(I hope this copies over correctly.. it is a blog entry I did for my old blog... but wanted it here too!)
Loooong post .. sorry... so best grab a coffee now!!
Pencils! Love them.. addicted to them... adore them.... but why? Is
it just that I have slight OCD about them and collect them.. or are they
actually as fabulous as I think they are? I was chatting to some
friends last week about pencils, and I got to thinking..... I have
loads, I mean loads, literally hundreds of them, all Derwents, but all
different... I don't just mean different colours, I mean different
types.... WHY? Do I need them all? Do I need more? (well, yes,
obviously.... but do I need or just want?) What does each pencil do that
the others don't, what can each pencil do? Am I just rambling on
trying to justify my passion for them.... Hmmmmm
"Some of my babies!"
over the weekend.. I had a little play and experiment, and I have to
say, the results blew me away! I am No Artist.. so please.. no comments
re technical ability!! But as a Very Enthusiastic Amateur... I had a
blast! I stamped up one of my favourite image stamps onto decent quality
smooth white card.. lots of times, then I played! I used the same
colours from each pencil type for each image, so I could see the
difference within the techniques used. There is every chance that you
all know everything I found out, but hey.. some of it was new to me, and
I was so excited by it all, there may be something you didn't realize!
Are you sitting comfortably? Well, I will begin! (note.. these are all DERWENT pencils... I buy no other brand!!)
love my coloursofts... beautiful pencils... use them lots! They are
particularity fabulous for Parchment as they have such a soft creamy
core which you can apply with pressure to the sheet of parchment without
accidentally embossing the paper as harder pencils will do sometimes.
Coloursoft blend beautifully (especially with a blending oil on
parchment), and they are just a dream to use. Not a huge amount more I
can say.. could rave about them for hours, but that would get boring for
you! :-) I started the weekend with these pencils, becasue I know,
love and trust them.... was a gentle ease into the experiment, but I did
discover a couple of things!
totally self explanatory, but! First picture.. no extra blending at
all, just coloured with the pencils, blending as I added the next
colour.. nothing fancy... lovely colours, lovely finish.. Happy! The
middle picture, I blended using a stump.... Can you see the wax bloom on
her arms and face? They blended easily, but the wax bloom appeared.....
Hmmm! The third image, I used a white pencil to blend (this technique I
knew, but I perfected last week doing an online course with the
FABULOUS Effy Wild... thrilled with the results!) This has to be my
preferred blending method... no contest! The colours blended
beautifully, and no wax bloom....You can really create some depth and
shadow using this method, and I love it! Press fairly hard, as the
pressure you apply helps to soften the wax and move the colours
around..... Yayyyyy! Perfect!!! But then, I thought.. I wonder.......
Yes... although not as easy to manipulate, and you need to be patient,
and GENTLE... and although they are not water-soluble as such..... you
CAN blend coloursoft with a wet brush!!! Oh WOW! OK.. it is not
blending as such, but the rich pigmentation of the pencils means the wet
brush picks up the top layer of colour and moves it... Great fun.. This
was a New Discovery!!! It works better on the richer colours, the reds
and blues as you can see by the little scribbles at the side.... this
was not done as neatly as it could have been (apologies) it was only an
"I wonder" moment but I was chuffed with the results, so included it!
second pencil to play with, is my second favourite! Love Inktense...
Love the vibrancy, the Wow factor, and the surprise factor. They are
stunning pencils dry and blended, but add water... An eye-popping
rainbow of lushness appears! Which can sometimes be a bit of a shock,
because as you are using them dry, your eye sees the colour in front of
you, and your mind forgets how much some of the colours explode when
wet! Love these pencils so much!
first image.. dry, and blended... one side stump, the other white
pencil... Both had some wax bloom build up...but again I found the
blending easier with the white pencil, although it did mute the colours a
little bit. The middle image, I applied the pencils dry, and went over
with a water brush.... I love this technique... the colour is easy to
push around, and if you apply a bit more water, you can shade areas
right down just leaving a hint of colour. The smoothness of the result
does however depend on the consistency of the dry application..... and
be careful, becasue some papers won't take the amount of water required
to smooth it all out. The third image, I used the water brush, and took
the pigment straight from the nib of the pencil.... This is a difficult
technique for me, because I am not a painter, but I am pleased with the
results.... the colours are lovely, and they blended so easily.. I
might do more of this!
My only complaint about the Inktense, is
there is no suitable skintones in the range (well not in the ones I
have, and I have most of them!) so a bit of fiddling and manipulation is
required, but I think I got an OK tone to her, especially wet.
don't use my watercolour pencils very much I have to confess.... why..
ermm.. dunno! I think it is because the colours are more muted... I am
the same with paints, prefer acrylics and the vibrancy of the colours,
but that is just my love for the dramatic .... anyhow.. I gave them a
go, and I was very interested by the results.
for starters... watercolours don't dry blend! Well, not with a paper
stump anyway... I tried and tried, but nope, they were not having it!
Quite pleased with the coloured image still.. but no.. not blendable!
So second image, dry applied, and wet brush over... Blend fabulously,
easy to move the pigment around, but be careful, too much water and you
lose the colour! Third image was using a wet brush to take the pigment
from the nib again.. (and out of my comfort zone again!) but for a non
painter, I am pleased with the results.. the colours are a tad richer
and I have to say I loved the ease with which they blended as you
worked.... I think I will be using these pencils more often now! Still
think they are a bit muted.. but that is only my personal preference for
(are you still with me? Told you it was a long post!!!)
are not mine.. I have borrowed them from my mum, and I am sad already
that I have to return them.... they are next on my Have To Purchase
List!!!!) Well.. if we are going to talk WOW factor, and the surprise
element in pencils.. these are the ones to have! It is mind blowing (to
pencil freaks anyway! LOL) the difference in the colours wet and dry...
Love them! Just look at this.. I promise you.. it IS the same colour
on each image!!
(EDIT to add.. I now have all of these... I had too!!)
Fantastic is that!!!! Like Magic! OK.. dry.. very dark, but the
colours do blend within themselves very well, wonderfully creamy core
again, and they are beautifully smooth to apply. When you add water
though.. Oh My! All these lush and vibrant colours just explode from
the page.... I love it!!! One thing I did note, the pigmentation is
incredible.. so less may be more when water blending them, but I am
stunned by the colours... I love her hair!!! For skin tones, some
playing around may be needed as all the colours in the set are fairly
dark.... I used the lightest colours there were and she looks fine, and
has a very healthy tan! Another down side (to the non perfect artist
such as me!) is they are fairly unforgiving... once you have put the
colour down, especially wet.. it is there! For ever! Oh well.. I will
just have to be a bit more careful then! They are fabulous for large
areas though... beautiful sweeps of colour, and a lovely moment of Oh
Wow when you swipe across with the wet brush! Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed
these pencils in my life though!
pure pigment ones.. no wooden barrel.... very soft and creamy to apply,
not so good at small delicate areas (well, not for me anyway) but
lovely to use. They Blend beautifully wet and dry, I only have a few of
these, but I managed to get great results from the ones I had. The wet
side of the image was applied dry, and then water brushed over. Again,
these are fabulous for large areas as it is so easy to move the colour
Only a few more now promise!!!
Now this was a discovery!! Artist were the first Derwent pencil set I
owned... must be three years ago now... Hubby got me the full wooden
box set for my birthday all 120 colours in the range.. Stunning set..
so stunning in fact, the box was put aside for admiration and stroking
purposes only, and I have never used the pencils!!! How bad is that!
Well.. I have used them now.... and I can honestly say WOW!!!!
Apparently, the Artist range was the first coloured pencil produced by
Derwent, back in the 1930's, and they must be doing something right if
it is still so popular today!
pencils are STUNNING to use! Easy and dreamy to use, harder than the
coloursoft, but just as beautifully beautiful to blend with. Using just
the colours, they blend fabulously, the colours merge together so well,
and being so many of them.. it is so easy to create a whole variety of
highlights and shadows. Amazingly, blending with a white pencil is even
dreamier to do! I was amazed by the ease of use from these pencils....
Blissful to play with! Totally blissful... I am thinking I might have
a new nearly almost favourite here! I am totally in love! Cannot
fault this range at all.. 120 stunning colours and magical to use!
Last lot.. promise! :-)
more piccies, bundled all together cos you have been sitting here
ages!! These are my others.... pencils I have a few of, and don't use
that often... till now! Couple of real WOW moments for me!
working our way along... PASTELS ...I don't like pastels! There I
said it! Love the effect and other peoples work with them.. but I don't
like them! I only have them cos a shop was doing a special deal and
they were in the pencil wraps which I wanted.. so bought them.. couple
of years ago.. occasionally get them out and look at them.. but No..
dont like them..... or do I?!?!?! What I didn't know, Pastel is
naturally water soluble! Is it? Hmmmmm. So I coloured my girlie in,
one side I stump blended, while chuntering all the while about the
amount of mess these pencils create.... yeah, not bad blended.. you
lose some of the chalky yukky mess, so happier with that, but you also
lose some of the colour too....the other side I applied my trusty water
brush and OH WOW!!!!! You can water them.. and they are
DIVINE!!!!! The colours are stunning, they don't go all insipid wishy
washy outy on you, they are vibrant and gorgeous, and I only have a few
pastels, and I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to go shopping and buy more!
Like NOW!!!! Oh my.. I was beyond thrilled with this I can tell you!
Bouncing!!!! (EDIT..... yeah... have more now! Love them....)
METALLICS... I bought this set at the NEC,
use occasionally for highlights, but not really played... Didn't know
they were water soluble either... Oh LUSH!!!! One side I coloured the
girlie black first as it says on the tin best on dark background! Not
my best move... I would go for dark paper if I was you, the black pencil
isn't brilliant to work from and they are not the best blenders in the
world. The other side of the girlie I left white, the metallics are
nice on there, but wet opens them right up.. I think these will now be
used lots with the inktense as the vibrancy is perfect for that range,
with added "twinkle" :-)
ARTBARS... another NEC buy,
last year.. spent ages at the Derwent stand watching these being played
with... only got a small tin, but might neeeeeeeeeeeeed more! OK.. they
are messy, as in they are sooo creamy, unless you are very careful,
your hand sweeps the colour all over the show.... plus the chunkiness of
the bars makes small areas difficult to colour, but that really isn't
too much of a problem, cos when you apply the water brush, the pigment
is sooooooo intense. you can paint it for miles and not dilute the
richness.. I adore these!!! By increasing the amount of water used,
this obviously reduces the intensity of the colours, so shading (even
with only a handful of basic colours to start from) is easy.... I love
these... Crayons for Growed Ups!!!
CHARCOAL.. another I don't like these! Yet another NEC purchase, cos I
loved the demo (I am a sales promoters dream.. see it, love it .. buy
it!!!) Got them home, tried them.. like pastels.. all yukky gritty
chalky messiness ... No.. not for me.... But.. one girlie left.. so
lets try them! Dry.. yeah.. messy, chalky, messy, Hmmmmm....dry blended
with a paper stump, better... the messiness goes,They do blend
beautifully, they really do, I was impressed, and they are easy to rub
out if you make a mistake or ten! However....... charcoal.. have you
guessed.. Yup.. naturally water soluble... Wayyy Hayyy!! And you know
what.. while I am not loving them as much as some of the others.. I am
liking them lots, very lots! The colours are nicer wet (I think), they
are still easy to erase any mistakes, and the pigment is easy to
manipulate. The colours are all very dark though, but I can imagine for
clever people who create those gorgeous landscapes, they would be
(EDIT.. I have been completely bowled over by these pencils.. and have several more colours now.... I adore them.. they are so great for highlights and shading, and work fabulously over mixed media and gesso...... I cannot praise them highly enough!)
Well.. you will all be thrilled to know.. that is all! Yayyy.. Finished.. I wonder how many of you made it this far?!?!?
are my findings then? (before I leave you all and go and play again)
Well... for starters, I am even more totally and utterly in love with
Derwent... I cannot fault a single pencil of theirs that I have... some
of them may not be my favourites to use or colour-wise, but for ability
and quality, I think they ROCK!
I was blown away by
some of the stuff I discovered, yeah it might all be old hat to you, but
to me, it was magical... I had so much fun! My biggest WOW moment was
deffo using the pastels with water! I seriously did not expect to be
that impressed by a pastel pencil, like ever!!!!
seeing as all this was about trying to justify my pencil collection..
did I?!?!? Well Yes.. I jolly well think I did! Ok.. a lot of the
pencils are very versatile in the cross overs of techniques, but they
all have the little jobs they are best at, and for that reason alone, I
need all the ones I have... and possibly the ones I don't have too! Yes
you can make do with less.. but heck.. where is the fun in that!
I am off for a much needed coffee after all that typing... then I am
going to have a little trawl of the net.. make a new definitive list of
The Pencils I Crave and Covet ... I am happy to email this list to
anyone who wants to buy me a pressie at all!!! Then I am off to
RightMoves, to see what houses there are in Cumbria.. cos I need to move
and live on Derwents doorstep and beg them to give me a job!!
a great week.. and if you have stuck with me till the bitter end....
while you are here.. leave me a message... would love to know what you
think, and how many of you stuck with me!