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A bargain in breadth
on October 14, 2013
Derwent is well-known for producing quality art materials. Of late, they are also increasingly recognized for technological innovation, especially in the use of water-soluble pencils of various sorts. This collection offers a taste of both the quality and the technology. It also offers a tremendously versatile set of materials at a very reasonable price ($25 in my case).
You get the usual collection of graphite, charcoal pencils, and charcoal sticks common to any sketching collection. The quality of the materials is very good--the graphite pencils are nicely distinct in tone as are the charcoal. The tone of the sticks is perfectly matched with the pencils. As an added bonus, the charcoal pencils are quite robust. I sharpened them with a Faber hand sharpener with no breakage.
Where the collection really shines is with the extras. You get a nice selection of vanilla water soluble graphite, but you also get several Graphitint pencils, pigmented water soluble graphite. These behave like graphite pencils when used dry, the pigment providing only muted colors. But add water and it transforms into vibrant color, though not as vibrant as watercolor pencil.
Several colored drawing pencils are included. These are quite opaque, much like chalk pastels, but behave in a much more controlled fashion, like colored pencils. They also blend much better than chalk pastel. One nifty thing about these is that their opacity makes them suited for dark colored supports. The colors make them well-suited for things like animal fur or sepia portraiture.
Rounding out the collection are some tinted charcoal pencils, including white---very useful for popping white highlights.
With just this collection, you're well-equipped to tackle most any charcoal or graphite project you wish, as well as adding a range of subtle colors to the palette. The price makes this a tremendous value, especially if you want to explore a range of media.