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The Derwent Colour Family continued: Derwent Artists Pencil

by Ellie Jakeman June 29, 2023

The Derwent Colour Family continued: Derwent Artists Pencil

The Derwent Colour Family continued: Derwent Artists Pencils

Previously in our June Blog we have looked at the Inktense family of products and their amazing textures, colours and various colour applications. In this article we would like to introduce you to more amazing coloured Derwent pencils . Each pencil collection has its own unique characteristics and performs slightly differently from each other.

The collections below are not watercolour pencils, graphite, pastels, or pastel pencils, we will cover them in a future articles, but they are however amazing colouring pencils, each with their own distinct colour range.

Derwent is a renowned brand and company located in the beautiful Lake District that offers a diverse range of high-quality coloured pencils, each tailored to suit different artistic needs and preferences whether you are professional artists, hobbyists, crafters or designers. Let's take a closer look at some of their popular coloured pencil ranges:

The Collections

  1. Derwent Lightfast Pencils: Oil based

    Derwent Lightfast Wooden Box Set of 100

    These pencils are specifically designed with lightfastness in mind, ensuring that your artwork remains vivid and true to its original colours for years to come. Lightfastness refers to a pigment's ability to resist fading when exposed to light. With Derwent Lightfast pencils, you can create stunning pieces of art with the confidence that your colours will stay vivid and rich over time. The revolutionary core is resistant to prolonged colour change ensuring artwork will not fade for up to 100 years under museum conditions. All colours are professional quality and comply with international lightfast testing standard, ASTM D6901 and Blue Wool Scale ISO 105. These amazing colour pencils are oil based which means you can use them with oil solvents to blend them even more, providing ultra smooth transitions of colour.

  1. Derwent Procolour pencils: Wax based

    Derwent Procolour Wooden Box of 72

    If you're looking for professional-grade coloured pencils, look no further than Derwent Procolour. These pencils are known for their smooth and highly pigmented cores, allowing you to achieve rich, intense colours with excellent coverage. They are also known for their strong point, making them perfect for fine detailed work and layering. They are designed to provide a balance between the softness of traditional wax-based coloured pencils and the durability of oil-based pencils. Procolour pencils are favoured by artists who require a high level of accuracy and control in their drawings and illustrations.

    Procolour pencils are also known for their exceptional lightfastness, making them a preferred choice for artists who want to create artwork that will stand the test of time. these excellent pencils are also dust free and easy to erase making them perfect for underdrawings before you commit to a more permanent pencil such as the Derwent lightfast range.

  1. Derwent Coloursoft pencils: Wax based

    Derwent Coloursoft Wooden Box Set 72 or Derwent Coloursoft Pencil Tin Sets

    For those who prefer a softer and velvety touch, Derwent Coloursoft pencils are an excellent choice. These pencils have a creamy texture that glides effortlessly across the page, providing a smooth and vibrant colour application. They are particularly well-suited for blending layering and creating delicate shades, giving your artwork a beautifully soft and luxurious finish, making them popular among artists who create detailed and realistic drawings, portraits, landscapes, and still life compositions

  2. Derwent Sketching pencils:

    Derwent Sketching 48 Wooden Box

    If you enjoy sketching and want a versatile pencil for both drawing and colouring, Derwent Sketching pencils are a fantastic option. These pencils have a slightly harder lead, making them ideal for sketching outlines, shading, and adding fine details to your artwork. They come in a range of earthy tones, perfect for creating lifelike sketches and capturing different textures.

  1. Derwent Coloured Drawing Pencils: Wax based


    Derwent Drawing Pencils Set of 6

    Derwent Drawing Pencils feature an earthy pallet of soft muted tones for a natural rustic feel. Thick smooth colour strip running through the barrel of the pencil provides lasting colour that looks superb on coloured papers. They have a high lightfast rating, and are great to handle with an 8mm Round Barrel and an extra wide 5mm Core. These coloured pencils have a creamy and soft lay down with a velvety finish, great for blending and layering. Excellent pigment strength and covering power, great for landscapes and natural scenes. 

  2. Derwent Studio pencils: Wax based

    Derwent Studio Pencil Metal Tin Sets

    Derwent Studio Pencils 48 Wooden Box


    If you're seeking a balanced pencil that offers both precision and versatility, Derwent Studio pencils are a great choice. These pencils have a firm and finely pointed core, allowing for detailed work and crisp lines. They are known for their blendability and smooth application, making them a reliable choice for a variety of artistic styles and techniques. Comfortable to hold with a hexagonal barrel making it easy to grip for precise control and detailed work.

  3. Derwent Metallic Pencils: Wax based

Derwent Metallic Pencils Set of 12


Derwent Metallic Pencils are a type of colored pencil manufactured by Derwent. These pencils are unique because they are specifically designed to produce metallic and shimmering effects in artwork. They are widely used by artists, illustrators, and hobbyists for various creative projects. They work on all types of papers smooth or with a slight tooth, but stand out on black, toned or dark papers.

Here are some of their key features and characteristics.

  1. Metallic Finish: Derwent Metallic Pencils are formulated with special metallic pigments that allow artists to achieve a metallic sheen and reflective quality in their drawings or artworks.

  2. Assortment of Colors: The pencil set typically includes a range of metallic colors such as gold, silver, bronze, copper, and various other metallic hues. Some sets may also include additional colors like blue, green, purple, and more, providing artists with a versatile palette.

  3. Smooth and Blendable: These pencils are known for their smooth and creamy texture, making them easy to apply and blend. They can be layered and mixed to create unique color combinations and gradients.

  4. Versatile Application: Derwent Metallic Pencils can be used on various surfaces, including paper, cardstock, colored papers, and even dark or black paper. They are suitable for a wide range of artistic applications, including drawing, colouring, sketching, and mixed media projects.

  5. Lightfastness: Derwent Metallic Pencils are designed to have good lightfastness, meaning they are resistant to fading over time. This ensures that the artwork created with these pencils retains its dynamic metallic appearance for an extended period.

  6. Compatibility with Other Media: These pencils can be used in conjunction with other art materials such as regular colored pencils, watercolor pencils, or markers, allowing artists to combine different effects and techniques in their artwork.

  7. Sharpening: Derwent Metallic Pencils can be easily sharpened using a regular pencil sharpener. It is recommended to use a sharpener with a larger hole to avoid breaking the soft pencil core.

Derwent Metallic Pencils offer artists the ability to add a touch of shimmer, luminosity, and metallic brilliance to their artwork. Whether used for detailed line work, highlights, or creating overall metallic effects, these pencils provide a unique and eye-catching element to artistic creations.

What techniques can I use with Derwent's coloured pencils?

  1. Derwent Lightfast Pencil techniques:

  • Layering: Lightfast pencils are known for their ability to retain their vivid colours over time. Experiment with layering different colours to create depth and dimension in your artwork.

  • Burnishing: Use a colourless blender or a lightfast pencil with a similar colour to create a smooth, polished effect by blending the layers together.

  • Fine detailing: The fine point of Lightfast pencils makes them great for adding intricate details and fine lines to your artwork.

  1. Derwent Procolour Pencil techniques:

  • Blending: Procolour pencils have a smooth texture that blends easily. Use a blending stump, a dry brush, or even your finger to blend colours seamlessly.

  • Burnishing: Apply firm pressure with a Procolour pencil or a colourless blender to create a smooth, waxy layer that intensifies the colours and adds a polished finish 

  1. Derwent Coloursoft Pencil techniques:

  • Layering and blending: Coloursoft pencils have a creamy texture, making them ideal for layering and blending colours smoothly. Experiment with different pressure and layering techniques to achieve the desired effect.

  • Burnishing: Apply heavier pressure to blend and smooth the colours together, creating a soft, velvety appearance.

  • Sgraffito: Apply a layer of Coloursoft pencil colour and then use a sharp tool like a craft knife or the edge of another pencil to scratch or scrape away the top layer, revealing the colours underneath. This technique is great for creating textured or scratched effects. 

4. Derwent Sketching Pencil techniques:

  • Hatching and cross-hatching: Use light, parallel strokes (hatching) or intersecting lines (cross-hatching) to create shading and texture in your sketches.

  • Smudging: Blend and soften the pencil lines by using a blending stump or your finger to achieve a more realistic and smooth appearance.

  • Sgraffito: As with Coloursoft, you can use a sharp tool to scratch or scrape away layers of the Sketching pencil to create interesting textures.



  1. Derwent Studio Pencil techniques:

  • Detailed line work: The fine point of Studio pencils is excellent for creating precise and detailed line work. Use them for intricate patterns, fine outlines, or precise shading.

  • Controlled layering: Studio pencils are well-suited for controlled layering, allowing you to build up colours gradually and achieve a range of tones and hues.

  • Stippling: Create texture and shading by applying small dots or stippling motions with the pencil, varying the pressure and density of the dots for different effects.

Further techniques

  • Texture and Mark Making: Experimenting with different textures and mark-making techniques can add interest and depth to your artwork. You can create various textures by altering the pressure, direction, and angle of your pencil strokes. Try cross-hatching, stippling, scumbling, or using different pencil strokes to depict different textures and surfaces.

  • Highlights and Lifting: Both Coloursoft and Procolour pencils allow for the creation of highlights and the lifting of colour. To create highlights, use a white pencil or leave areas of the surface untouched for a brighter effect. If you make a mistake or want to lighten an area, you can use an eraser or a colourless blender pencil to lift off some of the pigment.

  • Mixed Media:Coloursoft and Procolour pencils can be used in combination with other art mediums for mixed media effects. Try incorporating watercolours, markers, ink, or acrylic paints to enhance your coloured pencil

Remember, these pencil techniques are just starting points, and exploring and experimenting with your coloured pencils will help you discover your own unique artistic style, the best way to explore and master these techniques is through practice and experimentation. Play with different pressures, layering strategies, and combinations of techniques to discover your own style and achieve the desired effects with Derwent coloured pencils.

No matter which range you choose, Derwent coloured pencils are trusted by artists around the world for their consistent quality and excellent performance. Whether you're a professional artist or just starting your creative journey, these pencils are sure to inspire and enhance your artwork. Enjoy your journey of creativity and happy colouring

What surfaces are best to use with Derwent's coloured pencils?

When using professional-grade coloured pencils like Procolour, Coloursoft, Lightfast, Drawing and it is important to choose the right surface that can enhance the qualities of the pencils and provide optimal results. However choosing the right substrate for your project will always come down to personal preference. Here are some of the best surfaces to use with these types of coloured pencils:

  1. Drawing Paper: Choose a heavyweight, acid-free drawing paper with a smooth or medium-toothed surface. It should be sturdy enough to handle multiple layers of coloured pencil and prevent excessive smudging. Look for papers specifically designed for coloured pencil work.


  1. Bristol Board: Bristol board is a type of heavyweight, smooth-surfaced paper that works well with coloured pencils. It allows for precise details and smooth blending. Choose a high-quality, acid-free Bristol board for best results.


  1. Mixed Media Papers: Mixed media paper is versatile and can handle different art mediums, including coloured pencils. Look for mixed media paper with a slightly textured surface that can hold the pigment of the pencils while providing enough tooth for layering and blending.

  2. Pastel Paper: Pastel paper, also known as sanded paper, has a rough surface that holds coloured pencil well and allows for easy layering and blending. It provides a unique texture and can create interesting effects when combined with coloured pencils.

  3. Illustration paper and Board: Illustration boards have a rigid surface and are available in various textures. They are suitable for coloured pencil work, especially if you want to create highly detailed and precise artwork.

When selecting a surface, consider the effect you want to achieve. Smooth surfaces are ideal for detailed work and blending, while textured surfaces can add depth and visual interest. Additionally, make sure the chosen paper is acid-free to ensure the longevity of your artwork.

Remember to test different surfaces and experiment to find the one that best suits your artistic style, creativity and preferences.

Papers for colouring pencils 

Bristol Board and Illustration paper


Drawing and Multimedia papers


Derwent accessories - essential for the budding artists


To conclude Derwent's coloured pencil collections offer the best solutions and innovation for all aspiring artists, hobbyists and designers. Having the best tools in your creative arsenal will inevitably develop and improve your creativity tenfold.


Ellie Jakeman
Ellie Jakeman

I have had a strong interest in the visual and creative arts since a very early age. After completing an Art and Design Degree and Post graduate studies I have taught Art and Design, Fashion and Textiles, Textile design , Fine Art print and Illustration for over 20 years. Before teaching I was a freelance artist and illustrator and decided 4 years ago I would return to freelance and commissioned work. I have created many domestic and commercial murals for hospitals and hospices. I work part time for ARTdiscount as a content creator and product tester.

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