Trying to decide whether to soldier on with the Dita Von Teese painting I’ve started or whether to gesso over it and start a new one…

This is why I usually steer clear of painting with acrylics and such like… It takes me so much longer and I get SO bored if it takes me more than a day to complete!

2REBLOGToday’s project was this portrait of Debbie Harry! :)
Indian ink & 5HB pencil on watercolour paper.Today’s project was this portrait of Debbie Harry! :)
Indian ink & 5HB pencil on watercolour paper.
0REBLOGIllustration for lucialoves.blogspot.com based on one of her outfit posts :)Illustration for lucialoves.blogspot.com based on one of her outfit posts :)Illustration for lucialoves.blogspot.com based on one of her outfit posts :)

I was wondering if you could help me! 

I’m always trying to develop my sketching (pencil - tonal pieces) and I’d like to know… For softening shading (I usually hatch/cross hatch), are blender pencils the best option? I’ve forever been taught to not use your hands to blend which is something I’ve always stuck to but I would like for the shading not to look so… harsh, I think is the best word.

Does anyone have an opinion? If it is the best option, which brands are good (and available in the UK)?

Edit: What about colour shapers?