The Art Gear Guide  

The Art Gear Guide is your one stop shop for the most recent, up to date, honest reviews on all your favourite art supply products. 


Derwent Artists Black And White

Derwent Artists Black And White

Derwent Artists Black And White 

As you may or may not be aware, I have just returned from my holidays in the beautiful Lake District. We don't live too far from the Lakes and we have been going there on holiday for the past 15 years. We normally stay in a little town called Keswick and Keswick just happens to also be the home of one of my favourite coloured pencil manufactures, Derwent. Their world famous pencil museum is located in Keswick along with a shop where you can purchase anything you desire from their extensive range.

Unfortunately, back in December 2015, Storm Desmond completely devastated the area along with floods, it took the entire area months to rebuild and Derwent Pencil Museum was no exception. Derwent were hoping to be back up and running by June 2016, but this was not to be, due to unforeseen issues, the refurbishment schedule was put back. Needless to say when we arrived in Keswick and the first place I went to visit was the museum, I was incredibly sad to see it still closed. However, this was not going to stop me from purchasing some more awesome Derwent products. 

New Pencils

A week or so before going on holiday, I had seen someone selling on Ebay, a set of 6 pencils called the Derwent Artists Black and White range. I had obviously never heard of them and so took a look on the Derwent site, but no information was listed. At that point I thought it might have been a scam, but I still wanted to check and see. 

My daughter and I headed for the Pencil Shop in Keswick to take a look, but nothing was on the shelves, so I asked a lady stood behind the counter and this was perhaps the best moment of my holiday. I got talking to a lady called Dawn, who just happened to be the Museum Manager. I explained to her what I had seen and why I was in the shop looking for the them. Dawn asked me to wait and came back a minute or so later with the pencils in her hand, I was over the moon. Dawn checked the pricing on them but there was nothing at all, it had turned out that Derwent had not officially released them, which was why no official pricing had been given.  

Dawn and I got talking and I explained to her about my web site and how I became hooked on art and in particular coloured pencils. The next thing I knew, I had been handed the beautiful Derwent Artists Black and White set along with other stuff to review, I was absolutely over the moon and couldn't thank her enough. Unfortunately for me I still had two weeks on holiday left and I was itching to get back home and review them and try them out. 

The Review 

So now I am home and this is my review of the Derwent Artists Black and White coloured pencils. As you can see from the images, there is only 6 pencils in the range, three dark and three light. Also you may have noticed they are called Artists pencils, just like the popular Artists line Derwent already produce, well these pencils are from that very same model. 

The barrel is an thick 8mm barrel and the core is a ample 4mm core, jammed packed with some of the most beautiful pigments you will find. I am not sure if Derwent have got round to selling these pencils in open stock yet, however, I am sure they will be available in such a form, obviously as soon as I find out I will let you know. As with the Artists range, the Derwent Artists Black and White hold a point incredibly well, layering is a pleasure and they blend particularly well with solvents or just dry. In fact, Derwent suggest these pencils be used to help with bending in conjunction with other pencils from the Artists range. 

Pencil Design

As we can see along the side of the pencil, it now says "Made in Britain" as opposed to "Made in England" which most of your current Derwent pencils will say. This is something new that Derwent had applied for and were granted permission to add on their labels. Further along the pencil is the companies name Derwent, followed by the name of the colour and the corresponding number, which leads me to believe that the Black and White range will be open stock also. On the very tip of the pencil is a dash of colour, corresponding to the pigment in the pencil. 

As far as pricing for the six pencil set goes, on the Derwent web site they are being sold for £10.15 which I happen to think is excellent value for money. Also the issue of Lightfastness as always is a big one, they are definitely lightfast, but at the minute, I am unsure of the scale at which Derwent has marked them. Anywhere between 6 and 8 indicate high lightfastness rating but this specific information is not yet on the Derwent site, but then again, Derwent have only just officially launched the set.

I have provided some swatches of the pigments layed down on Derwent Sketch paper and also on Black Winsor and Newton paper for the lighter colours. Unfortunately, I don't think the camcorder on my Youtube review or the Nikon I used for the images on this review have done the colours justice. 

The Colours

The six colours in the set are Raven, Midnight, Forest, Pure, Oyster and Arctic. Raven is the deep black pencil, Forest has a beautiful deep green infused, this colour is by far my own personal favourite. Next is Midnight which is a rich dark blue blended with black. The lighter colours are much more subtle, but still incredibly beautiful. The Oyster is a white infused with a hint of pink and the Arctic is white infused with a light baby blue, perfect for shadows on white fur, snow or even ice, as the name would suggest. Finally is the Pure white pencil, which on dark paper is absolutely fine, but I don't personally think it is as good as Derwent's Chinese White, that pencil is a tough one to beat.

I absolutely love the Derwent Artists Black and White coloured pencils, even before I got them, I really wanted to try them the first time I seen them on Ebay. Coloured Pencil artists always refrain from using black in their art as it is too flat, however, these new pencils from Derwent will help with this issue of flat blacks. On the opposite end of the scale, coloured pencil artists are always on the look out for a good, opaque and archival white, I don't think this is what you get with the Oyster or Arctic, but the do offer something very special and unique for the coloured pencil artist.     

Derwent Drawing Coloured Pencils

Derwent Drawing Coloured Pencils

Derwent Studio Colored Pencils

Derwent Studio Colored Pencils