DISCLAIMER: The following review involves my personal opinions and is in no way meant to promote or defame any of the products I mention. I am in no way affiliated with the brand(s) and am not being paid to promote any goods. The copyrights on the products remain with the brand(s) and this review is merely a culmination of my personal experiences with the material.
Colour pencils. These are tools that, if used well, can bring about magic. On the flip side, they can also bring some less-than-brilliant effects to the paper (trust me, I know!). So, I figured I’d share with you my opinions on the colour pencils I use- the Derwent Coloursoft 24 tin. (Do click on the images to enlarge them for a closer look.)
Here’s what my tin looks like:
Obviously, I use some colours more than the others *cough* Black *cough*, and the design on the cover varies from batch to batch. Also, the colours may not be in the same order as mine are; I’m a bit obsessed with organising according to colour.
Anyway, there’s a wide range of colours, and here’s what they look like on paper:
First of all, I like how the names are not all mystical in a way that gets annoying when you’re in a hurry to find the right colour: Lime Green is the colour of green limes! At the same time, the names aren’t drab, either. Dark Terracotta is such a fascinating name!
As you can see, the colours are rather pigmented and very vibrant. Almost every tone has at least two shades, which facilitates colour mixing, and is really very helpful when it comes to monotone drawings. (Okay, the white won’t show up on white paper. I just put it in there because it was a part of the set….and I may or may not have had an extra swatch slot.)
A great thing about these is that they sharpen to a fine point, making intricate work extremely easy.
On the other hand, the pencils are very soft and so need frequent sharpening. Hence, the size of my wee Black pencil!
How well do they blend?
I used a regular tissue to blend the ends of the swatch blocks into each other, and this is how it turned out.
Now as is visible, the colours that have been drawn out blend very well . That is to say, the colours blend well into each other, as long as they are in thin layers. The edges of the swatch blocks, however, are still visible, and that is a big disadvantage when it comes to these pencils. If you’re looking to blend, a light hand is very necessary, or it’s going to leave streaks everywhere!
I also made a colour wheel of sorts, using a blending stump this time.
On the outermost circle, I used the colours Red, Blue and Acid yellow, and blended them into one another. The inner circle included Royal Purple, Green and Bright Orange in addition to these. So, they blend well into each other, but the edges are still visible. It’s a pet peeve with me, having rough edges, so I pile thin layers of colour on, instead of going all out with the first stroke.
Another thing I’ve noticed about these is that once you’ve blended for a reasonable while, the colour turns glossy- that is to say, the tooth of the paper is lost. I’ve tried this on various types of papers, so I know it’s because of the pencils. This is fine if you’re done with that area, but can be a menace, should you want to add more colours on to that spot.
How well do they erase off?
Obviously, erasability is a very important criterion when it comes to pencils of any kind.
I used a blunt edge of a hard rubber eraser to rub off some of the colour, and this is what it turned out to look like:
The pencils erase off reasonably well, although they do leave a lot of residue. Although, considering colour pencils I’ve used in the past, these are miracles in wood casings! As is visible, however, they do this peculiar thing where they “drag”, so to speak. See those colour tracks between the swatch blocks? Those were made solely by erasing. Why is that so important? It is awfully annoying if you mess up a dark patch surrounded by lighter colours. The darker shade drags out into the lighter ones, and you have to erase all of it and start over. This happens if I draw the pupils wrong and the subject has light irises. Extremely troublesome! Again, thinner layers erase off completely, even with kneaded erasers, so the key to this is piling on thin layers!
Value for money
The prices online range anywhere from £32.00 to £34.00. As with most other Derwent products, these are expensive, but as with most other Derwent products, these also come in smaller sets of 6 and 12, which are cheaper. They also come in a specialised set of skin tones, which I might do a mini-review on later.
The 24 tin has some shades I don’t use very much- too many browns in there for me, and not enough blues! So if you’re just starting out with colour pencils, I’d probably suggest the smaller packs, or just buying individual shades you like.
Alright, time to do the math.
Here are a few ratings from 0 to 10, 10 being the best at a particular aspect:
Price: 5.0/10.0 Expensive, but given the wide shade range, I’d say it was almost worth it.
Range of tones: 7.0/10.0 As I said, a very wide range. I did have to knock a few points off, since some shades are not very useful, at least for the kind of drawing I do.
Finish: 7.5/10.0 They work well on most kinds of paper and adjust to the grain of the paper. Sometimes, however, they can get streaky, so that’s a major downer for me.
Blending: 5.0/10.0 Not very blendable when it comes to thick colour layers, as I said before. Yet, these are actually some of the better blending pencils I’ve used. From a non-comparative point of view, however, they could be a lot better. And then there’s that thing with it going all glossy, too.
Erasability: 6.0/10.0 Very dark tones leave very dark stains, and then there’s that issue with the dragging.
Final Verdict: 6.0/10.0
They are some of the best colour pencils I’ve used, but they’re definitely not perfect- or maybe I just have very high standards when it comes to colours! Either way, if you’re on a budget, I wouldn’t recommend these- well not the 24 set, at least. They work well, but they could be a lot better!
Finally, here are some pieces I’ve used the Derwent Coloursoft pencils on:
As with the previous review, I’ve tried to be as thorough as I could, but do feel free to point out anything I may have missed out on. Also, have you used these, and if so, how well do they work for you?
I hope this review was helpful, and if you do try these out, let me know how it went for you!
Thanks for reading, and have an amazing week!