I hadn’t anticipated going out tonight, so I didn’t sketch in advance. Using only red and white, the first one (left) does actually look better than I thought at first.
However, I wasn’t initially happy with it, so I did the second (right), thinking that starting dark in the center and working out would work better.
I was wrong. Still, the blending tool did make a difference. The shading changes were very abrupt, and I was able to smooth them out on both.