My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1629: More on Inktense Pencils and Blocks

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-29-2015 11:38 AM 9687 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1628: New Toys Part 1629 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1630: Deadlines »

Yesterday I posted about the new Inktense colored pencil set I had purchased. There were several people who wanted to know more about them so since I was cutting wood most of yesterday at the scroll saw, I thought that I would answer some of the questions and talk about them some more here today. 

The "Inktense" products by Derwent not only come in pencil form, but they also come in pure pigment blocks, which resemble pastel crayons. 

At first thought, one would think that it would not be necessary to have both forms of them, but each one has its own purpose and I think it is very handy to have them as well, as the blocks are even more versatile than the pencils. (Of course, I needed to have them both! Besides – I was able to find them at a great price on Amazon, as I did with the pencils and they were shipped free as well.) 

Now I know I am a 'spoiled brat' when it comes to this, but we all have our own fetishes. Mine just happen to be color, which I am very grateful that I am able to work with in my daily living. They do offer the blocks in smaller sets as well as individually, as with the pencils, but when I looked at the prices of them, it was little more for me to go and get the full range of colors, so I thought, why not? I am very glad I did. 

As with the pencils, the colors are very intense. When you apply them to watercolor paper or card stock, they almost look like crayons. However, when you brush them with clean water to blend them, they turn to a beautiful translucent ink that when dry is permanent. This makes them optimal for using as backgrounds and base layering effects. 

Another advantage to them is that you can kind of grate them (Yes – I said 'grate' them!) into the little cups of your bubble palette or a small container and then add some water to make a beautiful ink wash. I had a small ginger grater and flicked off some of the light yellow for my background wash for my bee picture that I showed yesterday and it worked just beautifully!  Derwent sells a jar with a 'grater' lid, but I thought my method worked just fine. (Besides, I spent enough already!) 

The blocks also were better for covering large areas like backgrounds and so forth, as you just use them on their side and then brush with water. They give you a bit more control that way of where you want the color to be, although you naturally have to watch when you wet it where it will run. When it is wet, it will mix with other colors which offers you wonderful blending opportunities. 

Finally, you can use a wet brush to pick up color off of the blocks as you would regular watercolor paint. Remember those little sets of 'spots' of color we used in grammar school? You can use them just like that to get fine lines or different intensities of color without even picking up the block. They are truly very versatile and cool.

I took some time out this weekend to 'play' with my new toys. I printed out a 'generic' photo of a pansy that had several colors in it. I wanted to play with as many colors as I could. I mostly used the pencils for my experiment, but I did try the blocks here and there as well. 

I found my effort was not really that remarkable. 

The colors of the pencils and blocks were all very dark and it was difficult to gauge from looking at them what they would actually look like on the white paper. I found the blues and greys especially 'close' in appearance, and I kept picking up a color that I thought would work, only to get unexpected results. 

(I had marked the box with the color numbers so when I used the block up, I would know which one to reorder)

What I decided to do next was time consuming, but very much worth the effort. I printed out a color chart which I created on my computer which gave each name and color number. I then colored in 2/3 of the corresponding box for each sample. I then used a wet brush to pull the color so I was able to better see what to expect from the pencils and blocks. There were colors like "Mustard" in which the blocks/pencils looked positively GREEN, yet when I applied them onto the white stock, they did, indeed look like MUSTARD.

The final color chart was in itself a work of art. You could see the subtle differences of each pencil/block and really make better decisions on using them:

You can also see the deep, deep intensity of the colors. As you may imagine, what I believe my biggest challenge to be will be to 'tame' these colors to allow contrast in my work as well as highlighting. Unlike painting with acrylics or oils where highlights are typically placed on top of things at the end using lighter values, when using these as well as pencils, you kind of have to leave the areas to be highlighted alone and avoid them for the most part until the end. It is very much the opposite way that I need to think about my artwork. 

After creating my charts, I attempted the same pansy a second time:

I felt that I did a little better, although there is certainly room for lots of improvement. I think this will come over time as I get to 'know' the medium better. 

Here is the final comparison of the two pansies. The left one I did before I did my color chart and the right one after:

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I hope you can see the difference. 

I often am told how I have 'natural' talent. I really don't believe that that is completely true. While I may have the desire to do creative things, there is a lot of work involved in getting to a point where our art is what we want it to be. And even at that, I always feel that there is a need for improvement. It takes a lot of work and willingness to put in time to learn about every aspect of drawing, painting and creating. It takes trial and error and learning from your mistakes. I do believe that is what really makes a difference in a 'good' artist and an 'excellent' artist. 

I look forward to seeing where this new medium takes my skills, as learning one new skill certainly lends itself to learning in all aspects of art. We train ourselves to look at things differently. That can apply to so many other aspects, including wood and fabric! 

Today I am writing my pattern packet for the Toletown project. I also need to take my cat Richard to the vet to get his stitches out from his recent surgery. He has been a wonderful patient and he looks like he is healing perfectly. I am glad that is over! 

I wanted to remind you all of some of the patterns we have on our site, as I mentioned earlier in the week. Below is a pattern from Keith:

SLDK333 Self-framing Olde Christmas Fretwork Plaques

And finally one from me – My SLD486 Merry Christmas Block Set which includes the full alphabet so that you can make your own sayings as well as the beautiful layout shown:

I really loved both of these projects. 

I hope you have a great day today. We are having some light rain here in Nova Scotia, after another beautiful moon and clear sky last night. Have a wonderful Tuesday! 

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

2 comments so far

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2680 days

#1 posted 09-29-2015 04:21 PM

Thank you Sheila for taking the time to explain how these colours work. The colour chart is a great idea and would certainly help to choose the colours for a project. I have a set of watercolour pencils which I have used in my wood burning pictures but you have inspired me to get back to them and do some experimenting.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3527 days

#2 posted 09-30-2015 10:37 AM

It has been a busy and crazy week here so far, Anna. After today I should be more caught up and then I can work on finishing up my bee.

I love the Inktense so far, although as with any new medium, there is a learning curve. But that is part of the process, isn’t it and it is how we develop our own style. I am excited about the possibilities nonetheless. :)

I will let you know how they do on wood. :)

Have a great day! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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