6pc Paper Blending Stumps by Pro Hart Swagger

Paper stumps, or “tortillons” by their French name, are made from soft compressed paper and used for blending dry mediums such as chalk, compressed and willow charcoal, Conté crayon, graphite, and soft pastels. They have been a favourite art tool for years in the art and craft supply market and are used in free form drawing and more controlled illustrations.

Blending paper stumps are available in a variety of thicknesses which allow for different working diameters. The smallest diameter is great for fine detailed work like shading an eye duct in a portrait. The largest paper stump is fantastic for blending broader areas like the side profile of a cheek in a portrait or large shadowed areas. 

You can use a paper stump with one colour to easily blend shadows and tones. Achieve greater depths and shades by combining two or more colours. Blend warm hues like red and yellow to make a sunset or several shades of blue in a seascape illustration. Blending stumps are ideal for blurring pencil or charcoal lines, creating shadows, creating contrast and depth, and softening pencil strokes to create different textures. They can save you time and even save your lead or charcoal by stretching your medium across your drawing surface without having to add extra in order to colour it in. 

The tip of a paper stump needs to be kept relatively clean for best results as you don’t want colours or shades to become muddy or smear. You can clean blending stumps by gently scraping them with a sanding block, scalpel or piece of sandpaper. They are easily sharpened with a stainless-steel sharpener or sanding block to a pencil-sharp point to be re-used many times. Sharpen when the paper stump becomes dull from use.     

When blending, a stump may be held at an angle to increase the surface area that contacts the paper. The tip of the stump must be kept clean while blending in light-toned areas of a drawing, so as to not smear darker media from other areas onto it.




Why you Blend with a Paper Stump and not your Finger

Similar effects can be produced by smudging with one’s fingers but this deposits oil from the skin onto the drawing surface, making the surface less receptive to the charcoal or other drawing medium. This is why Paper blending stumps are essential for every artist who loves to sketch. In addition, the clean up is much easier and you can achieve finer detailing with the sharpened point of a stump.

These paper stumps are approximately 15 cm, making them easy to store in a pencil case or art box.