How to clean a tortillon (Study: Mixing colors)

by Henk ter Heide on Wednesday September 5, 2007

in Hack

What is it for

A tortillon is a conical piece of pressed paper pulp. It is used to blend colors when you are drawing with graphite pencils or color pencils.

When you use a tortillon to blend a color, pigment is transferred from the paper to the tortillon. Which means that the next time you try to use that tortillon you can’t use it for a different color. If you would it would ruin your drawing.
For that reason I’ve been using pieces of toilet paper to blend colors. You can trough them out when your done.

Mixing colors

But when you mix colors you have to apply much more pressure while blending. That means that you really do need tortillons. So I’ve done a little bit of experimenting and I found that it is in fact very easy to clean a tortillon if you rub it over a sheet of middle grain sanding paper.
The tortillon gets a little shorter and the pigment is left behind on the sanding paper.

Mixing colors 5C
Mixing colors 5C

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Mixing colors 5D
Mixing color 5D

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