Currently Browsing: Derwent 11 articles

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Derwent Shade and Tone Set

Manufacturers of art materials are always looking for new ways to bring existing products to more people, often in different forms. The Derwent Shade and Tone Set is a recent example of that. I’m not testing a lot of stuff right now (downsizing, blah, blah, blah; and a lot of paint I want to use […]

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A Look At New Pens From Derwent

Above: Sketch of Donald Sutherland using the Derwent Graphik Line Maker .3 in Sepia, in a handmade book (6.5 x 9 inches approx.) containing Arches Text Laid. You can see heavy ink lines from a different pen showing through this lightweight paper on the right-hand page. This is actually two reviews in one. I'm reviewing […]

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Derwent XL Graphite—Big Bars of Graphite

See the full post for details.

A Lovely Long Drawing by Chrys Allen

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Lightfastness Tests for Different Media

See the full post for details.

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See What Happens When You Miss a Sketch Out!?

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Black Pencils: Some Recommendations

Black pencil recommendations and an impromptu give away.

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A Bit on Selecting Colored Pencils and Luminance 6901 Colored Pencils From Caran d’Ache

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Left: lightfast test on Luminance 6901 Colored Pencils. Yep, since they are already tested it’s sort of a moot point, but I wanted to try it out. Left is the control and right is the exposed sheet. No visible fading. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

People just starting to work in colored pencils can easily be overwhelmed with the choice in brands. Limiting yourself to artist quality pencils (and you really do need avoid all student grade pencils) alone will give you more than a handful of great choices.

My advice to people is to go to a store that sells open stock and test a few pencils in the same colors in different lines. By comparing similar reds across 3 or 4 lines of pencils you’ll begin to see differences that will matter to you: how waxy or dry does the pencil feel upon application; how hard or soft does the pencil feel when you work it across the paper; does it hold a nice point; does the lead tip crack as you are working; how easy is it to blend two different colors; how much does the line you draw smudge when you rub it with your finger; and on and on—all the questions that mean something to you about how you already work or how you would like to work with colored pencils. (Take a piece of your favorite drawing paper with you to conduct your test on a familiar surface.)

With that information you’re able to purchase pencils and begin your drawing adventure.

Audible Sigh of Relief: Derwent Drawing Lightfast Test

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Left: Lightfast test for Derwent Drawing. (A) is the control, (B) is the exposed portion of the test. I'm relieved to say there was no visible fading. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

After being burned badly by Derwent Graphitints I decided to test one of my favorite Derwent products which I had always just trusted: Derwent Drawing.

These thick colored pencils with a muted color range and elegant clear varnished barrels, were first introduced in a set of 5 or 6 (it's been so long I really can't remember; the Dick Blick site says they were first introduced in 1986; I found them after reading an article in Step-by-Step Graphics on illustrator Peter de Sève). The set contained the essential drawing colors such as Ivory, Chocolate Brown, Sanguine, White, Yellow Ochre—you get the idea.

I always loved these pencils because they were drier and less waxy in their feel and application than regular wax pencils. They still had a waxy binder so it wasn't like using pastels (which I can't use because of allergies and asthma). They were always a happy drawing medium for me. Something that married well with watercolor. The black made an excellent pencil for sketching Emma and Dottie (black and white Alaskan Malamutes). When I photocopied those sketches to use as transfers for making carvings the lines were always crisp and clean. If I scanned those sketches and turned them into bitmaps they retained their pencil stroke quality when printed out in photocopier artist books.

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Graphitints Revisited and Paper

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Before leaving the topic of Graphitints I wanted to make a comment about the blog comments, or some of them, because several people writing in had questions and I wasn’t sure how best to address them. So I’m going to do that in this post rather than answer the individual emails. This might not be protocol for blogs but it is going to work for me this morning, while I also work out some more features of this blogging software.

1. When buying art materials realize that a lot of companies don’t care that what they are selling isn’t archival because there is a huge buying population that also doesn’t care. (We need to find that buying

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