By chance I found a way to soften the hardened lead of my coloured pencils. Here is how …
What you need:
a tin to store your pencils in (preferably not so tall as the one I use)
scissors (in case you have to cut the sponge down)
100% cellulose sponge; it is plant based, reusable and machine washable up to 60 ° Celsius ; the sponge is slightly moist/damp; (I layered 3 sponges, so the pencils have a ~3 cm/1 inch cushion)
When you take the sponge out of the package, you will notice it being a bit damp/moist. This is probably what softens the pencil lead.
If the tips of the coloured pencils are sharpened to the utmost, the top of the tips might brittle a bit off (not much just a bit) , but they apply so much smoother and more vibrant on the paper. I noticed this especially with my metallic Polychromos. I could practically carve into the paper with Gold, Copper and Silver but I could hardly see any colour on the paper. Now they run smoothly over the paper and the colour is clearly visible without applying a ton of pressure.
Since last year’s solvent search flop (zest-it) I hadn’t really pursued other options. This January I was reminded of this again, (thank you Steve for writing to me about this topic). I have heard of people using baby oil as substitute. So I gave it a first try with coconut oil.
I just threw randomly colour on smooth sketch paper (190g/m^2-90lbs; Hahnemühle sketch paper), transferred some of the coconut oil on the back of my hand and dipped my finger in it and was able to blend with it. This seemed to work so well, so I made my own little experiment the next day, with oils and other stuff I stumbled upon.
What I used:
mixed Media Paper (250g/m^2-169lbs; Daler Rowney) with a rougher surface
transparent lip balm
baby face&body lotion
cotton buds (brand doesn’t matter, mine are vegan, waterneutral ones by Hydrophile)
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