Color My Life: Derwent Artists Series Professional Color Pencils Review


I bought this at Pustaka Seri Dunia, Kelantan, Malaysia. To read more about my art supplies haul, click here. The reason I bought these Derwent was because My Faber Castell 24 classic colour pencils does not offer much variety of unique shades. I have been using this line from Faber Castell for 2 years now and they are definitely cheap, good quality and easily available, I really love them. We shall see about Derwent Artist then, I got the Artists series because the salesman claimed that the Artist range blends easily compared to other range such as Studio and Watercolour range from Derwent.



PART 1: Introduction

Made in England
Each for RM5.62 individually


Love to draw and not quite sure what to try first? Derwent Academy is here to help! We’ve put together a great range of affordable products to get you started; from classic colour and sketching pencils, to watercolour pencils and pan sets, and bold oil pastels and sketch pads.

With Derwent Artists coloured pencils you'll be spoilt for choice! There are 120 colours in the range and their waxy texture makes them ideal for layering and blending so you can create as many of your own colours as you wish! Comes in a set of 12, 24, 72, 120.

The smooth, perfectly round barrel of this popular artist's pencil encourages easy movement and expressive drawing.
The pencil's composition is soft but not crumbly, with a slightly waxy texture for easy blending and shading. The 4 mm diameter color strip allows naturally broad strokes and strong lines.
By simply adding more pressure on the paper, color strength can be varied from faint and delicate to bold and intense.
They have a very good review (4.7/5) on
Website here.
Full Colour Chart here.

PART 2: Reviews

1. Overall Build

Shape: The color pencils have a wide core and its round-barrelled. 

Quality of the lead: Hard waxy lead that doesn't snap or smudge easily. It is definitely more durable than my cheap faber-castell 24 classic color color pencils.

2.  Colour Selections and Colour Payoffs

Colour Selections: There are about 120 colours out there but I only have 40. The colour selections are adequate and they are gorgeous colours.

Colour Payoff: The colours are vibrants and intensely pigmented, overall beautiful strong colours regardless bright or muted. No extra solvents or markers are required to blend them together, they blend marvellously on their own. I also test it on some black paper, to my surprise, the blue and earth-toned family are more vibrant than the other colours. 

My humble little color charts of the 40 colours I bought separately. 

Test on black paper. 

3. Application

Since it is a wax-based color pencil (not watercolour based), it is great for blending and layering. The application is definitely smooth and you can easily create a beautiful gradient effect with just a few colours. Its not too soft or creamy and it doesn't smudge or transfer easily. However, some of its colours are just chalky, but its only a small amount. Its waterproof alright. Some claimed that it is hard to erase so I compare it with my cheap faber-castell 24 classic colour pencils you can find in local stores. It turns out the same. 

Gradient effects. Good control and with the right pressure, you can get a nice gradient stroke.

Compare with Faber Castell 24 Classic Color Pencils. I think althought FB is so much cheaper, certain color pencils goes on more smoothly than that of Derwents. 
Some claimed that Derwent Artist Series are hard to erased. I compared it with my cheap FB 24 classic color pencil.No difference, eh? Erasing is important in color pencil art to create gradients, clean off mistakes and achieve light shadows.

4. Blendability

The colour definitely blend very well due to its waxy nature. 

Colour blend from same family and different family.
Blending with markers.

Comparision of blendability with Cheap Faber Castel 24 Classic Colour Pencils. Derwent have a more seamless blending for optical effect, but only for certain colours as seen above. 

5. Affordability

They are definitely more on the expensive side. RM5.62 per pencils and not easily available. 

PART 3: Verdict


  • Vibrant colors, good pay off
  • Strong lead, does not snap easily compared to cheaper normal brands
  • Easy to create gradient effect
  • Wide color selections
  • Smooth applications and seamless application
  • Great Blending on its own, exclude need for blending medium
  • Waterproof
  • Most colors are vibrant on dark papers 

  • Expensive
  • Does not blend all that well with coloured-markers
  • Existence of some chalky colours, nudes and blues are smoother than the others
  • Need quite some effort to colour on papers (waxy hard)

My rating: 4/5

Overall, I think this is a wonderful color pencil set to have. Its smooth, it blends well without the need of extra medium or solvent, has vibrant pigments and unique colours selection. The gradient effects of these color pencils are just beautiful. The downside however, is its price which cost me RM5.62 per pencils, compared to my Faber Castell 24 classic color pencils which comes in a pack of 24 with the price around RM20++, which makes it around RM1.00++ per pencils. There are also some of the more chalky pencils among the derwent I bought, which I am not happy about. Derwent Artist color pencil in my opinion, doesn't blend all that well with markers as well, and it took me quite some effort to color it on my papers due to its hard waxy textures. Bottomline, I am not SUPER impressed by it as I expect smoother and creamy applications. 

Its definitely one of the best high-end professional color pencil you wouldn't regret investing in, but for casual artists, beginners or people who doesn't have the budget for expensive color pencils to start with, I think the cheaper options like Faber Castell classic color pencils works just fine and also easily available in various supermarkets and stationery shops. Work your way up to hone your skills. 

UPDATE: I went and restock my Faber Castell color pencils one day in 2015 and discover the cover was a bit different from the once I got back in 2012. The color payoff, textures, and smoothness are totally different!! Just note that the FC I am referring to above is the older version of it. Please check out my latest blog on comparison between old and new FC color pencils and my thoughts on it.

Jurassic World Raptor with Faber Castell 24 Classic Color Pencils.

Iron Man Helmet with Faber Castell 24 Color Pencils.

That's all from me. Stay Creative and Happy.

You Might Also Like


  1. Thank You for the detailed review and comparison. I have the Faber Castell Classic Colours (new Version) and like them very much. And now I want to try out the Derwent Artits Pencils. Could you please tell me wich one was the white Paper you used? That would be very helpful considering that the Artist pencils don't work on every paper. Thanks and bye, Janka


Popular Posts

Follow me on Facebook

Search This Blog