Derwent Colorsoft Pencils Review
While these aren’t pastel pencils, the Derwent Colorsoft Colored Pencils are soft enough that you’ll have to remind yourself that they aren’t. The soft cores allow for great blending and the ability to lay down a pretty heavy coat if desired. However, doing fine details with these might become a bit burdensome. They come in quantities from 1 to 72 count and have a thick 4mm round core and a 6.9mm barrel.
Visual Appeal – 4/5
Overall the colors are quite strong and the soft core makes blending a breeze. For additional vibrancy, the wax core takes to stacking multiple layers quite well without leaving an overly intense waxy layer. The smaller sets are particularly focused on close-to-primary colors so to get those more varied tones you are going to have to do some blending or stick to a larger set. Thankfully with these, it is almost therapeutic to mix colors and see what you can come up with. The soft material has a very unique after effect that most colored pencils will not be able to emulate.
Our favorite colors are definitely the yellows, oranges, and reds. These produce very vivid hues and blend very well with each other. You can easily fill any color gaps by simply blending the pencils together, either through simple pressure from the point or by the addition of a solvent.
Usability and Durability – 3/5
Because of how soft the Derwent Colorsoft Pencils are, they can leave a pretty thick layer of color upon application. Because of this, it can sometimes feel “gritty” during use. This is partially due to the less-than-waxy nature of these (despite actually being made of wax), which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Keeping a sharp point is also going to be a task since the point literally crumbles off during use but, again, these aren’t really meant to be used for detailed areas. Plan to utilize them when you want to cover a lot of area and enjoy their very effective blending.
When they do need to be sharpened they can be so relatively easily since the core is so soft. The thick core also means you are working with a strong pencil that can take some major pressure and also lay down a lot of colors. The outside is round but since this shouldn’t be used for intricate areas that extra grip control you might get from triangular or hexagonal pencils might not be necessary.
Packaging and Presentation – 4/5
Metal tins can be had for the 12 to 72 packs and a wooden box can be had for the 18 to 72 packs with the box option demanding a slightly higher premium. The outside of the pencil comes in an attractive deep brown with the color accent on the base. The type of pencil and color are stamped on the side as well. Overall we like the look of these pencils and feel that they fit in nicely considering their price point.
Cost – 3/5
The cost of these can vary quite a bit. In general, expect them to be a mid-priced pencil. Prices will vary depending on if you opt for the wood case vs. the tin as well the slight premium the larger packages seem to demand. Given the price, there really aren’t many other competitors that can compete with the Derwent Colorsoft Colored Pencils in regards to how soft they are.
Overall Ranking – 3.5/5
A better than average pencil that almost feels like using a pastel. Because of this, the Derwent Colorsoft Colored Pencils can be right at home in certain applications (blending, deep color manipulation, etc.) and really struggle in other areas (fine details, outlines, etc.). However, if it is used for its intended purpose it is right up there with the best in terms of performance as well as in its specified role in your artist toolbox. Make sure to shop around on these and you can potentially secure a great deal on a great set of pencils.