Derwent Lightfast Review

Derwent is continuing to position themselves as front runners in the colored pencil world with their latest addition to their product line. 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.

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. Derwent attempts to answer this hot topic by now throwing their hat in the ring as an option on the paper debate as well.

This will be a 2-part series review of both lines of products. For each review I will use the colored pencils the paper is specifically formulated for each to show how the paper performs under ideal conditions.

Disclaimer: 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.

Please also note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Part 1


Before we dive into the physical test, I like to review the tech specs of each product so that we can understand the claims they are making beforehand.

The paper has pretty standard features and texture-wise feels similar to a Legion Stonehenge 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 some light mixed media and solvent usage.

Lightfast Paper Features:

  • 100% cotton
  • Hot pressed
  • 300 gsm/140lb
  • Natural white
  • Acid-free
  • Artwork won’t fade for up to 100 years when used with Derwent Lightfast
    colored pencils
  • Maximizes the performance of the pencils

Lightfast Pencil Features:

  • Formulated to be 100% lightfast
  • Artwork will not fade for up to 100 years under museum conditions
  • Oil-based and vibrant
  • Can be mixed on the page to create a paint-like effect
  • All colors made with raw minerals and pure pigments
  • Comply with internationally recognized lightfast testing standards ATSM D6901
    and Blue Wool Scale ISO 105

Derwent has very consistent packaging across all of its lines. I love the sturdy metal tins that their pencils come in. 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 packaging also features the artwork of current colored pencil superstar Jesse Lane. It’s really cool seeing contemporary artists have their artwork on these packages and is a great marketing approach from the company as well. For anyone who has been following his story, it’s hard not to feel excited for him that he’s had this awesome opportunity to partner with this company.

The barrel of the pencils is a natural wood with a charcoal grey band separating the pencil color indicator. In black lettering, we can see the brand and line name, color name, 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.

If any colored pencils in the entire universe of colored pencils are going to be lightfast, it better be the ones that are specifically called that right? Thankfully these live up to their name according to the color charts available through the Derwent website. Of course, you may be familiar by now that artists selling the originals of their works definitely want and need this attribute in their colored pencils. 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.

The Lightfast paper is very smooth with a nice refined fiber. It reminded me a little bit of Legion Stonehenge or Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper. My first impression was that I really liked this paper. It’s more of a cream in color though and not actually a bright white though, so keep that in mind. The color lay down was smooth and I didn’t feel like I was struggling to fill the tooth of the paper. The pencils themselves certainly have a buttery and slightly oily feel to them on paper. To me, they feel like a cross between and Polychromos and Prismacolor Pencil. That may seem like a lofty statement but trust me, you have to really try them to understand what I mean. On some paper surfaces, they almost feel like a harder oil pastel.

It was really easy to cover the surface with color quickly and still apply multiple layers. That said there is enough tooth that there still was a fair amount of work to completely fill the cream color of the paper. This paper and product seem like they would work well with Gamsol or a solvent for blending. I thought the colors blended really well into one another though.

For advanced blending, I thought these pencils worked quite nicely. Again, to fully cover the paper’s tooth you would need to out a significant amount of more layers into it. I choose to use a Finesse alcohol-based blending pen over my finished work but I would recommend testing this out with your blender of choice to see which has the best result for your preference.

Here is a look at the finished drawing. The paper didn’t warp and maintained its structure throughout the process. A lot of the qualities of this paper really reminded me of Stonehenge. The price tag on this product can be a little steep, so if your not sure I would try purchasing a smaller pad or a sample pack if possible to see if you like it.

I wouldn’t say on either product I’m ready to give up my favorites and jump ship for these, but Derwent has offered a definite contender in the race for colored pencil brand supremacy. I respect this company as a whole, so I will continue to be excited about their latest product innovations.

You can learn more about Derwent Lightfast on their website HERE


Check out my YouTube Timelapse Demo & Review below to SEE HOW I CREATED THIS PIECE.

Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

6 Responses

  1. thank you so much. May i ask, Do you prefer the caran d’ache pablo pencils or luminance more than these?

    1. Hi Paige, that’s a tough one to answer. I like each of the different lines of pencils for different things. I have the full set of Derwent Lightfast and Caran D’Ache Luminance so I’ve used them more in comparison to the Pablos. I would say of the three I use the Luminance of most but it’s because I prefer that line’s colour selection for portraits.

Leave a Reply

Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

Let's Connect!
Blog Categories

Be the first to know about new artwork and print releases AND get a 15% off code for my Etsy Shop