115- Drawing Blending Tools: Stump and Tortillon

The Difference Between a Blending Stump and a Tortillon


A blending stump is thicker and more tightly wound than a tortillon. A blending stump has two points, while tortillions have one. The points on a blending stump are bigger so that they can cover wider areas, while the one point on a tortillon is smaller for detail work.

Blending stumps and tortillons are both made from rolled paper, so they share more similarities than differences. That said, the subtle differences between them are things we want to look out for when we clean them. 

Note: stumps come in different thickness and are available in thin, smaller sizes but for clarity we are talking about the thicker stumps. You may also look into acquiring a stumps and tortillions set.

How to Clean a Blending Stump


To clean a blending stump or blending stick, start by rubbing a clean area of a kneaded eraser around the tip. This will help remove a lot, if not all of the graphite. If your blending stump is still dirty, use a piece of sandpaper to slowly sand away the paper at the tip. If that still doesn’t clean all of the graphite off, use a sharp Exacto blade to shave off some of the paper.

It’s important to remember that your blending stump is made out of paper. Yes, it’s fairly sturdy and much more sturdy than your tortillon, but it’s still paper. Paper is fragile and you need to be careful with it.
Keep in mind that both stumps and tortillons are not meant to last. The are inexpensive and replaceable. So if you are spending too much time cleaning them and not enough tie drawing, just grab a new one!

Happy Drawing and Paining,


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