Product testing: Derwent Inktense pencils

Adding water to dry ink-based pencils

I ordered a few Inktense pencils, which you’ll know I’ve just discovered if you’ve seen a couple of my recent posts on Facebook. I have ideas for using them in a new way (new to me), but I need to get familiar with the colours and how they act. So I drew a thin line of each, as well as a loosely shaded block. Even that was interesting, as they’re so different to the coloured pencils I have, but these ones undergo a transformation when you add water – they turn into ink, which is permanent once dry.

Testing Derwent Inktense pencils

I was testing a variety of things (although it looks like playing!):

– colour change from dry to wet (some are remarkably different!).
– intensity: some seem to gain, and others lose it.
– fade: not much modulation is possible (on this paper, at least) when dry, but some colours definitely have more variety in their range than others as they go from pure to heavily diluted.
– how much they dissolve: some seem more resistant while others ‘melt’ beautifully.
– how far the pigment carries in the water: how does the pigment flow?
– the colour change as the wet ink pigments dry out.
– the richness: some are deep and properly inky, while others are light and more watery when diluted to a similar level.
– tonal value range: is it wide or narrow?
– is it warm/cold?

This was all very unscientific and intuitive, but once I get to grips with how these pencils handle, I’ll be better able to incorporate them into new work.