No matter how careful you are, sometimes you will have a nick or dent in your paper, or a dark spot of color you hadn’t intended to be there.  What do you do?

For starters, don’t throw it out! – there are ways to work around these issues.  In the case of the scratch or dent, if you can imagine the surface of your paper looking at eye level across it, what you would see might look like this wavy line.



This represents the tooth of the paper which is a series of hills and valleys.  Consider that a scratch on the surface is just another valley just not in a uniform placement.  Often when we work with colored pencil, we want to have the final piece not have any white of the paper showing through so the objective is to fill in those valleys in one way or another either with the use of an under-painting of some sort or burnishing or a variety of other methods working your layers to accomplish that.  When you have a scratch or dent in the paper it will probably be deeper than the valleys or at the very least be in a line that does not conform to the direction of the paper’s hills and valleys so you definitely will want to fill it in somehow.

So what do we do??

The answer for me is to make sure I have a very sharp pencil in a color that matches the surrounding color and lightly get into that scratch and lay in a stroke or two, or a series of dots until you have created the illusion of the scratch having disappeared.  If you try to force or color it in you will only create a darker surface along the edges of the scratch and then you’ll need to fix that as well so it’s important to only add enough color strokes to make the mark disappear.

In the case of the dark spot you hadn’t intended, the technique is a little trickier than fixing a scratch.  Having a dark spot show up on your work is more common with wax-based pencils as they crumble easier and can leave deposits that you might inadvertently “squash” with the warmth of your hand onto the paper and cannot brush away.  Let’s say you have this nice, soft pink area and a little red or darker pink just showed up and parked itself right in the middle.  You can do one of two things.  If the area is small and fairly uniform in color you could probably use your batter-powered eraser and carefully give it a quick “zap” to remove the spot and then lightly and carefully fill the area back in with the colors you used there.  If the area has a number of colors or is in a spot where you’ve worked a lot and except for that one little spot, is complete and you’d rather not erase then you can use the technique I use for blending colors.  For this to work, the area should be one that is somewhat blurry or in soft focus. Begin by dropping in light strokes or dots to match the dark spot all around it gradually lightening your touch as you move away from it.  By doing this in a soft focus area you are drawing the eye away from the “pimple” so to speak by making it less noticeable.  Work the area lightly until you are satisfied with how it looks.  You can repeat this process for any spots that you don’t want to erase but have the ability to blend in to the surrounding area.

If the area is in very sharp focus with lots of detail, then you have to either very, very carefully erase and fill back in or using an exacto knife, scrape or carefully cut out the just the spot and then lightly fill it in and I say lightly because usually when you “damage” your paper the area will tend to absorb more color after that so a lighter touch is better.



“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas



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