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How to Make a Tortillon in 5 Easy Steps

December 6, 2009

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1. Get a piece of paper. Any kind of paper will work, including computer paper. Experiment with different kinds and see if there’s one you like best!

 

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2. Cut the paper in half diagonally, about an inch from each corner. You now have the makings for two tortillons.

 

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3. Starting at the short edge, roll the paper up as tightly as you can. This might be a bit tricky at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it!

 

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4. Use something long and thin to poke into the end of your tortillon. The wrong end of a skinny paint brush works well! Push the tube out to create the point.

 

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5. Use a small piece of tape to secure the end and voila! Your very own homemade tortillon!

 

I used to do this all the time when I first started drawing. I had to practice a few times before I could remember the exact technique, but it’s not at all difficult.

A blending stick is just a tightly rolled piece of paper. Tortillons are not exactly expensive, but making your own can save a bit of money. It can also save your butt if you desperately need a clean one and you can’t go buy one!

If you’ve just read this and you’re thinking, “What the heck is a tortillon?” a tortillon is a tool that you use when shading pencil drawings. It can also be called a blending stick or blending stump. Have a look at my drawing tools page for more details!

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From → Drawing

6 Comments
  1. This is really cool. As you can imagine I don’t use them regularly (except for my own explorations), but this is great fun! I really like using stumps…do you have a method for those, too?

    • Hi Kim! I could be wrong, but I think that tortillons, blending sticks, and stumps are all pretty much the same thing? Unless you’re talking about some other kind of stump!

  2. haha, I WAS thinking “What the heck is a tortillon?” That’s so funny that you wrote that at the end. Thanks for explaining! 🙂

    PS I love the sketchbook you gave me 🙂

    • Hahaha, glad I could answer your question! And it’s great to hear you’re getting some use out of the sketch book 🙂

  3. Michelle permalink

    Wow am i glad i found this, i have a sketchbook assignmant due tomorrow, and it was like 7 pm when i remembered, we have been doing value change all week so the three blending sticks i have need to be replaced. My parents really don’t like driving an hour away this late just to get some art supply i should alredy have… im so glad i found this and could make my own! 🙂 thanks!!!

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