Friday, August 26, 2011

Free Art Supplies

I love free art supplies. Art is expensive. Getting stuff free from favorite art material companies is great! You get to try new products without going to the store or shopping on line and buying blind.

So the idea of getting a free sample from a top art material company sounds appealing.
Inktense Block

When it comes to Derwent products, I am a repeat offender, so I had seen ads and lead-ins for this product. I have used Inktense water-soluble pencils successfully on a number of projects. The concept of a block of intense color is appealing to anyone who has had to cover a large area with an even, saturated coating of pigment.

Wasn’t long before a nice big square of blue came in the mail

Now To Try It

As I said, I do have Inktense pencils. You can use them dry, you can use them wet, you can use them dry on wet, wet on wet. Very versatile pencils. I enjoy drawing, and an Inktense pencil dipped in water is a fine drawing tool. And wet, these are very blendable. When dry, however they are permanent, so working over them even with another damp layer will not move the ink.  This is different from using traditional watercolors in an underlayer.

But as with all pencils, covering large swatches can be tedious, and often less than satisfactory.  You want to get good coverage, even in the nooks and crannies of fine art paper, but you want to avoid denting the paper, and losing that fine texture. How many times have you tried to cover the background only to end up with small white “flakes” all over the background? The water-soluble pencils does make this easier, as you can dampen the background and scrub in the color, but you still have to contend with the finer lines made with a pencil.

I have used pencils, but they are still pencils and not the ideal solution.

Using the Intense Block

Using the block.
Using the square block is similar in feeling to using a conte’ crayon. It handles much the same. You can use the broad side to cover large areas. For this trial I used watercolor paper instead of pastel or charcoal paper.

I used the blue block to color large areas of background in a tint. I did try to color everything except what I wanted to remain white. I did not use a frisket, as this is just a trail and I mostly wanted to see how the block performed.

After covering the large areas I used a stiff, damp brush to work the Inktense colors into the paper. I used both the block and my pencils to see how the block performed verses the pencils. I went in small circles to work the pigment into the paper.

I wet the background and “floated the color on to get just a tint on the area behind the floral arrangement I was going to draw. Here, I had to use more pencil than block, and can see how the broad edge of the block would make a much more satisfactory background. I had trouble scrubbing out the enviable lines of the pencils. Mostly at this point I wanted to get the “white” off the background of the picture.

Since the paper was wet, I had to let it dry at this point. While it was wet, I did work in some more pigment on the hydrangeas.

Working with the single ink block let me see just how different a medium this can be. I tend to think of the Inktense pencils as another colored pencil, one that makes saturating a drawing easier, but essentially a pencil. These blocks are sticks of color, water-soluble, but of concentrated pigments that allows a heavier hand in application. You do have to work quickly when wet and with concentration. I got a phone call during the background wash, and I did not get it entirety scrubbed out as I would have wished. Unlike watercolors, once it is set, it is set. Think INK this can be a bad thing at times, but overall, it gives a versatility to working that you don’t get with a watercolor pencil or stick. It does make it easier to work over with standard colored pencils. You can even work over it “wet” and the underlayer stays put.


  1. I really enjoyed this post I. got something new.I would like you to visit my blog and give your valuable comments .All the posts are my paintings.

  2. Thanks for reading, I will look at yours and see what you think of your supplies.


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