Derwent Inktense Paper Review

One of the most common questions asked by beginner colored pencil artists in Facebook forums revolves around what pencils to buy and also what paper to pair it with. Recently I did a review of one of Derwent’s latest addition to their product line – Lightfast paper. Fans of the Lightfast and INKTENSE colored pencils can now pair their favorite with a specially designed paper formulated to perform with each respective product.

If you missed Part 1 of this 2-part series you can read that HERE.

For this review as I did, with the Lightfast line, I will be using the colored pencils the paper is specifically formulated for each to show how the paper performs under ideal conditions.

I was fortunate to receive these samples from COLORED PENCIL Magazine to do my own assessment. I, of course,  am also excited to share with you if these papers are viable contenders amongst the handful of favorites currently being used.

The opinions expressed in this blogpost are my own and I have not been paid to give a favorable review. I, like many of you, rely on the reviews and feedback of people I respect and trust and there is no value to me to provide a review that is misleading or coerced. Please do however feel free to try these papers for yourself and form your own opinions, as every artist will have slightly different preferences.

Part 2


The paper has pretty standard features and texture-wise feels similar to a typical cold-pressed watercolor paper to the touch. I like that it’s a heavier weight paper as well which means it should be able to withstand multiple layers and heavier water applications.

Inktense Paper Features:

  • 100% cotton
  • Cold pressed
  • 300 gsm/140lb
  • Natural white
  • Acid-free
  • Robust and absorbent to withstand multiple layers
  • Maximizes the performance of the pencils

This is my second time reviewing INKTENSE pencils. For a look at my more detailed first review of the pencils themselves, you can read that HERE.

Inktense Pencil Features:

  • Permanent when dry
  • Intense and vibrant ink-like colors
  • Suitable for fabric and other surfaces
  • Can be worked over without affecting the previous layer
  • Water-soluble pencil
  • 8mm round barrel 4mm core

Derwent has very consistent packaging across all of its lines. The sturdy metal tins that the pencils come in feature popular YouTube artist Lisa Clough of Lachri Fine Art. Many artists including myself have learned from Lisa’s videos, so it’s a great thing to see such an accomplished artist featured on the cover of this product.

The tin features information on the company and product in English, French, German, and Spanish. This is a quality feature I really appreciate about Derwent because it shows that they want to be accessible to artists who speak different languages.

The barrel of the pencil is a natural wood with a blue band separating the pencil color indicator. This indicates that it is a water-soluble product. In gold foil lettering, we can see the brand and line name, color name, number, and the “Made in Britain” markings. The color fidelity on the color indicators is fairly accurate. In some cases, however, it looks darker than the actual pencil color. The wood definitely feels high quality which is always a desirable feature.

The lightfast ratings according to the Derwent website on this product appear to be quite excellent across most colors. The typicals warmer hues tend to have lower ratings, however. This is something to keep in mind if you plan to sell your original work made with this product.

For more information, you can download your copy of the chart HERE 

Because of the high quality of wood and lead in these pencils, they sharpen quite went to a point and hold that point. It’s important to note that the success of your sharpening has a lot to do with the sharpener you are using as well. EVERY colored pencil will break from time to time which is why it’s also important to avoid dropping them on a hard surface.

My first impression was that this is paper is very much like your typical cold-pressed watercolor paper with a more visible texture and tooth.  It’s more of a cream in color though and not actually a bright white though, so keep that in mind. I wouldn’t recommend this paper for an artwork you weren’t planning to use a water-soluble product on. As you can see it would take a very long time to neutralize the look of the texture on this paper with dry colored pencil alone. The Inktense pencils are true to their name, and you don’t need a lot of dry color on your paper to get a saturated color result once water is applied.

It was really easy to cover the surface with color quickly and still apply multiple layers. Because Inktense is permanent between dry layers, this makes it really easy to add multiple layers and not have muddy colors. There is more than enough tooth on the paper to accomplish this as well.

For advanced blending, I thought these pencils and papers worked well together. Once my wet blending layers were dry I was able to use the sharp, hard point of the pencils to draw in detailed lines on the edges of my rose petals.

Here is a look at the finished piece! I really liked the saturation and blend-ability of the Inktense pencils. This paper held the color well and despite having a personal preference for hot-pressed watercolor paper the texture didn’t feel too prominent but was still present enough if you like this look in your work.

One thing I really didn’t like about this paper is that despite being taped down, the paper warped during the painting and did not return flat afterward when dry. Other similar papers will have minimal to no warping in similar applications. If this doesn’t bother you or you want to stick your painting under some heavy book afterward it may flatten it out more. For me though, this quality alone would turn me off from purchasing this product again in larger quantities.

To be fair, perhaps a lighter application of water and ink would have avoided this, but I like to test these products to the limit of their use to see what they are capable of. Other than this it has a nice surface and as I always suggest, it’s important to always make up your own opinion when it comes to products you like and don’t like.

You can purchase Derwent INKTENSE Pencils & Paper HERE or check with your favorite retailer.

Check out my YouTube Timelapse Demo & Review below to SEE HOW I CREATED THIS PIECE or become one of my PATRONS for a more in-depth tutorial.

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