Our Artist in Residence answers your questions
asks: "What are some alternatives to mineral spirits for blending colored pencils?"
A: Mineral oil or baby oil can be used with paper stumps for blending colored pencil - however, it does take a little practice to know just how much oil to have in your stump. Rubbing alcohol is another option, though it evaporates very quickly. A few other liquid solvents I've seen mentioned but haven't tried - Zest-It (an oil paint thinner with a mixture of orange terpenes), turpenoid, bleach,Vaseline, lighter fluid, cooking oils, and even vodka or gin! If you have a colorless alcohol blender marker, it will blend colored pencil too! The pigment will stain the tip, but not damage it. Another pen-type blender is the Finesse Blender Pen. These are double ended pen (bullet and brush tips), and are just a little wetter than a Copic blender. Lots of options!