A couple of years ago, I received one of Derwent’s original Inktense paint pan sets as a gift from a friend who works in an art supply shop in Italy. Recently Derwent released a companion set of 12 more Inktense pan colours (with all new colours not included in the original set), a 24 colour Inktense pan set (which I believe contains all the same colours as the 24 block sets) and a 12 colour set of Graphitint pans. These were the ones I was most excited about as, lightfastness issues aside, I loved playing with my Graphitint pencils.
Here’s my colour chart of the Derwent Graphitint Paint Pan set. Note that in real life, Indigo is a bit darker than it looks here.
For the most part, the colours in this set are similar to their counterparts in the Derwent Graphitint pencil range once they’ve been activated with water, though not all are an exact match and some (especially a few of the blues) are quite different). I found that all of the colours had significant granulation when applied to watercolour paper, which makes for interesting effects, but can be challenging if you wanted some completely smooth areas of colour.
These pans contain graphite, so it makes sense that they sparkle in a similar manner (though not as pronounced) to other pearlescent or metallic paints that contain mica or light-reflecting pigments. This is more noticeable than in the pencils, where the dry pencil has a subtle shimmer but the wet areas of colour are a lot less metallic-looking. The muted colours with the shimmer make for some attractive effects, but again, it’s not ideal when you consider that most artists would prefer to only have metallic effects in some areas of a painting rather than the whole thing. Still, it can help to lend an ethereal quality to a painting, whether it be a landscape or some sort of fantasy themed subject.
As far as I know, the Graphitint pans are made from the same material as the pencils, which, as I pointed out in my linked review at the start of this post, have significant lightfastness issues. I’ve not conducted my own lightfastness test with the pans yet, but the tests I did with some of the pencils showed about half the colour saturation lost within 7 days of starting my test (with the charts pinned to my front window) and the colour was completely gone after a month, so it’s safe to assume a test with the pans would have a similar outcome.
In terms of the set itself, it comes in exactly the same kind of box as the Inktense pan sets, including a sponge, a waterbrush and five mixing areas inside the lid. This makes it a great field sketching kit, as it’s small and portable and aside from your sketchbook and maybe a pencil, you don’t need to take much else with you in order to complete a painting, and it fits easily in a pocket or small bag. When the Graphitint pans are used up, you can either replace them (individual pans are not yet available but I imagine they will be eventually) or fill the empty half pans with watercolours or gouache of your choice.
Here’s the painting I did with the Derwent Graphitint pan set, along with some Graphitint pencils and a Caran d’Ache Supracolor pencil.
The Derwent Graphitint pan set would make a fun and interesting gift for an artistic friend or family member. It may not have quite the same versatility of the Graphitint pencils – which can be left dry to provide only the slightest hint of colour or wet to become more vibrant – but what it lacks in that regard, it makes up for in portability. However as with other products that aren’t lightfast, it’s best used for projects that will be scanned and distributed digitally or printed rather than displaying the original, as the original will likely begin to fade quite quickly even if stored away from direct light.