About the company
Derwent is a British company that has been making pencils since 1832. In the past few years, they have really been kicking pencil-butt, putting out new innovative products so fast that it makes our heads swim! They have also been trying to improve on their core colored pencil lines in the last several years.
Derwent pencils are of good quality, but their core colored pencil products are still not quite up to the quality of Faber-Castells or Caran d'Ache. However, they are getting closer to F-C's and C-D's with each improvement, and they are far more affordable. Their newly reformulated watercolor pencils are very good, and the new Coloursofts are also vast improvements on the Artist or Studio pencils.
Derwent Artist Colored Pencils were first introduced in 1930, and are still being made today in 120 colors. They have a thick core and are waxed based. The cores are medium hard. They are becoming difficult to find in the US. They are round pencils.
Derwent Studio colored pencils have the same core that the Derwent Artist pencils have, so the colors match. They feel a bit harder to us than the Artists pencils. They are thinner than the artists pencils and are hexagonal in shape. Studio pencils come in 72 colors.
Derwent Inktense pencils are a product that is unique on the market. They are water-soluble, but with the vivid bright intensity when wet of ink. They have been very popular, and Derwent has just announced that they are releasing these in 'blocks' which look like the Prismacolor art styx. There are 71 colors available, and an Outliner comes with the sets, making 72 pencils.
Derwent Graphitint pencils are water-soluble color tinted graphite pencils. They are pretty amazing pencils, especially once you add water to them! They come in 24 shades.
Derwent Aquatone are water-soluble sticks, without the wood. This gives you a nice thick surface. They come in 24 colors.
Derwent Signature was a line of pencils that were developed to be very light fast. They have been discontinued, likely due to the high cost and rather hard cores. The endcaps tended to have the paint crack up over a fairly short time period, which was not good for such an expensive pencil. They came in 60 colors.
Derwent Coloursoft is a very soft colored pencil, even softer than Prismacolors. Since so many American CP artists are used to Prismacolors, the Derwent Coloursofts have gone over quite well in the US. As a result, both the (much harder) Artist and Studio pencils seem to be in the process of being discontinued by many stores. The Coloursofts come in 72 colors.
Derwent Watercolour pencils have recently been reformulated. The older pencils had a turquoise exterior, and the cores were on the hard and scratchy side of things. The new pencils have an indigo blue exterior, and are much softer and nicer. The colors between the old pencils and the new pencils are the same. They come in 72 colors.
Derwent Drawing pencils are soft and very creamy to draw with, and they come in 24 beautiful soft colors. If you sketch animals and birds, these are simply wonderful.
Derwent Tinted Charcoal comes in 24 colors. They make sketching in charcoal really fun and not so messy since they are in the core of a nice-looking pencil.