Cathleen Lengyel > Scribbles > Tools > Colored Pencils > Derwent Drawing Pencils – Review

Derwent Drawing Pencils – Review

Derwent Drawing Pencils Set of 24
  Today we’re going to take a look at the 24 pencil set of Derwent Drawing colored pencils. I’ve been interested in these pencils for some time.   My first Derwent Drawing pencil I purchased was the Chinese White 7200.  It was highly recommended as a nice opaque white pencil to have on hand.  A few weeks ago I purchased the Derwent Drawing Wheat 5715 because our local Blick store was out of ivory Faber Castell Polychromos.  I needed the ivory for my work on my groundhog.  I was thrilled to discover this Derwent Wheat worked out even better!  That’s when I decided to look more closely at the pencils.   I really like the soft muted colors and since I work mainly in wildlife these seemed like a good fit for my toolbox.   In my research I was extremely happy to learn that all the pencils in the set are highly lightfast!  All but one are an 8 on the Blue Wool scale.  The Ink Blue 3720 is the only 7, which is still incredibly lightfast!   I was finally able to purchase the full set of 24 and I’ve been testing them out on my current drawing of a groundhog.

Let’s take a look at what Derwent says about these pencils: 

The colour palette of Derwent Drawing pencils takes you right back to nature. These coloured pencils are rich and earthy and you’ll find the soft texture and the extra wide colour strip will be a big help when you’re trying to build up dense fur or feathers in your drawings of animals. We’ve also included a number of Sepia tones in the range which you will find very useful when you come to draw portraits and life studies. So why wait…Get Drawing!

Here is what Dick Blick Online says:

Responding to popular demand, Derwent expanded its initial range of six earthy colors, first introduced in 1986, into a glorious palette of 24 subtle shades. These include soft greens, blues, grays, and creams plus a wider choice of traditional sepia tones, making them ideal for a wide range of subjects. Derwent Drawing Pencils are 8 mm in diameter with soft, thick, round leads that have a creamy consistency, making it easy to apply and produce a rich, velvety finish on the paper. The soft, extra wide 5mm strip is ideal for blending and encourages loose, expressive drawings with subtle tonal transitions. Colors can be quickly laid down in wide to thin applications. Pencils are pre-sharpened. These pencils bring color to life — from sweeping landscapes and seascapes to detailed, vibrant wildlife drawings, nature studies, and portraiture.  
These pencils are offered in the following sets:
  • Set of 6 — (Tin or Blister Pack) Contains one each of the following colors, Brown Ochre, Sepia (Red), Sanguine, Chocolate, Ivory Black, and China White.
  • Set of 12 — (Tin) Contains one each of the following colors, Solway Blue, Ink Blue, Green Shadow, Olive Earth, Brown Ochre, Yellow Ochre, Sepia (red), Sanguine, Ruby Earth, Chocolate, Ivory Black, Chinese White.
  • Set of 24 — (Tin) Contains one each of the following colors, Solway Blue, Ink Blue, Green Shadow, Olive Earth, Brown Ochre, Yellow Ochre, Sepia (red), Sanguine, Ruby Earth, Chocolate, Ivory Black, Chinese White, Light Sienna, Smoke Blue, Pale Cedar, Crag Green, Warm Earth, Wheat, Mars Orange, Venetian Red, Terracotta, Mars Violet, Warm Gray, Cool Gray.
  • Open Stock – All the colors are also available for purchase as individual pencils.

I opted for the largest set available which is the set of 24.  They come pre-sharpened, but the points are pretty blunt.  I sharpened each to a finer point before using them.  Here’s a peek at them in the box still in the cellophane wrapping and after opened sharpened:

Pros & Cons

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons in my opinion.


  • Subtle, muted colors.
  • Incredibly opaque Chinese White and Ivory Black.
  • All pencils in the collection are lightfast.
  • Good coverage.
  • Creamy/buttery texture when laying down color.
  • They are sold in sets and open stock.


  • Limited Color Pallet
  • Can be difficult to blend with Faber Castell Polychromos and Blick Studio Artists’ Colored Pencils.
  • Don’t keep a sharp point (for detailing).
  • Can be difficult to sharpen.

Bottom Line, Would I recommend These Pencils?

I have to admit, I am enjoying these pencils a great deal.  I love the soft, subtle, muted colors!  This pencil set is a wonderful complement to my current colored pencil collection.  One downfall to them is they do not do well in my Helix A5 pencil sharpener.  I have found the best way to sharpen them is using a handheld KUM Magnesium sharpener. The KUM Magnesium sharpener is a duel hole sharpener.  It’s fairly inexpensive and you can replace the blades or toss it out and buy another when it gets dull.  I like to use the larger hole for sharpening my Kimberly 9XXB pencils.  These Derwent Drawing pencils do not like having a long point at all.  They break and crumble if you use a long point sharpener.  The KUM sharpener gives them a nice point and doesn’t eat up the pencils like my Helix. Despite the few drawbacks would I recommend them?   Yes, but only as an addition to another color pencil set.  I would not recommend them as a stand alone set, especially for beginners.  Why not?  Because of the limited pallet.  You will want many other colors, deeper, more vivid colors.  I feel it would be best to start with the largest colored pencil set you can afford first.  Later on, if you want to add to your collection (especially if working in wildlife art) these would be a good choice.  I would highly recommend purchasing a Chinese White and Ivory Black as they are rich and opaque. Until next time, Keep Creating!
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