While I do not use the blending technique
this test is good to see the "smudgability"
of layered graphite. The two blending tools
used are the tortillon and chamois.
Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Smooth has
been consistently been used for all the tests so far.
The graphite has been layered onto the paper using a quick crosshatching. An underhand pencil grip was used to keep the layers light to remain on the surface. The text labels were written fairly heavy to test the smudging.
Here are the results:
The 6H is difficult to see and lays down very hard. When using this lead grade with the intent to blend, multiple light layers would be needed.
After spending the past few days working with the Derwents, the results do not surprise me. They lay down very firm, smooth, with little graininess. With the firm core, smudging is less, but blending is more difficult as well. Applying lighter layers may provide better results. Also paper plays a huge factor in how it reacts to graphite.
Lack of "easy" blending is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a characteristic that can be very beneficial. Smudging is always a concern when drawing. Crisp, clean pencil marks especially when working in smaller areas using dark tones is challenging with softer grades.
But, we still have more to come...