Derwent Inktense Watercolor Colored Pencils Review

Review Summary
4.6/5 Our Score
• Intense color quality
• Versatile use
• Extremely lightfast
• Very durable
• Expensive
• Lack of light colors
• Dries very fast (difficult to blend)

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The Derwent Inktense watercolors absolutely live up to the hype. If you're looking for bold colors, this is it- subtlety doesn't exist here.
Color Intensity


Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils are are known for their intense, ink-like colors and are a very popular choice of colored pencil among artists, especially those who specialize in animation and cartoon graphics.

Derwent Inktense water colors come in a tin or wooden box in packs that are multiples of 12, with the exception of the smallest pack, a cardboard pack of six starter pencils. The biggest pack comes with 72 watercolor pencils arranged in two tin trays.

A professional grade colored pencil, Derwent Inktense watercolors are designed to last on a variety of mediums with the highest lightfastness value on the market. They are available in 72 different colors, each with its individual range given use with or without water.

What They’re Good For

Derwent Inktense colored pencils are water colors, meaning that they are designed to be used in combination with water. That being said, artists who are after a bright, highly pigmented coloring tool use the Derwent brand as a colored pencil, especially for detailed work.

When used with water, Derwent Inktense pencils take on an “inky” sheen, hence the name.

Because the colors are so vivid, this brand of colored pencil suits simplistic subjects with high animation, for example anime, manga, and cartoon characters.

These colored pencils are intense. While that’s a good thing when you’re looking to add “pop” to your illustrations, it’s not so easy to be subtle. This brand is difficult to mellow out, so if you need a lighter color, chances are, you’ll have to use a different colored pencil.

Ratings Breakdown

As a versatile watercolor pencil with intense color delivery, the Derwent Inktense water color pencils are a really good tool to have in your coloring kit. Let’s break down its overall performance.

Lightfastness 5/5

This brand of colored pencil is designed specifically for lightfastness regardless of wet or dry application. Once the color is laid down, it becomes permanent. Because of its high lightfastness rating, Derwent Inktense water colored pencils can be used on anything from paper to cloth to canvas.

Sturdiness/Durability 4/5

Since this is a watercolor pencil, the paint core tends to break easier than wax or oil-based cores. That being said, the Derwent brand is quite durable as its watercolor paint is designed to be more ink-like than water based. They are also easy to sharpen and since they produce one of the most intense finishes, they also have a very long shelf-life.

Binder/Quality 5/5

Derwent Inktense watercolored pencils are made of a water-soluble binder with a firm, ink-like texture. This is what gives their brand superiority over other watercolor pencils. Their unique binder blend creates an inky look and texture while at the same time possessing a high lightfastness rating.

Color Intensity 5/5

The Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils are perhaps so intense, it can be a con at times (it is impossible to create lighter shades using this brand). That being said, Derwent watercolor pencils are famous for the intense, ink-like “pop” they give to illustrations.

Value 4/5

While on the expensive side, if you’re looking for a highly intense colored pencil that will give you lasting results, the Derwent Inktense watercolors are definitely worth the price.

Final Verdict 

An intense and versatile pencil that goes from colored pencil to ink in one swoop, the Derwent Inktense watercolors absolutely live up to the hype. If you’re looking for bold colors, this is it- subtlety doesn’t exist here.

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