Wednesday 27 August 2014

Art Material Review - Derwent Inktense Pencils

I always love to experiment with new art materials, and this week Derwent Pencils were kind enough to offer me a set of their Inktense pencils to try out.  Exciting!

Yes, they do look like watercolour pencils - but honestly, there's a big difference.  The core of the Inktense pencils are, as the name suggests, ink; which means you get this gorgeous, bright quality to the tones when you use them with water.  One of the main benefits I found was that once they're 'activated' with water and left to dry they're permanent - which is brilliant for base colouring and ink linework over the top, no bleed whatsoever.

Stage by stage: Pencil, activated pencil and ink linework overlay.

Another massive benefit of this is that the permanence means that you can use the pencils with water to paint onto cotton or silk.  That opens up a whole wealth of uses, especially if you're a professional creative - I'm definitely going to look into creating some hand-painted silk scarves or illustrated tote bags to whip up with the sewing machine.

The pencils are easy to use for both professional finished work or quick sketches.  They'd also be great for adding a quick splash of colour to storyboards or concept designs.

Single Inktense pencil sketch and after activation with water and paintbrush.

There's a huge range of colours available, and I'd definitely like to try more than the starter pack I received; but they're easily blendable and with a little creativity there aren't many shades you can't produce.

Stage by stage: 2B pencil sketch, colouring with Inktense pencils, activation and Ink pen overlay.

To be honest I don't often find the time to use paintbrushes and water with my sketches - with tight deadlines I often opt for digital colouring, but I do think it adds something special to a sketch and you can end up with an image you didn't expect - which can be great for the ol' inspiration.  I'd say they're definitely worth choosing over watercolour pencils, if only for the permanence aspect - that's the thing that really impressed me, it's just such a practical quality if you're looking to use ink linework, overpainting or to experiment with textile uses.

If you'd like to grab yourself a pack, or have a look at the full range of Derwent products (the graphitint pencils and inktense blocks look really interesting!) head to 

Obviously this was only a test over a few days, so I'll keep this post updated as I use them in the future to comment on their durability, usability and any other elements that crop up with more frequent use! 


  1. I love how water makes a better and beautiful look, i have watercolor pencils but definitively are diferent i m going to buy one of these set :)

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