Derwent Inktense 72 unboxing

Derwent Inktense pencils are truly unique. These pencils can be used dry but they are water soluble. When mixed with water they turn into a vibrant ink that you can use in a number of ways to create vibrant and different works of art.

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Inky Love

I fell in love with Derwent Inktense in about January of 2016.   I had just started to join some Facebook coloring groups and seen beautiful colored drawings that colorists had created with Inktense pencils.   I was desperate to try them, but in Australia there seemed to be a pencil con going on.     There was either a shortage of pencils or the stockists that did have them were charging extremely high prices.      I did not know if I would like the pencils or not.  I didn’t want to commit too much money to them.   I also wanted enough pencils that I could use to color a picture rather than just test it so open stock was not an option.

It actually took me a full day to try and find some in stock in Sydney including browsing with a purpose online and finally going to the trendy art shops of Sydney.     I returned home with a set of 12 and ended up paying about $12 more than the current rate 🙁

It was love at first layer!     Once I used the pencils I knew that I wanted the large set that had all the colors in it, which is currently 72.         It wasn’t until the sales that are on mid year that a great deal online convinced me to get the full set.     Even with shipping to Australia from the US, it was far more cost effective than buying locally.       I really would prefer to shop locally but financially it is not always possible or economically viable.  Sorry Sydney art shops 🙁


What are Inktense Pencils?

Derwent Inktense pencils are completely different from other pencils on the market because the core is actually ink that stains the surface.     This means that it is ideal for a number of projects.   You can use it on paper and fabric for a permanent result.

You can also purchase the Inktense as blocks.    Blocks are really useful if you want to color a larger area,   you can grate some of the block into a bowl and activate it with water making a liquid color and adding more inktense if you wish.   Or you can use a wet brush on the block to grab some color and lay it down (you can do the same with the nib of the pencil as well for smaller areas).

You can also use your blocks as giant pencils to lay down on your surface and then activate it afterwards.

Activating Your Inktense

You can use these pencils dry but the real magic happens when you activate them.    You can activate them with water with either a brush or a water barrel.     You can also activate them with the blender marker from the Tombow markers (this is really useful for small areas where you do not want to “wet” the area much.   You can also activate them with fabric medium or aloe vera gel as I demonstrated in my video of coloring on a fabric cushion with Inktense, which you can see below.

Once they are activated you can start creating magic.   You can use them one color at a time, or just like your normal pencils you can blend colors together.    You can also wait until the first color dries and then add more color afterwards and you can also apply more color even when the canvas is wet.  Due to the number of effects you can create, and the vibrancy of the ink, you can really achieve some amazingly beautiful color combinations with these pencils.

Consider your “Canvas”

Whilst you can use your Inktense pencils in your coloring books you need to consider the paper and your coloring style.     If the paper is thin, it is not going to hold a lot of “wet” so the inktense water activation would need to be used sparingly or activated with a tombow marker instead.    For medium quality coloring book again, you will need to be sparing with the water but it will hold better however be prepared that the paper will probably buckle.   If in doubt, test discreetly in the book and see how they react.     The ideal paper would be watercolor paper as it is stronger and designed specifically for wet mediums.

When using Inktense on fabric you really need to be careful about the type of fabric you use it on.  Some fabrics absorb a lot more wetness than others and this tends to make the inktense spread.    In order to control some of the spread you can use a fabric medium which gives you a thicker activation liquid or the budget fabric medium that I use,  aloe vera gel 🙂   The end result on fabric will really depend on the type of fabric you use.


Inktense works really well with silk as long as you are creating a free flowing design and are happy for it to flow on the fabric.    If you are trying to contain it within an outline that may prove  challenging 🙂 I haven’t tried it yet, but one way that I’m thinking of trying to control the flow is by using candle wax to mask off the areas that I do not want inktense color on.   I can then remove the candle wax by laying paper over it and ironing it.

Inktense sets permanently on fabric once it is activated so you do not need to iron it to permanently set it.      It is also important to remember that you need to activate all the inktense on the fabric.  Any unactivated inktense will activate once you wash or wet the fabric which could ruin your design.

Derwent have a lovely color chart of the Inktense pencils that you can download from here but you should also make your own color swatch of the colors, as the barrels do not match the color of the ink.

You can buy Derwent Inktense 72 set here

You can buy Derwent Inktense 36 set here
You can buy Derwent Inktense 24  set here You can buy Derwent Inktense 12 set here You can buy Derwent Inktense 6 set here Kuretake Water Brush – Medium

Happy coloring x










About the author


I'm Lea and I love everything to do with coloring! If it is a coloring book, a poster or even a bookmark that you can color in, I'm all over it. Of course, a girl has to have some pencils, markers, gelly rolls, pastels and what not to make those pictures pretty and I love those as well.

Whilst my coloring style lacks skill, I am enthusiastic and focused on enjoying the moment and having fun.

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