps available in sets that contain all the accessories needed to work properly.
These products are currently available at GreatArt Online or in the art supply shop in London Shoreditch..
TOP TIP: Be careful not to use too much stump on your paper as it may give your drawing a grimy effect.. I recommend using a sheet of blotting paper to avoid unintentional smudging.
Demonstration and Inspiration
Content provided by Amylee Paris
The passion of Amylee Paris, painter, consultant and author is to share her paintings between galleries, art collectors and her community. Beyond her pictorial skills and her several ebooks available online, Amylee is also recognized as one of the most influential francophone artist-entrepreneurs. She helps beginners or professional artists to optimize their artistic activity.
GREAT TO KNOW – Find all Amylee’s posts published in GreatArt online Magazine by clicking here!
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