Derwent Inktense Pencils

Thread Sketching the Seasons Award Winning Quilter Nancy Prince

As most of you are aware basically because you are on my website at the moment, that my passion for the last 21 years has been thread painting. From the first thread painting quilt I attempted in 1999 to the present I have always been stretching the boundaries as to what I can create in thread next. Thread painting has given me the avenue to explore ideas I never before dreamed of. Now having said all of that this passion does not prevent me from exploring other areas of interest. 

Painting has always been a fascination for me but doubts always crept in that painting was beyond my realm to accomplish. However, early on in my quilting adventure I put my doubts aside and discovered how much fun Tsukineko inks could be which then lead me to Derwent Inktense Pencils. Always on the lookout for new workshop ideas, Inktense pencils seemed to be a possibility. I was hooked right away!! The surprising part was how easy it was to create with these pencils. 

Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks and are packed with pigment that can be used dry for rich color. However, the big selling point is that when the lead is activated with water or fabric medium they transform into an acrylic-based ink that is very dramatic.  The pencils or blocks come in a wide range of colors, are transparent, are blendable, can be applied wet or dry, and are permanent once dried. Plus once dried the painted image can be painted over in case an area didn’t give the desired results.  

A great deal of research went into the early days to find just the right medium to activate the colors. The most used method I found was using water to activate the pigment but very quickly I saw that water unless applied extremely carefully would cause the ink to “run” making a mess of the project. I scoured the Internet for all different fabric mediums and tried all I could find at the time. None gave me the intensity I wanted so I decided to mix my own fabric medium. Six weeks later and a ton of trial and error a final fabric medium was decided upon. If I do say so myself, the fabric medium when applied to the penciled design is dramatic. 

The next hurdle was finding the appropriate fabric to paint on. A prepared for dying (PFD) cotton poplin worked the best and gave me the results I was looking for. Pimatex cotton and cotton sateen both worked well but the cotton sateen tended to “bead up” with the scrubber brushes. 

In early research, art paintbrushes were used but I couldn’t blend the colors together because the brushes weren’t stiff enough. My thought was that the eye should not be able to see where one color stops and the next one starts. Years ago I painted T-shirts and I had a ton of stiff fabric brushes lying around. They were perfect. The problem was they were no longer made. So I found scrubber brushes that oil painters use to remove excess paint. They worked beautifully to blend one color into another. 
I hope you will give Derwent Inktense pencils a try. They are a bit pricy but some research on the Internet should net a decent price. But they are worth the extra cost. There is a section on my Store for you to browse the Derwent Inktense section. I hope you will give the pencils a try!!

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