Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Derwent Coloursoft Pencils

There were lots of e-mails whizzing around the coloured pencil world yesterday as we got the first announcement that Derwent are launching a new range of coloured pencils - Derwent Coloursoft Pencils - in May 2006.

There's nothing official as yet on the Derwent company website however an announcement was made by Bob Ebdon, founder of the United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society, and one of the professional coloured pencil artists involved in both the development of the new pencils and artwork produced using the new pencils which will be featured in its launch. Bob has very helpfully produced images of the colour chart he has made with his sample pack, a photo of what the new pencils look like and their packaging and the artwork he has produced using the new pencils. You can see his announcement and view these images here.

Since the demise of the Berol Karisma range of wax-based colour pencils (the European version of the Sanford Prismacolor range) last year (I'm still buying up old stock where I can find it!) and the Stabilo Softcolor range there has been a marked gap in the production of coloured pencils in Europe. Faber Castell Polychromos and Lyra Rembrandt pencils are emphatically oil-based pencils and, along with the Caran D'Ache Pablo range, I like and use them a lot. However, I am beginning to get concerned about my dwindling supplies of Karismas with their buttery soft experience particularly in relation to those colours which I could only find in the Karisma range.

Bob praises the performance of the new Derwent Coloursoft range and his colour chart suggests that the colour range looks very promising. I can see evidence of a very good range of greens - including yellow greens - and some of the coloured greys that I use a lot of which are difficult to find in other ranges ('grey lavender', a deeper shade of 'grey green', 'loganberry', 'blackberry'). I'm also very pleased to see the 'blush pink' which appears to be a coral shade of pink which is a colour which is missing right across every range I know of. The 'ginger' shade also looks like it might be a little less 'earth' related than some of the mid brown shades on offer elsewhere. The major omission appears to be breadth in the aqua/turquoise shades - which I also use a lot. But since I frequently mix brands when using coloured pencils I'm less bothered by this as these are very adequately catered for in other ranges.

Bob's artwork, produced using a trial set of 24 colours, also indicates that the pencils provide a pigment rich experience and he's very satisfied with the softness of the new pencils.

I've never been a big user of Derwent pencils as I personally have always found them too dry and scratchy - and I spoke to one of their representatives at the Artist and Illustrators Exhibition at some length about this problem last year. I haven't been the only one who was less than satisfied with the performance of Derwent pencils and I'm really pleased they've listened to various artists' gripes on this topic and have responded with a new range - which sounds very promising! I'll certainly be giving them a try. Now if we could just get them to make them with a thinner barrel as well so they fit in all the pencils sharpeners we'll be laughing!

I'm also including links to parts of the Derwent site which provide useful summary information for those using coloured pencils
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  1. As usual, your reviews and reflections are so very very useful. I'll look forward to hearing more about these new Derwents.

  2. Ditto to what Karen said. I'll be keeping my eyes open; especially to look for colors to fill in gaps in the Prisma range.

  3. Hello,
    thank you for your review... it´s always interesting to hear about new materials.

    By the way congratulations to your membership in the Society of Graphic Fine Art. It seems that my previous comment there has been lost somehow.

  4. Thanks Karen, Maggie and Martin

    Thanks Martin - I'm afraid that there were major problems with the Blogger database over the weekend and I know I has having problems getting comments that I approved to register. I don't know if any were lost in the process but I'll go and see if I can sort out what happened.

  5. Thanks for the news about this new pencil line, Katherine! I hope you'll give us your own up close and personal review when you can get your hands on some.



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