How to use Derwent Inktense Pencils for Silk Painting. March 8, 2010

Inktense Pencils are probably the most versatile pencils available anywhere. They are frequently used by watercolour artists to create wonderful landscapes. Equally fashion designers love the vibrancy and intense colours you can create. You will even find fans of Inktense among the Manga and Anime fraternity. Another creative use for this product is painting on fabrics. 

Here Artist Kim Bradley, a professional quilting teacher in Australia, used Derwent Inktense pencils alongside quilting techniques to create her magnificent “Duck bird”. Kim also used a sewing machine and textile medium. 

Inktense Pencils for Silk Painting

The Beautiful and Vibrant "Duck Bird".

The first step is to chalk out an outline of the head, neck and body, and approximately where the wings will start. The rest of the image is created using free motion machine quilting, which means you use the sewing machine to draw your image. To enable freedom of movement drop the feed dogs on the machine.  The wadding is two layers of silk as there is a lot of heavy work with thread and colour. 
The bird is coloured using Derwent Inktense pencils from the 72 colour range. To help the colour take to the fabric, use a textile medium. Most Textile Mediums should be fine, if it’s very thick simply water it down to a thinner consistency. Paint the textile medium into the area you are working on, it needs to be quite damp; not sodden, but not dry, otherwise the ink will not flow, and then use the Inktense pencil directly onto the wet area. This allows the colour to flow freely from the pencil. Use the pencil on its side as it helps with flow and ease of blending. 

To get a feel for what can be achieved experiment and practice applying the textile medium, and using the side of the pencil as well as the point. Dipping the pencil end directly into the textile medium is a wonderful way to create fine detail, i.e. eyes, mouth, bird’s feather and feet. After dipping the pencil into the medium you can draw directly onto your work. 

Work in the medium toned colours first of all, finishing off with the dark contrast tones and then the highlights. Antique White and Sherbert Lemon are brilliant for highlights. Colour the whole piece and let it dry for approx 24 hours to ensure it has set properly. 

Derwent Inktense Pencils used on silk fabric

An example of how intense the colour and the level of detail you can achieve with Derwent Inktense Pencils on silk and other fabrics.

Once dry, heat set it with an iron on the wool setting, using a piece of calico between the iron and the work to protect the quilt. Press and hold for about 20 seconds at a time. Do not be too forceful a gentle action is all that is required.

The fabric medium makes the image stiff which is ideal for a hanging piece, however if you prefer a softer feel, the stiffness will release upon washing (on a cool wool setting) without damaging the colours.
You may find that your pencils become hard if the textile medium dries out on the end (it dries like a plastic film) all you need to do is sharpen them and they are ready to use again.

For more information or to purchase Inktense pencils visit our website Or call 01926 519320.

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