I still haven’t worked out who I want to be or what I want to do when I grow up, so on this blog please join me while I try and work it out while keeping child-like creativity alive!  Find home and fashion inspiration; travel and days out; photography, writing and more. Have fun looking around 🙂



Review of the Derwent Inktense ink pencils

Derwent Inktense pencils review

Drawing and painting was a hobby of mine that I spent an awful lot of hours on when I was a child. I took GCSE and A-level Art, but since then, I have rarely allowed myself the time to just enjoy it again. You may already know that I have an Etsy shop where I sell my pyrographed items, which often is a form of drawing, but when I’m making something to sell, it’s never quite as fun! I have resolved to stop thinking of time spent drawing and painting as an indulgence, and started allowing myself some free time to enjoy myself and relax. So last year, whilst away in the Lake District, I treated myself to some new art supplies from the Derwent shop in Keswick, and following my discovery of the Derwent Inktense sticks, I put the Derwent Inktense pencils on my wishlist. Chris obliged with them as a gift on our wedding anniversary, and here’s what I think of them so far…

When I received the tin of twenty-four pencils, I was desperate to have a go, so I quickly found a piece of paper, and copied the picture of a peacock that’s on the lid. I was really pleased! They differ from the Inktense sticks, in that when you are just using the pencils, it doesn’t look or feel particularly pigmented. In fact, if you want to just do a coloured pencil drawing, I think you would get better results from using the Coloursoft pencils. However, when you add water, your drawing really comes to life and colours become stunningly vibrant.

Inktense ink pencils review

My main problem occurred when I sat down to draw a photo I’d taken of Rain modelling a dress I’d made for Threads of a Fairytale. Out of twenty-four shades, there is nothing at all suitable to use for a pale skin tone. No pale pink and no peach. In fact, my only option was to use an orangey-brown colour called mustard, and a dark plum colour called fuchsia, and just use a very light touch with them. It’s ok from a distance, but not very successful when you look close-up at my picture. I’ve just had a look at the Derwent website and there isn’t an individual colour I can buy unless I try with cherry and cadium orange. I am disappointed because I wanted to particularly practice drawing portraits of my daughters and this is a serious issue that could possibly prevent me from doing that. It doesn’t feel quite right making them have a darker skin colour than they actually do, so alternatively I go down a fantasy route and give them Avatar blue skin or something like that! Actually, I would like to place them in a fairytale fantasy setting, so maybe that’s not a bad idea! I could of course use regular watercolour pencils for the skin areas next time and see how that works next to the Inktense pencils for the rest of the picture.

watercolour ink drawing

Also, before you launch into a drawing you want to be proud of, you do need to spend some time familiarising yourself with the pencils. For example, when I was using ‘bark’ and ‘ink black’ and shading them next to each other, at first on the paper they look very similar. However, when you add water, they look entirely different! In fact, always go very lightly when using black to shade areas, as it goes extremely intense with the water added. You can see from my drawing how the shading on the bodice is very black, but when I was colouring, it looked like it was a close tonal match to the ‘shiraz’ dark red. I also wasn’t very successful at mixing white with other shades, so I think I will need to practice that to see if I layer white over the top if it will have a better blend. Where I put ‘antique white’ and the ‘shiraz’ next to each other, they didn’t blend at all to make a paler shade. I really think Inktense products are meant for what the name suggests, intense, vibrant artwork, not subtle dainty drawings! If you love using watercolour pencils but don’t get the rich tones you’re really after, then this is the art product for you!

Testing the Derwent Inktense water soluble Ink pencils

I love the way none of the detail in your pencil drawing is lost. Adding the water manages to blend the colour out without losing any of the definition of the pencil marks. I had a quick try recently of using the Derwent Inktense pencils for drawing in some details, and the Derwent Inktense bars for the shading. I’ll be honest, I can’t wait to finish that picture, and I think that is how I will use the pencils most in the future. I also experimented with using them on wood veneer to give some colour to my pyrography drawings. For some reason, the colours weren’t quite as vibrant on wood, but still worked well, and the fact that the ink is permanent when water is added, means that I can decorate books and jewellery boxes and other day-to-day wooden items without worrying about the colour coming off. Keep an eye on my ByHelenHobden Etsy shop to see future products with this technique.

If you’d like to have a go yourself, Amazon seems to have the best price:

The blog post is in conjunction with a YouTube video I made showing me drawing the picture of Rain in the wedding dress, and talking about the pencils as I go along.

Art and Craft,
00no comment

Other posts you may like:

3 Days in Oxford – Day 2. The story of the photographs
October 12, 2016
If you haven’t yet seen Day 1, then you might like to follow this link and come back here later. The morning of my second day in Oxford was mainly spent walking from the Four Pillars Hotel in Sandford-on-Thames along the Thames path into Oxford. I’ve already written a detailed blog with photos about the journey in this post, so I’ll begin here where I left off, entering the city by Christchurch College. I sort-of meandered my way through cobbled streets and past various ancient University buildings until I came out at a place I remembered….
black and white photography project
What to do when your photos don’t match your Instagram! (A black and white photography project)
September 1, 2018
The use of Instagram means something different to different people, and I’ll write more about my feelings on that in another post, but briefly, I’ll tell you that my Instagram, @HelenHobden is fairly curated with some of my best photography included. However, whilst away in Connecticut, slouched on the hotel-room armchair, having a break from typing; I realised that the simple scene with my feet up on the arm would look great as a square-cropped photo in grainy high-contrast black and white….
Time to organise my photos + a massive Printerpix Black Friday offer
November 25, 2016
I have to admit, I miss the days of carefully placing photo prints into a sticky photo album; cutting bits off and overlapping where they don’t quite fit. Also putting every single photo in, even if it was awful, because you paid for it, it has to go in! Then I’d write little labels and cut them out so the future me would remember where we were and who I was with and then you fold over the clear cover, making sure there were no air bubbles. I have a stack of these extra-large albums about a metre and a half high in the cupboard in the guest-room! Nowadays people’s photos sit on their phones or on memory sticks, but I can’t bare not to have a tangible copy of my photos that I can look at without having to sit in front of a screen. This is where photobooks come in…..
Muchelney Abbey, Somerset – the story of the photographs
February 26, 2017
Last July my parents came to stay for a few days and as they are recent members of English Heritage, we looked around for local attractions near me in Somerset. Muchleney Abbey is (unsurprisingly) in the village of Muchelney on the Somerset levels with the nearest town being Langport. It’s in a beautiful peaceful spot, and the perfect location for a picnic, but as we didn’t come prepared, we bought ice creams from the little shop there, and then found a cute place for afternoon tea further down the road afterwards. Although the south cloister is still intact, sadly as usual, Henry VIII is to blame for the ruined state of the rest of the abbey. It is the Tudor Abbott’s house that can be explored properly….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.