Friday, 23 November 2018

Painting the vivid colours of Autumn with Derwent 'Inktense'

Demonstration painting for the group - finished later in the studio. Accepted as 'first review' so far for The Pastel Society with The Federation of British Artists at The Mall Galleries in London for open competition for the 2019 exhibition

Derwent pencils have been manufactured by The Cumberland Pencil Company in Cumbria in the UK since 1832 and is now a brand under ACCO UK Ltd.

One of their best and most successful creative products to date it has to be said is their fabulous Inktense range in both pencils and blocks. There are 72 colours in the full range created and marketed in sets of tins with attractive Derwent branding for both blocks and pencils available in 12, 24, 36 and full 72 colours respectfully.

Just a small selection of the range of versatile painting and drawing products in the Derwent Inktense range.
Featured - 12 colour Paint Pan Travel Set (back), 12 colour set of Inktense pencils (left) and 24 colour set of Inktense Blocks (right)

A really popular painting and drawing media
Artists of all disciplines, skill and genre just love them because they find out just how versatile they are, what you can achieve quickly with them and how useful all the colours are. Artists also appreciate what great value for money they are considering that the pigments used to create each lightfast colour are of the highest standard.

In use - set of 24 colour Inktense blocks and the versatile Paint Pan Travel Set of 12 great colours. Inktense Blocks have been combined to make luscious wells of glorious colour and lighter tints all ready to use

As a Derwent Associate Artist I have introduced countless new artists to Derwent Inktense through many written articles and through plenty of practical experience on art holidays and workshops both nationally and internationally and have never received a negative comment about them yet! 

In one of my recent 'Autumn Woodland colours' Derwent Inktense workshops in North Leeds, everyone found them once again to be equally as valuable and enjoyable to use when creating a wide range of wonderful paintings impressionistic paintings.

Derwent Inktense -a superb media you can fully engage with to create paintings of real depth, colour and expression by both painting and drawing at the same time

Everyone in the creative zone! Lots of techniques explored using layers of perfectly placed colours one over the other to paint dynamic and expressive paintings of glowing light and deep shade that truly represent Autumn 

Inktense Blocks and Inktense pencils used in combination to add detail, colour and expression to every autumn woodland painting - great work everyone!

The reason they are so popular with everyone (as mentioned), is because they are so versatile - especially the Inktense sticks. Inktense pencils are great for detailing in particular and much more too! Colour washes are permanent and fixed when dry with both pencils and sticks. A great advantage for artists who, like myself, like to glaze a lot! 

Close up of the contemporary water media techniques applied in this lovely expressive painting that are possible with Derwent Inktense

Inktense washes and drawn pastel type marks used throughout this great painting with Inktense Blocks and pencils to express a personal response to the Autumn woodland scene - looking good already and this is only half way through!

Lots of drawn, painted and layered Inktense Blocks and pencils in combination have been explored in lots of interesting ways to create this superb painting (half way through) of this woodland scene. Great composition, format and techniques - a stunning painting in the making

Watercolour techniques with added bonus
Unlike many other pigments (watercolour being the main comparison), the colours you mix with Inktense are the colours you get - ie. no oxidising or lightening off when dry. Great news! You can now focus on the natural act of painting itself instead of having to think all the time about the technical aspects of the colours you are mixing and the effects that will be created when dry. You have to be mindful of this with watercolour all the time - not so with Inktense!

Using a large Chinese brush and plenty of Inktense (premixed in large wells to hold plenty of pigment), multiple layers of wet in wet and glazed washes can confidently be applied one over the other to create soft and hard edged areas of colour beautifully contrasting with each other

Pastel techniques with versatility
It's not just watercolourists that find Inktense so easy to use (after all, many different techniques associated with watercolour can also be applied to Inktense), but pastelists love them too! Pastels I must say are my number one media because I can draw and paint with them at the same time. Lush bright and also subtle tinted colours are easily mixed one into the other with soft pastels. The good news is that with Derwent Inktense sticks many of these techniques are creatively possible too.

A close up of a painting showing great techniques with Derwent Inktense Blocks used over previous washes of Inktense to draw directly onto the watercolour paper to create contrasting marks, lines and textures

Multiple layers of Inktense washes from transparent to opaque are possible with Inktense Blocks - with a little Permanent White gouache added Inktense media really becomes opaque extending the creative possibilities of the media even further.  Dry pastel techniques with Inktense Blocks have added even more textural areas to this lovely Autumn painting near completion 

So, with Inktense you get the best of both worlds - a painting media and a colourful pastel media for working dry with too as all the colours easily mix one into and over the other and are tinted with the addition of their mixing white within the sets. 

Deep rich colours of transparent washes contrasting to luminous areas of bright colour are all possible with Inktense Blocks creating paintings full of depth

The Inktense creative experience - where to buy and how to join in! 
To try such techniques for yourself why not join me on one of my Derwent sponsored workshops or art holidays in the UK or abroad. You'll be amazed yourself just what you can achieve with these easy carry, colourful, versatile and creative products.

For a full list of art courses and holidays visit

Derwent Inktense can be purchased from Tim Tennant at 'The Ilkley Art Shop' in West Yorkshire at very competitive prices. Follow this link to find out more

For more information about Derwent products and the Inktense range please visit:


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