I’ve been slowly building up the color on Dean’s face. I finally got close to the intensity that I wanted to see in the third picture. In the close up, you can also see that the color looks smoother. I was able to find a little more information on how to use a brush to blend the colors on this sanded surface.
I remember first hearing about using a brush to blend colored pencils from a Linda Lucas Hardy workshop I attended. She had developed a method called painting with a dry medium and gave workshops to teach the technique, though unfortunately it was not the workshop I took. Still she talked a bit about it and gave me some ideas.
I found some more pointers on her blog about the type of brush to use, mainly small, flat, inexpensive, hog bristle brushes trimmed down to 1/4 to 1/2 inch lengths. I bought myself some more brushes and tried it out. It worked great.
I had been using some round stencil brushes on the previous portrait I did, which was of Dean on Colourfix paper. I was able to get some good darks with the stencil brushes, but I think you get much better control with the small, flat (or “bright” ) style brushes. I found that you can really blend the colors together for a smooth, rich, more painterly look. Brush in hand, it does almost feel like you are really painting.