Sandrine's Gallery

Original art by Sandrine Curtiss

Blog posts : "derwent"

I'm in love!

With the Derwent Coloursoft Pencils.

In my quest to find more pencils to use, I recently purchased a small set of Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils. I've been so pleased with Derwent that I keep on trying more of their supplies.




So today I decided to give it a go. I must admit that I've been addicted to the fabulous Prismacolor Premier colored pencils for years. I use them ALL the time. I love their softeness and how you can layer them, and blend them. Their rich colors are amazing. I tried several other brands of colored pencils, but never found one I liked enough to want to switch. So I was not very hopeful with the Derwent Coloursoft.

I gave the Coloursoft the ultimate test, in my opinion, and used a sheet of my beloved black Stonehenge paper. I thought if I could make the colors of the pencils stand out as well as with the Prismacolor, I would be pleased. Well, I was! Not only was I pleased with the vibrant colors, but I was also happily surprised by the softeness of the lead. The tip glides on the paper with a lovely buttery feel. I would say they are almost like soft pastel pencils.

The Coloursoft pencils cover the paper very well and quite fast. They blend together nicely, and don't leave that pesky residue on your paper, like the Prismacolor pencils do. The leads are easily sharpened and the sharp tips don't break. I LOVE them!

Although I will continue using my Prismacolor pencils because they are awesome! I will definitelly work more with the Coloursoft pencils. They are so smooth, and really lovely to work with.

I'm so happy I tried them.


"Tomato" - 4x6" - Coloursoft pencils - SOLD




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Derwent Watersoluble Graphitone Pencils

A new discovery for me.

I went to Michael's yesterday to get a pad of palette paper, and I came across this product I'd never seen before. I think it's been around for a while now, but it's the first time I saw it in a store. Since I had a 50% off coupon, I thought I'd give it a shot. I love to try new things.



What I bought was a pack of four watersoluble graphite sticks by Derwent. They're called Graphitone, and come in four different shades: 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B. They are wrapped in a pre-cut protective film that you can peel off as needed. So you can use the tip or the side of the stick.



I was very excited to try them today, so I made a test sheet.



First recommendation, if you're going to use them with water, is to use a sheet of watercolor paper. Although you don't need much water to use them, regular sketching paper might buckle.
The Derwent Graphitone work like regular graphite pencils on paper. You can use them to sketch and draw without water. But if you only use them like that, it's just no fun. So grab a waterbrush, or a watercolor brush with a little container of water, and start spreading that graphite on your paper. It works just like watercolor.

Here are the results of my test:
The Graphitone pencils will erase okay with an eraser before you add water. But as soon as you add water, the eraser will not work anymore. The washes are not rewetable. So, you can add more layers without shifting the pigments from the previous ones. This also means once the graphite gets wet then dries, you cannot lift the pigments. So if you need to do any lifting, it needs to be done before the wash dries.

You can use the graphite pencil on top of the wash once dry, or while still wet. You can also wet the tip of the pencil for a more feathered look.
The Derwent Graphitone pencils are a very versatile medium, easy to use in many different ways. However, while sketching, I found myself getting the pigments on my brush straight from the tip of the pencils, and applying them on the paper. I really enjoyed the soft effects.



I wanted to finish my sketch with a very dark wash. So I thought I'd prepare it ahead of time. I used a knife to shave the tip of my 8B pencil, and put the shavings in a little container where I added a bit of water. The result on the page was not unlike ink. I really like the feel and look.



I'm so happy I discovered the Derwent Watersoluble Graphitone Pencils. They are a lot of fun, and very easy to use. I love the versatility of these graphite sticks. They remind me very much of the Derwent Inktense Pencils.



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Derwent Inktense pencils

Here's a little review of these wonderful pencils.

I've had this large box of Derwent Inktense pencils for quite a while now. They sounded awesome when I got them. But I never REALLY got to play with them. I never really used the right tools that is. The tools that make it a lot of fun to use them.

I came across my big box of pencils the other day while doing a little cleaning, and decided I should do some research to find out how to use them properly.
I gathered some good quality watercolor paper, and I bought a good water brush (Pentel Aquash) too. If you're not familiar with water brushes, they're the kind that you fill up with water, and the water flows as you are mixing your watercolor paints, or disolving your watercolor pencils on the paper. They are a great tool. This particular brand works very well as you seldom need to squeeze it for the water to flow. However, I've ordered the Derwent brand too. I can't wait to receive it, as it sounds even better.

So I sketched my sunflower, and colored in the petals with a yellow pencil. I then used my water brush to spread the pigments anywhere I wanted them. The Inktense pencils work just like watercolor pencils.
I found two major differences, though. First the colors are much brighter than regular watercolor pencils, and a little goes a long way. Second, they dry like ink, which means, when they dry, you can't remove the color. So you can add as many layers as you want, your new washes won't remove the pigments of the previous ones.

I had a great time using my old toys. I can't believe it took me so long to get to know them better. I think I'll use this sketch and make a larger/ nicer version. I need to lay off the splattering a little too! All I did was rub my water brush on the Inktense pencil tip, and let gravity do its job.

Now if I could only take time, and learn how to take nice photos of my artwork...

Sunflower - 5x7" - Inktense pencils on watercolor paper


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