Derwent colored pencils – 5 highly rated sets reviewed

derwent-colored-pencil-rangeDerwent colored artists pencils – quality, reliability and artbility!

The Derwent brand is without question up there with the very best in the world of art.  With so many colored pencils in Derwent’s considerable portfolio it’s impossible to chose the ‘best set’.  Derwent have been very clever in targeting slightly different art styles to produce a great range of color pencil sets.  

We review five different sets of Derwent colored pencils to give you a feel for the variety in the Derwent range.

derwent-pastel-pencils-72-setDerwent Pastel Pencils 72 full range set in a wooden box

Derwent provide a traditional pastel in a more user friendly pencil that will give you far more control and precision.  The smooth round pencil barrels allow for firm and loose grip to give you a variety of pressure, effects and color application.  

The pastel pencils are very easy to mix and blend which can produce a wider spectrum of color than each pencil individually.

The pencils are water soluble and compliment the more traditional pastel sticks but give an even greater variety of effects when used in conjunction with other medium such as water-colours.  As an example take a look at my article on Welsh Artist Dorian Spencer Davies an artist who combines water-color and the soluble feature of pastels to supercharge the vibrancy of his paintings.

  • Full range of 72 Derwent pastel colors
  • Comfortable Round 8mm barrel
  • 4 mm lead core
  • Available –  metal tin of 12, 24, 36, & 72 and wooden box of 24, 48 & 72
  • Sharpen without splintering and are pre-sharpened for immediate use in the box.
  • Each pencil is indicated with the core color
  • The wooden box secures the pencils and opens flat to allow unrestricted view of every pencil while you work.

Get the latest price for the Derwent Pastel 72 pencil set right here…

derwent-tinted-charcoal-pencils-12-and-24-setDerwent Tinted Charcoal Pencils 24 set

Derwent have created this wonderful set of tinted charcoal pencils. Like pastel pencils these give you infinitely more control and precision.  

The problem with conventional charcoal is the mess on your hands and the danger of accidentally contaminating your art with smudges.  By having the charcoal pencil that problem vanishes.

  • Charcoal with more control and without the mess
  • High quality cores for scratch-free marks
  • Tinted charcoal expands creative options
  • Excellent blend, smudge qualities for rich tones
  • Available in tins of 12 and 24

Get the latest price for the Derwent Tinted Charcoal Pencil Set set right here…

derwent-colorsoft-pencils-72-setDerwent Colorsoft Pencils 72 set

This is an interesting pencil as it is half way between a pastel and conventional colored pencil.

They have deep rich pigments for vibrant colors  which mix and blend beautifully. The pencils are smooth on paper whilst still retaining the ‘bite’ of a conventional colored pencil.  

Easy to handle these attractively packaged color pencils perform admirably over a large range of  artistic styles.  Whether you are into landscape, portraits or still life you will really enjoy getting to grips with their versatility and immediate response.

  • Smooth soft core for mixing and blending
  • Optimum combination of colored pencil and pastel
  • Comfortable round barrel grip
  • Rich vibrant hues
  • Lightfast resistant
  • Hues are rich 
  • Lightfastness ranges from 2 to 8
  • Each pencil is indicated with the core color
  • Also available in a metal tin of 12, 24, or 36

Get the latest price for the set right here…

derwent-inktense-72-watercolor-pencil-setDerwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils 72 set

Watercolor pencils at their very best.  The ‘Inktense’ name is perfect as these pencils provide intense and vibrant colors.  A watercolor pencil allows far more precision and other effects that you cannot get effectively with a brush.  A set of Inktense pencils provides a great addition to your watercolor toolkit.

With reduced friction the pencils deliver smooth line which is highly blend-able. There is a small issue with drying time as it takes time for the ink to completely dry and become permanent.  However the end result in our opinion is worth any slight delay and is a small price to pay.

  • Intense, vibrant color of the highest quality
  • Color dries to a permanent state allowing other medium to be added
  • Can create excellent bold and expressive artwork
  • Each pencil is indicated with the core colour
  • Also available in a metal tin of 12, 24, 36 and 48 and a box set of 72

Get the latest price for the Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils 72 set right here…

derwent-pastel-pencils-skinstones-12-setDerwent Pastel Pencils, Skintone 12 set

The only anomaly in the derwent color pencil range with a mid 3 star Amazon customer rating.  From practical use of the pencils I  found them to be as good as any of the other range on offer.  However I agree with some customers that the actual colors included aren’t quite on the money to give a satisfactory ‘skin tone’ range.  

As a specialist small set (6 and 12 sets) I was slightly disappointed. If I were looking for a better skin tone range a larger set of Derwents colorsoft pencils may provide more scope .

On saying that these are still high quality pencils

Get the latest price for the Derwent Pastel Pencil Skintones 12 set right here…


Each set of Derwent pencils has its own merits and the first four in this review are  at the top of their game.  The question for you is which set would suit your art style?  

For an all rounder the Derwent Inktense watercolor Pencil sets are the choice I would definitely go for if I had to pick only one set.  They have top quality  with the watercolor element plus a fabulous range of deep rich colors. 



If you are considering moving into digital art or are looking to buy a great starter graphics drawing tablet for someone take a look at my article on the recent addition to Wacoms Intros range with 4 tablets which include the software for a range of art styles – and all for under $100! – See the Wacom Intuos article right here…