Zest It has been around for a number of years now but with the introduction of the new Zest-it Blending Sponge we see it being targeted directly at coloured pencil and oil pastel artists.
Many coloured pencil artists already know that blending with solvents is hazardous to your health, especially if you’re a cheeky smoker leaning over your bottle of blending solution. If that’s the case…be prepared for a BOOM! (That’s right smokers, yet another reason for you to quit!)
Lets start by seeing exactly what this stuff is. Well put simply Zest It is an easy, clean and convenient way of blending coloured pencils and oil pastels using a watercolour brush on the sponge that comes in the small jar. You can also use stumps, tortillions and shapers.
Re-moisten the entire sponge when necessary with 5 ml of Zest-it Brush Cleaner, Pencil or Parchment Blend. The small Jar does come already moistened with the correct amount of pencil blend. Just unscrew it and away you go. Well with that stuff over lets get into a small demo on just how to use it with coloured pencils.
For this demo I am using:
- Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils: Light Colbalt Turquoise, Light Magenta and Cobalt Green.
- Zest It
- Watercolour Brushes (a size 6 flat brush)
- Daler Rowney 140lb 16 inch x 12inch Hot Press Langton Gummed Pad (Smooth)
- Paper towel to wipe off excess Zest It
Lets go, so first lightly go in with a layer of your colours, I’m using Light Colbalt Turquoise, Light Magenta and Cobalt Green, in that order.
Go in light or heavy depending on what you are trying to achieve. Play around and see what different pencil pressures produce. That’s what art is all about right? Having a go!
Next I will grab my flat No.6 watercolour brush and swipe it back and forth over the sponge in the jar of Zest It. Make sure you have plenty on and then tap off the excess on a paper towel.
The reason you want to tap off any excess is that you don’t want to flood that brush and literally wash away the pigment.
Now just paint over that pigment in sweeping motions from left to right in my case and let that start affecting the pigment. In literally seconds it will begin to work its magic on the pigment and you can then move it around. In my case I moved the brush up and down and from left to right slowly. Moving that pigment slowly across. If you feel that the Zest It is running low then wipe the brush on the towel and rest it again on the sponge.
In you go again until you have completed the left to right motion.
Not the best of photos but I think you can see that the pigment has been literally melded and blended.
Here is a rough blending of two colours using the exact same technique described above. For this I used Light Colbalt Turquoise and Cobalt Green.
I wasn’t going for total perfection here by the way folks, Have a go and see what you can produce using your pencils. Remember also that if your having trouble moving pigment around, use a colourless blender pencil over the top of your pencils to increase the amount of wax. That often helps the pigments to flow far more easily!
Have fun and don’t forget to check out the Zest it and other supplies mentioned in this demo on our website here.