I know that many people are confused about the Copic blender pen. The name sounds like it’s supposed to blend your coloring, but it actually pushes your ink away instead. It’s literally colorless ink…so you are still adding ink by using the blender pen (labelled as number 0 by Copic). However, since it has no pigment or color, it actually serves to lighten (or push away) the color you already have on the paper. I think the name is misleading to begin with.
So why the heck is it called a blender pen? Well, after learning a bit more from manga artists, I realized that the name isn’t completely non-sensical. There are many artists who wet their coloring area with the blender pen first, then go in with their various colors. It basically gives you softer edges, because the paper is already soaked with ink (without color). It reminds me of watercoloring when you choose between painting directly on dry paper versus wet paper. There’s definitely a difference, just try making a dot on dry paper versus a spot with the colorless ink…
Either way, this means the blender pen and colorless ink can give you really cool effects depending on how you use it. I’ve definitely seen tutorials about correcting mistakes and pushing the color back into the line image…but I rarely use the blender pen for that purpose. It seems like hard work and with a heavy hand like mine, I tend to oversaturate. Actually, I often oversaturate and tear up my paper, so it takes practice to get used to the strength of your paper and coloring in general.
Instead, I like to use the blender pen to create cool patterns on top of colored areas. Since it lightens up your color, you can go crazy with doodling on flat areas of color. I’ve also learned that strong concentrated alcohol or Purell hand sanitizer gives you the same effect with Copic markers. Although it might get a bit messy as well. I’ve actually bought a whole bottle of the colorless ink to experiment with. Depending on your type of paper, the effect varies.
You can create patterns freehand or you can put some fluid on textured materials and smush it on top of your colored area. Again, it’s a bit like mixed media painting, creating texture by using other materials to apply the ink.
Pretty cool, huh? Of course, it’s also just fine to color up your images in a normal fashion. Alcohol ink markers such as Copic, color very smoothly and blend well together…as opposed to the water based “school-use” type. It’s my preference anyway! Have you learned to use your blender pen and ink in other cool ways? Please share below and having fun coloring! BTW, you can download the stamp I’ve used as an example here on my blog – enjoy!