Derwent Watercolor Pencils Review
Updated by Brandon F. on July 12, 2023
Derwent’s primary offering and one of their best-sellers are their Watercolour Pencils. These pencils are great for mixing and their soft texture allows them to be blended easily. These can be purchased from singles up to 72 packs which allow for quite a bit of color flexibility. The soft wax core is 3.4mm in diameter and is encased in a hexagonal 6.9mm barrel.
Visual Appeal – 3.5/5
The tones with these pencils are quite consistent, and the color levels can be adjusted relatively easily with water control. However, these do lack some in terms of vibrancy, even when applied heavily. Some very unique color flows can be created when mixing various colors which makes exploring just about any color possible, even in the 48-count set. In the smaller sets, there aren’t a lot of “light” colors but obviously, this can be adjusted with the use of water.
You will find that the sets offer up some very distinct colors. They are very focused on earthy browns as well as a wide range of aqua colors and vegetation greens. Some of our favorites include Vandyke Brown, Burnt Yellow Ochre, and Juniper Green. The selection of yellows and oranges are quite diverse as well. These are intended to be used in a lot of landscape works. You can also produce some pretty attractive tones when layering and then throw in some water or another solvent to loosen them up some.
Usability and Durability – 3.5/5
The Derwent Watercolor Pencils can easily be manipulated with the simple addition of water, so “mistakes” can be corrected relatively easily. However, they do tend to dry quite quickly so a constant application of both water and new color may be necessary. The core is very soft and the color output is smooth and buttery.
The soft core also helps to alleviate breakage and there are minimal complaints about having difficulty sharpening. The hexagonal core can also assist in gripping so there is good user control. You can also layer these pretty well. But the fact that they do require a bit more effort due to the quick-drying issue makes them lose a few points in our eyes.
Packaging and Presentation – 4/5
You can get these in a wooden box or a tin box for the 24-pack and above that in the wooden box. Both do a great job of organizing, transporting, and protecting the pencils. The pencils themselves have a blue exterior and have the color accents on the base of the pencil as most Derwents tend to have.
The color and pencil type is also printed on the outside. Derwent has recently updated the packaging on these so you may find stores that are selling the new style or the old style. But, as far as we can tell, the pencils are the same in both.
Cost – 3.5/5
Prices are in the mid-range, which means that you can be introduced to a set of good watercolor pencils for a decent price. These pencils blend quite well so you could fulfill many of your color requirements with a smaller set in the interest of saving some money. But, as always, we recommend going with a larger set if your budget allows so you can take advantage of more of the unique colors they have to offer. A good bang for your buck.
Overall Ranking – 3.5/5
The Derwent Watercolor Pencils are a good, wax-based example of watercolor pencils. They check every mark in terms of usability, visuals, and cost. The only complaints are that they could be a bit more intense so if you are wanting to get the color to shoot off the page in some of your works you might look into investing in a more vibrant line for those applications.
Also, the fact that they do seem to dry quicker than most other watercolor pencil sets is another minor complaint. However, for the price they are acceptable. Just plan to stick to mostly landscape settings or other pieces that don’t require a lot of “pop”.