These pencils perform beautifully on the page, whether or not you use them with water. The soft leads give a rich pigment which doesn't need a great deal of pressure to apply, and the application of a little water really makes the colours pop (although not as much as Inktense). These are true watercolour pencils so they will continue to blend with water even if previously dry, unlike the Inktense which are permanent.
Most of the colours are fairly vivid depending on how much pigment you lay down, but as soon as you add water you are able to turn this into a somewhat more subtle painted look.
Blending, Erasing, Smudging & Sharpening
These pencils are a dream to blend with water; each colour just seems to merge with the other with barely any effort at all. The super soft leads do have a waxy feel when you use them dry but it's surprising just how much they look like a paint wash once you brush on a little water.
They don't erase particularly well so it's best to colour well inside the lines and use a precise brush to spread the colour to the edge.
The pencils sharpen very well and can reach a great point, but this will crumble a little once you start colouring due to the very soft and easily smudged core. Care is needed but it's worth it!
Value & Availability
Derwent Watercolour pencils can be bought in sets of 12, 24, 36, 48 and 72. They are identified by their deep blue colour tins and can also be purchased in wooden storage boxes. This 36 set costs around £58 which is considerable lay out, so make sure to buy a couple of singles to test before you purchase a full set- but I doubt anyone would be disappointed with these pencils.
This 36 set contains a brilliant mixture of colours, my particular favourites being the flesh tones and light violets, although more greys are needed as with the Derwent Artists pencils.
These are certainly the best watercolour pencils I have used in terms of saturation of colour and blendability with water. If you're after something super bright and vibrant you may be better served by Derwent Inktense, which is water-soluble ink rather than watercolour lead.
These pencils were given to me in exchange for an honest review. You can buy them with FREE UK DELIVERY on Cult Pens here.