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Derwent Procolour Review

Derwent Procolour Review

Derwent ProColour 36 Set

Derwent Procolour Review 

I am truly excited to announce that we here at COLORED PENCIL Magazine and The Art Gear Guide, are among the first to be introducing this fantastic new pencil from Derwent. As an art supply servant to you all, I am always striving to ensure I am ahead of the game and bringing to you, not only the best reviews, but also the first regarding new products to hit the shelves. 

I have been incredibly fortunate, in that Derwent have been kind enough to send me the full 72 set of their newest pencil, to the already magnificent Derwent pencil range, the "Derwent Procolour". With that, I have had time to really put this pencil through all manner of tests and conduct in-depth conversations with contacts at Derwent, ensuring that the information provided to you is 100% accurate. 

When I received the 72 set of "Derwent Procolour", it was so early in the game with respect to a release date, that the pencils arrived in a generic tin, as artwork for the "Derwent Procolour" had not yet been decided upon. I am happy to announce however that art work has now been selected and I feel the artwork is a fantastic representation of the "Derwent Procolour" pencils. 

Derwent Procolour In The Making

Derwent are the leading coloured pencil manufacturing company in the UK with a global reach, flying the British flag in a highly competitive world and becoming increasingly more so, as this versatile medium we all love grows in popularity. 

Derwent are always innovating, striving to deliver perfection to their customers and the "Derwent Procolour" line is a prime example in measurement of this promise. Derwent have been developing the Procolour line for approximately two years now, with the fruits of their dedicated craftsmanship about to be released to the adoring Derwent faithful and coloured pencil enthusiasts alike from all over the world. 

Features Of The Derwent Procolour

When information about the "Derwent Procolour" first started hitting the rumour mill, I started receiving an incredible amount of emails and Facebook messages. Most were from people asking me to confirm that Derwent were not getting rid of the Coloursoft. Apparently as the rumours began to snowball, the lose of the loved "Derwent Coloursoft" had apparently, somehow been eradicated. Thankfully this is most certainly not the case, in fact, to ease any fears of Derwent lineups falling off the shelves into obscurity, I can assure you that the "Derwent Procolour" is an addition to the family and not a replacement. 

The Procolour pencil is a round 8mm barrelled pencil, housing a 4mm core bursting with pigment and when I say bursting, I do mean bursting. With regards to the core, according to Derwent, it is a Wax based core with the application similar to that of an oil based pencil, which I concur. The barrel is a striking dark grey colour, sporting the renowned Derwent colour flash at the end of the barrel, enabling the identification of your pigment choice easy, whichever end of the pencil is visible. 

The markings on the pencil are thus, moving from tip to end, closest to the tip is printed "Made In Britain", I have spoke about this new marking on Derwent's line in review of the Derwent Graphite Pencils, if you would like to more about this check out the review here. Further along is the name of the company and the brand of pencil "Derwent Procolour", this is, as with all the lettering, printed in silver leaf. finally, toward the end of the pencil is printed the pigment color to that particular pencil, along with a numerical code.

Derwent ProColour Sets 

As with so many of Derwent's pencils, with the exception of one, the largest set available for the ProColour is 72. The range of set's in the ProColour selection are a 12 tin set with a UK price of £22.75, 24 tin set a £44.75, 36 tin set at £65.75 and finally the 72 set tin at £137.75. As I write this article, unfortunately no US, European, Asian or Australian prices have been released, however, as soon as they are, I will make the relevant amendments and update you all. 

Regarding the number I mentioned at the beginning of this article, written along side the color name on the barrel, this corresponds to the open stock ordering of the "Derwent Procolour". Each individual pencil, again, only UK prices at the minute, will cost £2.04 per pencil.  

Procolour Characteristics 

When I first opened the parcel sent to me, courtesy of Derwent and excitedly feasted my eyes upon the full set of 72 "Derwent Procolour", I knew I was going to have fun. I immediately grabbed a few different papers, Hot Pressed Watercolour, Cold Pressed Watercolor, some of Derwent's own fine Sketching paper and Hot Pressed Watercolor; I even thought I would use some Bristol Plate paper. I wanted to use a paper with very little, to no tooth and paper from the other side of that spectrum, some UART 600 sanded paper. 

I tested a few of the colors on all the papers and with the exception of the Cold Pressed Watercolor paper, the pencils performed beautifully. I really wasn't expecting much from the Bristol Plate paper, never the less, the results were beautiful, smooth, consistent and vibrant. 

After a while of using the Procolour, I quickly came to the conclusion that these pencils fall right in between the "Derwent Artist" and the "Derwent Coloursoft". It wasn't until a week or so later when I spoke to one of the Derwent representatives that they confirmed, this was their goal. I have to admit, I felt a little please with myself, almost like the wine connoisseur selecting the expensive wine as opposed to the house red. 

Derwent ProColour Fully sharpened using Derwent Superpoint Manual Sharpener. 

For me personally, I am a huge fan of the "Derwent Artists" pencils, however, I have received so many messages, comments and emails from subscribers telling me they find the Artists too hard. I have always maintained, that the "Derwent Coloursoft" is the UK's version of the US based Prismacolor Premier, only with far less breakage issues. Again, people have commented on the Coloursoft stating that they are too soft. For these reasons, I feel the Derwent Procolour is going to not only be a welcomed addition to the Derwent range, but a line that will develop in a very fast time it's own dedicated following. 

The core is firm, but not as firm as the "Derwent Artists", despite this, the pigment lay down of the Procolour is like that of a soft wax pencil, similar to the Coloursoft. The coverage is consistent and the pigment unbelievably plenty. A medium to heavy application delivers sheer vibrancy, however, as would always be the case, compromising the tooth of the paper and reducing the layering capability. Using a light hand produces an even coverage and an ample layering count of between five and six layers, depending on the paper. 

For those of you that enjoy using (OMS) Odourless Mineral Spirits, the Derwent Procolour reacts beautifully to this technique. After apply a generous amount of layers, the odourless mineral spirits liquefies the pigment allowing for a unique blending experience. Blending in general with the Procolour is again excellent using a pencil blender or even a blender marker. 

I decided to draw this Lilly on Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Plate, hopefully demonstrating the qualities of the Derwent Procolour on even the most challenging style of paper for a colored pencil. I wasn't able to quite get six layers on this paper, by approximately the fourth layer, the pigment became slightly resistant, which is excellent on this smooth paper. Once odourless mineral spirits was applied, more layering could comfortably take place. Given how little tooth this high quality paper has, the "Derwent Procolour" performed exactly like a professional grade art supply.

On using the UART 600 grade sanded paper; as you can expect, the layering was phenomenal. Although I didn't complete any art on this paper, I completed extensive testing, using Brush And Pencil's, Colored Pencil Powder Blender and fixative. The pigments from the "Derwent Procolour" remained strong and true throughout, delivering yet again professional results. 

My final test was on some Derwent Black Paper, here I laid down some colors to see what the results would be like, whether or not the pigment would be opaque or transparent. some of the were opaque and others transparent, for example, the Light Moss, Felt Grey and  Phthalo Blue were very opaque and the Spectrum Orange and Buttercup Yellow were transparent in nature. 

LightFast Ratings 

For a colored pencil artist who is looking to sell their work or advertising commissions, the lightfast aspect of a colored pencil is incredibly important. This rating refers to how long the pigment on the painting will remain as vibrant as the first day it was applied. 

With the "Derwent Procolour", a chart has been provided, outlining the colour palette along with the lightfast rating for each individual pencil. Ideally, colored pencil artists prefer this information to be on the actual pencil barrel, however not many pencil companies offer this style information and so referring to the a color chart is the next best thing. 

Derwent use a lightfast system known as the Blue Wool system, rating each pigment on a scale from 1-8, eight being the best in the rating scale and one the lowest, it is considered, any pigment rated above six is highly lightfast. On this bases 40 of the 72 Procolour Pencils are considered highly lightfast, rated 6 and above, which is a considerable chunk of the pencils. Of course, artists would prefer all the pencils to be in the 6-8 category, however, it is simply down to certain pigments just not delivering high lightfast qualities. 


All in all I have really enjoyed using the Procolour and now they sit in pride of place on my colored pencil stack system, right where I can reach them at all times. They are a beautiful pencil; a pencil I feel is going to plug the gap between the Derwent Artist fans and the Derwent Coloursoft Fans, whilst also embracing both Artist and Coloursoft users. 

The Derwent Procolour, in my opinion, is a truly excellent pencil and I feel guilty toward my devotion of my small 24 set of Derwent Artists, never mind, I am sure I will manage. 

As always, the opinions in this review are that of mine and mine alone, my thoughts on this product have not been influenced by any other entity. I always strongly advice, after reading my reviews and you feel like taking the plunge and investing in purchasing whatever the product may be I am reviewing, purchase a few individual pencils first before investing a hefty sum of money all in one go. I say investing, because I feel as an artist or colored pencil enthusiast in general, once you purchase the largest set you can afford, you will have that set for life, providing the open stock option is available to you. A one off payment for a lifetime of art and creativity.  

Thank you so much for reading this review, don't forget you can also see a real time video review of the Derwent Procolour over on my YouTube channel, simply click on the link. You can also follow me on various social media platforms which I would love to see you on, especially if you want to know what the next review is or what the next big giveaway is. Please pass on The Art Gear Guide links to all your art friends and family and help keep this amazing community alive.        `  

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