Art Supply Review: Derwent Inktense Paint Pan Set

I wandered into my local art supply store recently to get a couple very specific pencils. But of course I had to browse. I wandered down the watercolor aisle muttering to myself, “I do not need anymore watercolor palettes.” So of course, I bought a new palette. But it’s different!!!! It’s the Derwent Inktense Paint Palette Set ($25). The set includes 12 small pans of color, a sponge along one edge and a portable waterbrush. The waterbrush is too long to be assembled. The top brush section cannot be screwed into the water reservoir bottom section and then still fit into the space at the bottom of the palette. Weird. I didn’t bother filling the waterbrush and instead used a watercolor brush but it seems like an odd choice. If the sponge section had been made smaller, I think the brush would have fit. Anyway…

If you are not familiar with the Derwent Inktense line, the line started with a variety of water-soluble colored pencils. The interesting thing about the Inktense pencils is that after water is added to create a watercolor effect, once dry, the color is no longer water soluble. So, its water color, until it dries and then it sticks where it is. For multimedia artists, art journalists and collagists, this is a very cool feature. Inktense pencils, and now the Paint Pan Sets, can be used like watercolors then dry and other water soluble art supplies can be used over the color.

The set includes a range of colors including an opaque white. Many watercolor sets will include an opaque white gouache pan but the Derwent Inktense set has a waterproof-when-dry “watercolor” white. This pan is particularly interesting for adding highlights, eye lights, and other touches of white over color.

The other colors include a cool yellow (sherbet lemon), bright orange, cherry (warm red), fuchsia, violet, turquoise, ionian green (forest green), Hooker’s Green (spring green), red oxide, Payne’s Grey (cool grey) and antique white.

Some of the colors show a lot of granulating when applied directly from the pan. I did begin to blend colors and add more water and the granulation wasn’t as apparent.

The swatch above is the opaque antique white which is slightly visible on white paper.

I played around with colors both blended and straight from the palette. I really like the turquoise shade, it is quite dark and really pretty.

Shown above is a close-up of the shadow which was added under the apple after the paint was dry so you can see how the colors can be layered without the previous color moving or changing. I really like this!

The above image shows the orange I painted with added Payne’s Grey and Antique White after the original orange color had dried. In previous efforts, I would have had to use a gel pen to create the white highlights which may or may not have stayed in place because gel pens are water-based as well.

Overall, I think the Inktense Paint Pan Set is a very cool addition to anyone’s art supply kit. I look forward to experimenting my layering these colors with a wider range of supplies. I do wish the pans of color were larger and that Derwent just skipped trying to squeeze a water brush into the kit as its a waste of space.

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were purchased with funds from our amazing Patrons. You can help support this blog by joining our Patreon. Please see the About page for more details.

Finally, I acquired a new iPhone last week and with its new fancy camera, I am trying to determine if its now higher quality than my Canon that I’ve been using for the last few years. Can you tell which photo below was taken with the iPhone and which was taken with the Canon?

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