Derwent Coloursoft pencils - review

Today I would like to talk about very soft pencils produced by Derwent from England.

Coloursoft pencils are sold in sets:

- 6 primary colours
- 6 skin tones in a metal box
- 12, 24, 36, 72 colours in a metal box
- 48 and 72 shades in a wooden case

They are available individually.

Prices: from $8.40 (6 skin tones, dickblick.com) to $102 (72 colours in a wooden case)
Individually: $1.30
They are mid priced pencils.

Unfortunately I don't have any set of Coloursofts, but I own quite a lot pencils bought individually.

Coloursoft pencils are round, covered with dark brown varnish with white lettering (company's name, colour's name), they are ended with a silver strip and a colorful accent corresponding with the core's shade. Genereally speaking, they are aesthetically done and look elegant.

Full range includes 72 vibrant colours - you'll find some hot and bloody red shades, lime green and a lot of pastel colours which are perfect for portraits.

Have a look at my Coloursoft chart (left) - I also added Derwent Studio hard pencils chart for comparison (right):

Coloursofts enable us to draw landscapes, still life, animals, portraits; from works with subdued shades (like autumn landscapes) to drawings with rich colours (some exotic fruit or parrots).

The core in Coloursoft pencils is very, very soft. You can easily cover the paper, there's no need to press the lead hard to the paper. They are wax-based pencils, so if you draw layer on layer, there comes this waxy and slippery surface, but this is not the problem in this case - the layers can be drawn easily. I noticed that bright colours blend with each other perfectly. However, when it comes to darker layers, I had some problems - I used light brown pencil for the first layer of hair and then I tried to create the second with dark brown colour. I had an impression that the light brown layer didn't want to 'catch' the darker brown shade.

These pencils sharpen nicely, however, in some cases the wood crushes and reveals too much core. Coloursofts are wider than other pencils so I can only use a few sharpeners. I cannot sharpen them in my electric sharpener (6-8mm hole) because they are too thick.

Coloursofts can be sharpened to a fine point. They blend perfectly with Derwent Artists hard series, which can be used while drawing lashes etc. Unfortunately Coloursofts are not good for details, they are too soft. They need a constant sharpening and because of that, they use up quickly, especially colours like white, black or brown - if you decide to invest in this line, it is a good idea to buy several pieces of these shades!

While drawing with Coloursoft pencils, I've noticed that they are a bit 'gritty' - they leave some dust which gathers on the paper (like you were using soft pastels!). This is a bit irritating as I always blow it out and, when the work is finished, everything on my table is covered with this dust!

To sum up, I think that Coloursofts are Derwent's best pencils! I like them because of their softness and colour range - from light shades for drawing portaits to vivid colours. They blend very well, they can be used with other pencil brands. White Coloursoft pencil is one of the best you can buy - it looks awesome on tinted paper, it's the whitest white you can get (next to Derwent Drawing Chinese White). Of course this product is not spotless, nevertheless I use them quite often and I'll definitely buy some other shades in the future (or maybe I'll invest in a full set :D).

Here are some works I created with Derwent Coloursoft pencils:

* Some of the photos included in this article come from official Derwent site, some were taken by me. It is forbidden to copy this material (and images included in it) without the author's permission.