Want Darker than a 9B Pencil ? July 9, 2010


Derwent Onyx tonal comparison

Have you ever been drawing and thought I need a really dark pencil? When I say dark I mean even darker than a 9B.

You may recall that with Graphic pencils the H stands for Hardness and the B for Blackness well 9B is the highest it goes in terms of Darkness. Well that was until Derwent launched their new Onyx pencil.

 The Derwent Onyx pencil is made from smooth dark graphite and allows you to instantly create dense rich jet-black tones. Its 4mm wide core has a non-crumbly texture which means it will sharpen and hold a fine point for longer making it ideal for hatching. Also, it will smudge allowing you to blend it with your finger tip or if you prefer to keep your hands clean use a Tortillon.

Landscape drawn with Derwent Onyx Pencil

Landscape drawn with Derwent Onyx Pencil

 The Derwent Onyx pencil is equally good for quick expressive sketches as well as detailed technical and architectural drawings. If you require really deep tones these can be built up by applying increased pressure. Less pressure will achieve lighter tones ideal for more precise work.

Derwent Onyx is available in two tones, Medium and Dark, which can be purchased individually for around £1.50 each or in a pack containing 4 pencils (2 Dark Onyx & 2 Medium Onyx) with a sharpener and eraser for around £5.00.

If you want more information about Derwent Onyx is wish to purchase them then follow this link: Derwent Onyx Pencils

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How to get the most from your Art Accessories Part 2 June 16, 2010

There are an array of artists accessories available on the market today. Some of the newest and most innovative products have been developed by The Cumberland Pencil Company (more commonly known as Derwent pencils to you and I). In developing the range their premise was to try and enhance your creative enjoyment whilst also caring for the tools of your trade – the pencils.

Embossing Tools

Derwent Embossing tool to create fine detail

Use embossing tool to add fine detail

An embossing tool works by making an indentation in the paper. Coloured pencil will skim over the indentation; colour will be put down on the surrounding area but not in the indentation. This allows you to make fine white or light lines in a dark area. This is a very useful technique for grasses and certain flowers, animal whiskers or even leaving your signature in a dark area of your work.

Stipple Brush

Derwent Stipple Brush for creating texture

Create sand like texture by stippling

 A stipple brush is an artistic tool that can be used to create dimension, texture and other details to artwork. This can be achieved quite effectively with watercolour pencils. Simply dip the stipple brush into wet colour and remove excess colour on a piece of spare paper. Then dab the brush evenly on to your work. This can be done repeatedly with different colours in order to make an entire range of subtle textures. Perfect for creating the sand texture on a beach and rocks.

Fan Brush

The shape of this brush spreads colour across the page quickly and in an interesting manner. It can be used with water-soluble pencils and is great for creating grasses or rainbows of colour. The fan brush can also be used dry with pastel pencils to blend colours into each other in a subtle way.

Derwent Fan brush spreading colour

Fan Brush for spreading colour

Rubber Shapers

Derwent Rubber Shapers for smudging and blending

Rubber Shapers for smudging and blending media

Derwent Rubber Shapers (sometimes also called Colourshapers), are very useful for blending and smudging pastels, charcoal and graphite. They are perfect when precise control is required.

All of the above items form part of the Derwent Essential Drawing kit which includes 1 Stipple Brush, 1 Fan Brush, 2 embossing tools with different shaped heads and a Rubber Shaper. The full set costs around £10. for more information follw this link:

Derwent Essential Drawing Kit 

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How to get the most from your Art Accessories Part 1

Creating the speckiling effect

Creating the speckling effect


There are a comprehensive range of accessories available on the market today. One of the newest and innovative ranges has been developed by Derwent pencils. In developing the range their ethos was not just to ensure that you care for your pencils properly, but to also add to your creative enjoyment. Many are ideal for creating unusual effects and for experimenting with different drawing techniques.
Outlined below are a few ideas of how to use these tools. 

How to use a Sandpaper Block


You can use a sandpaper block to create a speckled effect: Draw a shape on your paper with a wetted paintbrush then using the sandpaper block sharpen the side of the pencil point and tap the resulting pencil ‘dust’ onto the wetted area on your paper. The colour will only adhere to the wet areas of the paper. If you use this technique with Derwent Watercolour Pencils (or other watersoluble pencils like Derwent Inktense), you can observe how the colours dissolve and create some fascinating effects.


How to use a Kneadable Eraser to Create highlights

Lifting colour out to create highlights


A kneadable or putty eraser is pliable and can be shaped into a point to erase small areas of tone. It can also be used to  add highlights; you can remove areas from the drawing to reveal the white underneath thereby creating areas of light and dark which can define the shape of an object. Don’t worry if you lift too much off, you can easily add some back in. This simple technique can really bring your drawings to life. 

How and What to use a Waterbrush For …

The Waterbrush has been described as an artist’s dream. The brush houses water in the barrel of the pen which is supplied to the fibre brush via a valve. The flow of water is controlled by applying slight pressure on the barrel when the brush meets the paper. To clean it simply apply pressure to the barrel and the water will flush the paint from the brush. 

Using a Waterbrush and Watersoluble sketching pencils

Using a Waterbrush and Watersoluble sketching pencils


You can use the Waterbrush to lift colour from the tip of a Watercolour pencil or Aquatone stick which you then apply to the paper. Or you can draw the colour onto the paper and then turn it into paint by simply running the Waterbrush over your pencil marks. Thats how you turn your drawing into a painting … 

How to Hatch and Cross Hatch

This technique involves laying down colour in the form of lines and adding a different layer in a different direction each time. 

Cross Hatching with Pencils

Cross hatching


For example: Draw the first layer of lines in a horizontal direction; draw the second layer of lines, on top of the first, but this time in a vertical direction. Each different direction adds more tone to the shading. Different colours can also be used. This technique can be performed using any Derwent Pencil media. 

How to Blend to Create Tone, Shade and other Colours

Blending involves the merging of one or more colours. Blending is especially important for creating tone, shade and other colours. There are numerous accessories and tools you can use to blend your colours together, below we look at four examples: 

Lay your colours down on the paper close to each other, then, using your finger, paper stump, rubber shaper or stipple brush, merge the colours together. 

blending with your fingers

Blending with your fingers


Example 1 shows how the finger can be used to blend two shades of blue together.  

Example 2 shows how a paper stump can be used. The effective use of a rubber shaper is shown in example 3 . Finally example 4 shows  blending using a stipple brush. 

blending with a Derwent paper stump

blending with a Derwent paper stump


blending with a Derwent Rubber Shaper

blending with a Derwent Rubber Shaper


blending with a Derwent Stipple Brush

blending with a Derwent Stipple Brush

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New Derwent Pastel Pencils June 15, 2010

Derwent have just re-launched its Pastel Pencil range with a contemporary new look, softer texture and rejuvenated range of colours. The new softer texture means improved performance. The pencil glides across the surface of the paper, transferring the colour with a velvety touch, that produces a smooth and full bodied powdery finish.

They’ve made it easier to move colour around your drawing, especially with the help of a paper stump, if you want to keep your fingers clean! The range of Pastel Pencils have been reduced from 90 to 72 shades. This reflects the fact that the vibrant and intense colours blend more easily to create an infinite number of hues and tints.

Sharpening Pastel Pencils

In addition the new pencils sharpen much more easily so you can enjoy the best of both worlds; the beauty of pastels with the precision of a pencil. It’s worth remembering that you should use a sharpener specifically designed for sharpening pastel pencils as by their very nature, they are more abrasive and will blunt a standard sharpener within a couple of uses. If you want to know more about sharpening your pencils click here Sharpening pencils

If the environment is important to you, you’ll be pleased to know that the barrel coating on the pencils uses Derwents’ environmentally friendly water-based paint. Which is less harmful to the environment.

The Pastel Pencil range is presented in protective metal tin cases, which have the exclusive new drawing from artist Paul Finn on the front. Speaking about the commission Paul commented:

“Derwent’s new Pastel Pencils are a major improvement on their previous range. The same intense, vivid pigments have been retained, with a much improved binding agent that allows multiple layering, including adding darker layers over light ones. These new and unique pastel pencils also allow me to produce finer, more detailed drawings than with any other pastel pencils I have tried.”

Here’s what the new tins look like:

Pastel Pencils are available in tins of 12, 24, 36 and 72. Our new stock has just arrived and we are running some great special offers to tempt you. To enjoy 25% off the new range click here New Derwent Pastel Pencils Special Offers







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Extend the Life of your Favourite Pencils June 11, 2010

Have you noticed that your favourite pencils are always the ones that turn into stubs first, making them difficult to use. Well the kind people at Derwent have come up with a solution – Derwent Pencil Extenders!

Derwent Pencil Extender

Pencil Extender to prolong the life of your pencil

By using a pencil extender you can use almost every bit of a pencil before having to throw it away. It also makes shorter pencils feel more balanced and allows for a better grip.

The versatile Derwent Pencil Extenders are available in two sizes; the silver extender fits larger sized pencils, up to 8mm, including Derwent Pastel, Coloursoft and Artists Pencils. While the black extender is for use with standard sized pencils, up to 7mm, including Derwent Graphic, Watercolour and Studio pencils.

Both extenders have a robust screw fitting to hold the pencils securely and a soft touch coating on the barrel for improved grip and comfort in use.

The extenders are available in a pack of two, one of each size and cost just £4.99. If you want to know more about Derwent Pencil Extenders follow this link: Derwent Pencil Extenders

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Things you can do with Pencil Erasers.

Derwent Battery Operated Eraser

When you mention the word “Eraser”, most people think about it being used to rub out unwanted marks. However they can do much more than that. Derwent has launched two new erasers which are ideal for creating unusual effects and for experimenting with different drawing techniques. They can still of course be used to rub out unwanted marks too!

Derwent Electric EraserThe first is a Battery Operated Eraser – when the eraser is switched on, the spinning action of the eraser lifts the pigment from the paper surface. This makes it ideal for correcting mistakes or re-working very small areas.

The precise control offered by the eraser makes it suitable for highlighting as shown opposite in the picture of the dog’s eye.

Derwent Electric Eraser image 2

For greater flexibility the erasers shape can be changed by working it on a spare piece of paper. For example a flat tip will give you a nice sharp edge which will erase a thin line, whereas a round or conical tip will allow you to erase a small dot.

The Battery Eraser offers precision in erasing graphite and coloured pencil  – here the artist has used the eraser to reproduce the engraved flower pattern on the surface of the bowl of cherries (3).

Derwent Electric Eraser image 3

The eraser is operated by pushing down the button located on the top. The position of the button means it is perfect for left or right handed people and is very comfortable to use. It comes with 8 spare erasers and is economically priced. The product features an extra long eraser for extended use.

If you run out of eraser tips they’ve got that covered by offering a pack of 30 replacement erasers for around £1.00.

Derwent Pencil Eraser image 1Derwent Eraser Pencil with Brush

The second new eraser is the Derwent Eraser Pencil with Brush, which is invaluable for cleaning up the white paper surrounding an image, including feint grid lines. As can be seen in the photograph opposite, the eraser pencil is being used to clean up the areas under and around the snow leopard’s eyes.

Derwent Pencil Eraser Image 2The brush on the end of the eraser pencil is a great additional feature that can be used to gently sweep away debris to ensure the drawing stays as clean as possible.
With the eraser pencil, smaller, controlled areas of graphite can be erased or corrected. Instead of cutting slivers from a plastic or soft eraser, more control is achieved with the eraser pencil whose ‘point’ can be sharpened to any required shape with a craft knife. Using a ruler, the eraser pencil can be used to create a clean, straight edge on a finished piece of work.

Drawings can also be made lighter with the eraser pencil which is especially useful in creating reflections ,such as the Red Breasted Goose image. Here the artist has used a dragging motion to soften the reflection

The Derwent pencil eraser with brush is available in a pack of two pencils.

If you want to know more click on this link  Derwent Eraser Pencil

All of the above images were created using pencils from the Derwent range of pencils. for more information on the full Derwent range follow this link Derwent Pencil Range

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How to Sharpen Pencils May 28, 2010

Sometimes people forget that a pencil sharpener or a craft knife is a blade just like a razor or a kitchen knife. You wouldn’t dream of using the last two for long periods of time without sharpening the blades, but somehow we expect a pencil sharpener to last forever.

Using A Pencil Sharpener

When using a pencil sharpener, keep the pencil and the sharpener in a straight line. Do not insert the pencil at an angle or the point will be subjected to unnecessary pressure and may break.

Pencil sharpeners work very well when new and sharp, but do not last nearly as long as people think. There are a couple of easy ways to check whether a sharpener is blunt:  Metal Pencil Sharpener

First examine the wood around the pointed pencil. If the surface of the wood is smooth, then the sharpener is sharp. If the wood is rough or ‘furry’ then the sharpener is becoming blunt. A very blunt sharpener will produce a very rough surface on the pencil point. Second observe the shavings coming out of the sharpener. A good pencil sharpener will produce a long, continuous sliver of shavings. The blunter the sharpener the smaller the pieces of shaving become. If you start to see shard-like pieces coming out of the sharpener, then throw it away.

Using a Craft Knife

As with sharpeners, craft knives become blunt and will need the blades changed regularly. Many people experience problems with pencil points breaking when using a knife. The trick is to hold the knife at a shallow angle (almost parallel to the pencil) and take off small amounts of wood from each side of the pencil. If the angle is steep the tendency will be to take off too much wood in one go and possibly to cut the strip at the same time. Once the strip is exposed, use gentle scraping movements to make a nice sharp point.

How to Sharpen Pastel Pencils

All of the above applies to pastel pencils however, Pastel Pencils are more delicate than normal pencils. The properties of pastel pencils are specifically designed to be ‘crumbly’ and dusty on paper. This means that they must be handled with more care during sharpening. There is even more risk of snapping the point by being too vigorous with a knife (the sharpening angle for a pastel has to be even shallower because there is less wood around the strip).

Also, the materials that make the pastel pencils dusty are much more abrasive than the materials in other types of pencil. Therefore, blades will blunt quicker than they would normally. New Derwent pastel sharpeners and sharp craft knives will work well for a time, but will need to be replaced regularly to make sure that sharpening can be done properly.

For more information on Sharpening Pencils click this link: Derwent Pencil Sharpeners

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Drawing Manga Eyes May 20, 2010

Essential parts of the eye

The essential parts of the eye that need to be incorporated

The diagram shows the essential parts of the eye. The eyes are an important subject especially in Manga. 

The upper and the lower eyelids determine its outline. In most drawings, the upper eyelids are more accentuated on the upper portion with the edge of the eyelashes pointing upwards. You will notice single or double-layered eyelids. 

Single layered eyelids

Single layered eyelids

Double layered eyelids

Double layered eyelids

The lower eyelid may sometimes disappear when there are tears present.
Lower Eyelid disappearing

Lower eyelids not visible

and sometimes are hardly ever shown as in the 2 illustrations below.
No lower eyelids

No lower eyelids

No lower eyelids

The cornea is drawn in an oval fashion often quite bigger than the outline of the eye. The top and bottom parts of the oval are covered by the eyelids therefore making the eyes appear slightly rectangular. 

Drawing the cornea of the eye

Drawing the cornea

Eyes are given life and sparkle through details like light being reflected by them. 

giving life and sparkle to the eye

Adding highlights to the eye

However, the eyelids may also be shown drooping downwards, instead of the normal way.
Eyelids drooping downwards

Eyelids drooping downwards

Manga eyes drooping eyelids
Why don’t you have a go at drawing the different types of eyes to explore how easy it is to convey how each character is feeling.
The illustrations have been produced using Copic Multiliner Pens  and Copic Markers. For more information about the products click on the relevant links


 © 2008 – 2010 Holtz GmbH. All rights reserved. – 

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Copic Markers Introductory Tutorial. May 18, 2010

If you are just starting out with Copic Markers then this video may help to answer some of your initial questions. A summary of what is covered is detailed below:

How Copic Markers compare with Stampin up Markers

Which colour Copic Markers you should buy

How to use the Copic Markers colour chart to help you choose your colour pallet and avoid buying duplicate Copic marker colours

Summary of the differences between Copic Original Marker, Copic Ciao Marker and Copic Sketch Marker

Advice on which inks work well with Copic markers when stamping

Examples of which papers work well with Copic Markers

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How To Draw a Chibi Manga Style Girl May 14, 2010

Chibi is a Japanese word meaning “short person” or “small child.” Super deformed or SD is a specific style of Japanese caricature where characters are drawn in an exaggerated way, typically small and chubby, with stubby limbs and oversized heads, to make them resemble small children.

Chibi characters are normally between two and four ‘heads tall’, meaning the size of the head is between half and a quarter of the whole body. The characters in these tutorials are slightly more than two heads tall, but feel free to draw whatever size you feel most comfortable with.

The most important thing is to make sure the body retains a ‘chunky’ feel, which matches the rest of the character. Joints on the body such as the shoulder and neck should be kept narrow in order to allow for a large amount of movement, but in general the limbs will be thicker than normal.

Chibi hair is often equally chunky, with the hair clumped together into large spiky strips, or simplified to look much bolder than usual. You can still achieve some fine detail, but the hair ought to be as bold as the rest of the character – it’s a great opportunity to have fun! Try out some hairstyles that would look unusual on a regular person, and play around with colours.
The most important thing about Chibi characters is that they are all about fun, and they’re just as fun to draw!

This Chibi style Manga girl was drawn using Derwent Inktense pencils. The simplest way to describe them is ink but in a pencil style format. For more information on Inktense pencils click here Derwent Inktense Pencils .

Chibi Manga Style Female
Chibi characters are often presented in a bright and cheerful manner, and this girl is no exception! Her golden locks surround a beaming face and her blue dress is vibrant and colourful with a pattern of apples around it and matching red lace frills and belt. The socks are designed to match the dress perfectly, with an added frill of red lace along the top. Finally, her shoes, bag and accessories are all carefully picked out to complement her dress.

Chibi Manga Girl Outline

Step 1: Start off by drawing the character outlines with the ‘Outliner’ pencil. It is possible to erase the lines with a regular pencil eraser, but you have to be careful when drawing. Try to avoid pressing too hard with this pencil otherwise the lines will be difficult to remove. (For an outline to copy and the completed character, see the end of this tutorial.)

Chibi manga style socks Step 2: Now that the pencils lines are in place we can start adding colour, beginning with the socks. First of all, draw the outline of the area with the Iris Blue pencil. This helps to ensure the area has a crisp and solid outline. Lightly fill in the area with Iris Blue, being sure to apply very little pressure. Now it’s time to paint! Simply apply a light wash to the area you have coloured, with the paintbrush, in order to blend the colours together into an even tone. You don’t need too much water, but try to paint each area in full before it dries to avoid uneven colours.

Chibi Manga style legs

Step 3: Now apply the same technique to the skin. It’s useful to allow each area of colour to dry before moving on to the next, so that colours don’t spread into one another. Using the Baked Earth pencil draw the outline of the legs and then start to lightly fill in the skin area.

However, rather than filling in the whole of the area with pencil, only colour the parts beneath the skirt and below the knee leaving a patch of white around the knee area. This area of white gives the skin a shiny feel. Now apply a little water to the colour as before, but keep the brush strokes to the outside of the legs, and below the knee area ensuring to keep the patch of white around the knee.

Chibi Mange style dress

Step 4: Now we continue to fill in the other areas of colour using the same technique. The dress is filled in with Iris Blue, first defining the outlines of the areas and then filling in with colour. The rest of the skin is coloured using Baked Earth, just as you did for the legs. The skin has highlights on the arms and hands, so the upwards facing areas of these parts of the body have been left white.

Chibi Manga style Hair

Step 5: It’s now time to tackle those golden curls! Using the Cadmium Orange pencil, define the outline of the hair. You can draw extra lines for the areas where the hair overlaps itself. The hair has a large area of highlight at the top that is left blank, in a similar manner to the skin. Now, apply some extra Cadmium Orange pencil to the area of blonde hair located behind the character’s neck, as this will make it darker. Apply a little water to create a colour wash as before, taking extra care to keep the brush wet to avoid the ink from drying whilst you’re filling out the colour area.

Chibi Manga Style Dress detail

Step 6: Using the Cherry pencil, mark out the details on the dress such as the apples, the frills and the belt. Define the outline and then fill in the central areas, before applying a little water to the details you have coloured in. This will intensify the red.

Manga style clothing Step 07: The red colour is lovely, but we want it brighter and richer! And this is the beauty of the Inktense pencils. If you wait a few moments to allow the red colour to dry, and then apply more Cherry pencil evenly over the top and finally add a little more water, this will greatly intensify the red, really bringing out the richness of tone. Do the same thing to the handbag, socks and shoes.

She is now complete!

Chibi Manga Style girl
Simple – you now have your Chibi Manga Style Girl !

These illustrations were drawn using Derwent Inktense Pencils. Inktense Pencils come in a range of 72 fabulous colours. They are highly pigmented and can be used as demonstrated here and for everything from silk painting to fashion design. For more information on the Inktense Pencil Range follow this link: Derwent Inktense Pencils

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