Pencils: Derwent Metallic Pencils (review)

Even if they may not have much of a place in ‘serious’ art, I think metallic art supplies are one of those things we all love playing with occasionally. I’ve had this little tin of Derwent Metallic pencils rattling around in my drawer for a while now and I figured I might as well review them.

Derwent Metallic Pencils

Here’s a chart I made for this set, with the right side of the swatch being dry and the left side having a wash applied to it.

Derwent Metallic Colour Chart

Washing the ‘precious’ metal colours in the top row doesn’t seem to change them all that much, but washing the ‘rainbow’ colours makes them noticeably brighter and bolder. In terms of texture, the rainbow colours seemed a little smoother. The precious metal colours seemed a little harder and scratchier, and though they were still fine to draw with, it was enough of a difference to be noticeable.

I also played with the Metallic pencils on some black paper, since anything metallic usually stands out better on a dark background. These pencils are fairly opaque, meaning that using a reasonable amount of pressure ensures the black paper underneath doesn’t show through the pencil layer. You can press more softly for a more subtle look. I found that using water on them did nullify this opacity a bit, though it did still leave a gorgeous iridescent effect.

Here’s a little pansy I drew on some cheap Faber-Castell black paper (I didn’t use any water in this one as I wanted the pencil strokes to show the texture of the petals and the leaves).

Derwent Metallic Pansy

Metallic art supplies are often not lightfast, and I assume these will be no exception (I haven’t got around to doing my own lightfastness tests yet). These pencils won’t be of any use to those who draw realistic art or art which is intended for long term display, but it can still be a lot of fun to add a little metallic accent to a more realistic piece, or to decorate invitations or other documents. The precious metal colours didn’t seem like anything special, but I’d recommend at least buying the rainbow colors if you can find them in open stock (then again, the price is low enough on the full 12 set to not break the bank if you do want to try them all).

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