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How to Make a Tortillon in 5 Easy Steps

December 6, 2009


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!



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



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!



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.



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!


From → Drawing

  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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