Derwent Metallic Pencils Review & Demo

Hi guys and welcome to another review video! Today I’ll be having a thorough look at
the Derwent Metallic 12 set- starting off with a close look at the packaging and the
build of the pencils, and then after that I’ll be swatching them out to understand
their properties and characteristics. The second half of the video will be a demonstration
of the product to show you how you can put these pencils to use, and I’ll also be discussing
other information and my opinions about the product. As usual, I’m not sponsored by Derwent so
rest assured that all opinions are my own. First off, taking a look at the packaging! So as you can see this is an older iteration
of the packaging- if you’re looking for the new packaging that’s available, the design
is slightly different with the same blue butterfly -as shown here- that instead takes up half
of the space on the lid on a bronze background. There is also an older packaging design than
this one too, and that one has the same colour background as this one, but instead of butterflies
the design on the front is just a rainbow metallic letter “M”. This is the 12 set of pencils- which is the
largest size this line comes in and the only set of this type to come available in a tin,
but this line is also available in two different 6 blister pack sets: 1 of the 6 sets contains these 6 colours-
the traditional metallic colours, and the other 6 set contains the other brighter metallic
colours in this set. Back to taking a look at the packaging, the
front is simple and straight forward, containing basic information. It is worth drawing attention
to the paint-brush symbol here though, this means that the product it wastersoluble which
is something that really excited me about the product. You may be able to tell that my tin is a little
beaten up- it has some dinks and scratches- but that’s because it has done a fair but
of travelling. This set is also getting on a bit now, I received it in July of 2016 as
a gift. Turning over onto the back, there’s a little
blurb in English and other languages about the pencils:
It says: “These highly reflective, watersoluble metallic pencils blend together beautifully
to create vivid and striking effects. The shimmering pigments produce brilliant definition
when used on dark backgrounds and open up an array of possibilities to any creative
artist.” I’ll be checking to see if the product holds
up to these promises later on! There are a couple of techniques outlined
here too: The first is to “ Use black paper for best
effects” and the second one says to” Apply water to create interesting colour washes”. I’ll check these too of course in my testing
of the product. Other than that, there’s very little information on the tin. As always I would always like lightfastness
information to be clearly displayed on the tin- or anywhere really on the packaging as
this information is only available online, and I feel like they definitely could’ve
made better use of the space to include more information in general. But I can’t speak
for the newer packaging- perhaps they’ve improved on that. Taking a closer look inside, as usual there’s
the standard history of Derwent and the Cumberland Pencil factory on the inide of the lid. Like all tins of Derwent pencils, the set
sits on a plastic insert. I have noticed though that speficially with this tin, with a bit
of jostling- say if you have the pencils in a backpack, the set muddles up and the pencils
don’t necessarily stay in place. I think this happens because these hexagonal
pencils are a little smaller than the round pencils derwent also produces, but because
they use the same type of tray for all pencils, the narrower pencils have a little more room
to mvoe around. Originally the part of the tin with the pencils
and tray was entirely encased in cellophane, allowing the lid to be removed and the contents
viewed without being disturbed. I really like this way of packaging pencils as it means
you can check the pencils out before purchase if you’re buying them in-person. When I received the set I noticed that one
of the pencils- the red one- had a split down the wooden casing- meaning that the pencil
was defective. The fault seemed to go a few centimetres down the length of the pencil-
perhaps where the separate sides of the wood hadn’t been properly glued together, and it
would’ve been likely for the pencil to crack apart when sharpening or with use. I was able to take a picture of the defective
pencil before opening the cellophane which made my case pretty strong as it was clear
that it arrived faulty, and I was very quickly sent a couple of replacement pencils. I’ll
put a link to that photo I took in the description box below so you can see what the damage was
like. It certainly wasn’t an obvious problem so I can see why it might’ve slipped past
quality control. Derwent customer service is excellent anyway
so I think they would have sent a replacement even if I had opened the tin, but it’s always
worth checking your pencils before purchase or opening just in case! Let’s have a look at the pencils themselves
though. Each pencil consists of a 7mm hexagonal barrel, containing a 3.4mm wax-based core.
The wooden casings are Californian Incense Cedar and painted metallic silver, with dark
blue print. The print on the pencil is easily readable
and clearly shows what the pencil is as well as colour name and number. The same little
brush icon symbolising water solubility is also present on each pencil too.
Like all Derwent coloured pencils, the end-cap also shows the colour of the pencil although
as you see later, some of the colours are more representative than others. The older version of these metallic pencils-
the one with the metallic “M” as the cover art- have pencils that look slighty different.
Instead of the pencils having a silver body, they are painted with the same colour as the
pencil colour itself. So not just the end-cap like the later versions. I think the build quality of the pencils is
pretty standard for the hexagonal pencils Derwent make. I don’t know why but the round
8mm pencils Derwent offers seem to have slightly firmer and smoother feeling wood- especially
noticeable when sharpening- not to say that these are poor quality thought. The finish
of the wood could be slightly better and more robust-feeling on these pencils- in some areas
the wood grain is a little more visible, but I have a feeling that this is a result of
the metallic finish of the paint as the pencils themselves don’t feel uncomfortably rough. So now starting with swatching these pencils!
I’ve drawn a grid out here on some Canson Montval 300gsm watercolour paper, and I’ve
also added some strips of black Canson Mi Teintes in order to try these pencils out
on black paper. I’ll be testing each colour both wet and
dry, and I’ve drawn a line down each square in waterproof pen too in order to see the
opacity of the pencils. I won’t be using water with the swatches on the black paper as I’ve
found that Canson Mi Teintes doesn’t hold up well to water. The laydown of these pencils is generally
very smooth: some are softer than others- the hardest pencils are the Gold, Antique
Gold and Bronze. The softer pencils seem to be more opaque and cover the black line better
than the harder ones. They all sharpen very well though and later on I’ll use my Derwent
Superpoint crank sharpener to create a needle-sharp point to these pencils without a problem. The colours are very pigmented, and are especially
vivid once activated with water but unfortunately the metallic sheen disappears when dissolved
and doesn’t return. But with these pencils, a little pigment seems to go a very long way
. The waterbrush I’m using for this is also
made by Derwent and works well for this technique. It’s also worth mentioning that the colour
appears quite different when wet, and the colour shifts very slightly when dry too.
Additionally, the traditional metallic pencils seem more metallic and vivid on the black
paper, but I think that the opposite is true for the coloured metallics. The colour range is absolutely gorgeous and
very jewel-like! I think the colour selection overall is close to being perfect- my only
quibble with this is that the yellow is on the green-ish side, especially when used dry. Now that all these colours are swatched out
and dry, I go ahead and try erasing a small section across all the swatches
The colours don’t erase perfectly and some seem to have stained the paper. But there
doesn’t seem to be a difference in erasability between the dissolved swatches and the dry
swatches. Next up I try some techniques out with these
pencils- first off I tried blending the pencils together dry and they do seem to work pretty
well for this. They are quite waxy though so it does take some time and layering to
get the pigments to mix together, but I got a fairly seemless transition here- although
it isn’t the prettiest of gradients owing to the greenish tone of the yellow. With this
dry blend I tried pulling pigment from the bottom with a wet brush to get a better sense
of how they have mixed together, and I think this part looks much prettier. After this I wanted to try a wet blend, so
I drew out some sqaures of the 3 primary colours again- but this time with no overlaps- and
I tried pulling the pigments into each other with a wet brush to mix. This also works pretty
well but is no easy feat to get a smooth gradient here: if you pull the colours too far across
you can end up with a muddy colour, and it’s very difficult to fully dissolve the dry pigment
in such tight quarters. After this I drew out some boxes for a test
to see how well the pigments lift and reactivate with water. In the first copper box here I
added a drop of water to the centre and lifted the pigment with some kitchen towel and repeated
this a few times until I couldn’t lift any more pigment. This worked pretty well and
got the area almost back to white. The second box I’ll come back to later to do the same
test, but first I’ll activate the whole area with water and allow it to dry. This is to
see if the pigment becomes permanent after applying water. As you’ll see later, the colour
does lift pretty well- but does stain slightly more than the first one. Next up I drew three purple squares to test
out other forms of blending: the Derwent blender pen, a paper blending stump and the Derwent
Blender pencil. Honestly, I didn’t think any of these worked particularly well. The blender
pen worked the best but has the same effect as water in that the metallic sheen disappears,
but I think the result would be a lot more vivid if water had been used instead. The
blending stump pulled pigment across and did polish the square, making it very shiny. The
Blending pencil seemed to pull crumbs of the purple pigment and smoosh them out across
the paper, giving a patchy result. I also wanted to see how many layers it took
for a metallic effect to appear with these pencils- or to see how many different tones
you can achieve with just one pencil. This will absolutely vary on how lighthanded you
can be- and patient! I managed to get to 11 layers before giving up my patience and burnishing
the last one- but it looked like I was pretty close to the end anyway in that the swatches
from 9 layers onwards seemed to be pretty identical and that a heavier hand was necessary
to smooth out the tooth of the paper. Burnishing seems to be necessary if you want a metallic
sheen, otherwise in my opinion it just looks like the sheen that appears after a few layers
of any sort of wax based pencil. Under this test I tried using the blender
pencil and a paper blending stump on top of a thickly applied square of gold to see if
that made any difference to the metallic result. I don’t think it makes a huge improvement
but it does appear slightly more glittery I think. At the bottom of the page I repeat some of
the same tests on black paper to see if there’s any difference- and as you can see the Derwent
Blender pencil leaves a white residue on the page. Here’s a closer look at the swatch chart to
give a better glimpse of how metallic these pencils are.
And as you can see here, the end-caps could be a little more accurate and representative-
particularly for the purple. Moving on to my favourite bit- seeing this
product in action! Here I’m using Pastelmat in the colour Anthracite, which is a beautiful
charcoal grey colour. This paper is the darkest paper I have that holds up to wet techniques-
and of course I thought both of these things are important to show the pencils off to their
full potential. As you can see I’ve already sketched out
a magpie here. I thought that a subject matter that has a naturally metallic sheen would
be a good choice- plus I just love magpies! I also decided to use these metallic pencils
in conjunction with some other Derwent products as this set is limited in that it doesn’t
contan a wide range of values, meaning that it would be very difficult to shade and render
something realistically. I I chose the Derwent Watercolour pencils and
Derwent Artists Black and White to support the metallic pencils for this piece- both
of these sets I’ve reviewed previously and I’ll leave a link to those in the cards
in the top right and in the description box below. I ended up only using the Black and
White in the watercolour set and Pure and Raven in the black and white set, as I found
that I had enough range in hues for this piece just with the metallic pencils. On a similar note, I would not recommend usinga
metallic art supply if your goal is to try and render a metallic or reflective object
realistically- for that you’ll need to pay close attention to the contrasts and abstract
shapes in the form rather than trying to get a metallic effect. I’ve already made a tutorial
on how to render reflective objects so I’ll leave a link to that in the cards and description
too. These pencils however are very well suited
for accents on a piece, or for crafts and colouring books. I think they would be particularly
perfect for hobby applications, because the lightfastness of these pencils are a mixed
bag like the majority of Derwent products. Lightfastness is the measure of how long a
pigment can last before fading, and half of the pencils in this set score under 6 on the
Blue Wool Scale- meaning that half of the set isn’t considered archival and aren’t ideal
for pieces destined for sale or display. For this piece I’ve only used the pencils in this
set that are more lightfast, which also just so happens to coincide with the pencils I’d
choose to colour this magpie anyway. In the description box I’ll leave a link to
the lightfastness information for these pencils- and how the blue wool scale translates to
the real-world in regards to expected longevity. A drawback of these pencils- or any metallic
supply- is that they don’t scan or photograph particularly well because of their reflective
sheen- or they just won’t appear metallic at all as a digital version. This means that
unlike other products with low lightfast ratings, you don’t have the fallback of using the artwork
made from them as prints. Well- I suppose technically speaking you do, but the whole
point of the product really is to be metallic or shimmery, and the flat colour or watercolour
techniques that would be visible on a digital print, can be easily achieved with other lines
of pencils that do a better job for this application, or at least have a wider selection of colours. The Derwent watercolour pencils mix very well
with the Metallic pencils both wet and dry, and the Artists pencils also seemed to blend
and layer well with the metallics. I used the watercolour pencils primarily for adding
in the white and black feathers, and the Derwent Artists black and white pencils for the detailing. For this piece I started off by laying down
some metallic pencils and dissolving them with water to create an underpainting to which
I then added black and white watercolour pencils to. I then carried on layering and blending
the metallic pencils and adding in black and white when needed, and towards the end I start
using more of the Artists black and white for detail and definition. You may have noticed that these pencils haven’t
been used much despite owning them for 1 and a half years. That’s not because I don’t like
them, it’s because I find that their application is very niche and I only tend to use them
for smaller drawings in my sketchbook. I also tend to use them just for small details rather
than larger areas and as a result they haven’t worn down very much. The derwent metallic pencils seemed to work
very well on pastelmat, appearing very bright and pigmented. One drawback with this paper
is that I think the metallic effect was somewhat hindered by the texture of the paper- I had
to lay down quite a bit of pencil in order to fill in the tooth of the paper in order
to get a smooth result that reflected the light. But even on smoother paper they aren’t
hugely shiny- I wouldn’t recommend them if you’re looking for a very bright metallic
finish, but they work well for subtle accents. They are more shimmery or glittery than metallic.
However, I think that this is a beautiful effect in itself and is quite unique. There are certainly other types of art supply
out there that offer a shinier finish- such as inks, watercolours and acrylics. At some
point I’d like to test different metallic mediums to see how they compare. The benefit
of the Derwent Metallic set is that they’re in pencil form- they aren’t messy and they’re
easily transportable. On a similar note, I’d really like to compare
these pencils to other metallic pencils, but I think I’d also like to try these out against
Derwent Graphitint. These of course are wax based and the Graphitint is graphite-based,
but they seem to have a similar application and result so it would be interesting to see
how they relate to each other. Like all Derwent products, this set is non-toxic,
but also the whole set is vegan which is a nice little bonus. So do the packaging’s claims hold true?
I think it’s fair to say that “highly reflective” might be a slight overstatement for these
pencils. They are definitely reflective as far as coloured pencils go, but I’d say that
they’re about equally as reflective as graphite can become.
I agree that they blend together beautifully and can create vivid and striking effects,
and can create brilliant definition when used on dark backgrounds.
Their new packaging calls them “professional quality” but their website states that they
are “perfect for hobbyists”- which seems perhaps a little contradictory but given that
they are high quality, well-made pencils yet have a mixed set of lighftast ratings, I wouldn’t
say that either of these statements are false. At the time of uploading, these pencils are
11 british pounds on the UK Amazon and just under 13 dollars on the US site. I think this
makes them very affordable and good value for money, and similar in price to some competing
brands. These definitely have the edge in my opinion though as they do infact have lightfast
ratings whereas most competitors for this set don’t. So to summarise some of the things I like
and dislike about this set: Starting off with the disadvantages, one of
the biggest problems I can see people having with this set is that they aren’t super metallic,
although I do appreciate that there is certainly a limitation to how metallic a coloured pencil
could ever be. On a similar note, the metallic effect is
only really visible if thickly applied which means that you’re limited to the strongest
saturation of colour if you want a metallic effect. What would really be awesome to see
is some lighter and darker metallic colours too- or even just a pearlescent white and
black, in order to be able to mix metallic tints and shades.
My main issue is the mixed lightfastness ratings, but that’s something that Derwent seems to
struggle with frequently. And a couple of quibbles: the end-caps could
be a little more representative and it would be nice if the yellow was brighter and less
green-grey looking. On the otherhand The main reason why I like
this set is just how unique it is. Some of the colours here are incredibly unique and
you won’t be able to find an equivalent elsewhere that is highly lightfast. Most of the lightfast
metallic pencils I own are just the standard gold, silver, copper or bronze, but this set
has so many more options. They blend well, generally have a soft laydown
and they readily dissolve in water. I have used them to sketch with for watercolour doodles
and they offer a beautiful effect when used in this way. I think as a result, they are
a pretty versatile pencils. Here’s the finished piece- I really like how
it turned out despite using a fairly limited palette! So that’s it for this video, I hope you found
this review useful- if you did, please leave it a like! Don’t forget to check out my other
reviews if you like what I do- or hit that subscribe button to keep up to date with my
future arty videos. Thank you very much for watching, hope you
have a lovely week and I’ll see you in the next video!


  • CarmenPHE

    Your reviews are always so nice and organized. Thank you for making so many Derwent reviews. I always see their products on different art supplies shops but I haven't actually seen many people using them. Where I live, the best option I have for a wax-based pencil is the Colorsoft range. Have you thought about making a review for those?

  • Patrick Fischer

    These look amazing,just begging to be used with toned paper.just curious do these foul the bristles of brushes with staining or residue? Is there traces of metallic in the next use.the bird is beautiful,and a very thorough and great your vids and art.thank you for the review,I am definitely interested in these,I've been doodling a lot lately with gel pens on toned paper๐ŸŒž

  • Michelle Law

    Hi, great review. I'm the artist that drew the butterflies on the tin. I found they work best on black paper and to get the colours to be at their most vibrant the pencils need to be extremely sharp. I didn't use water with the pencils to create the butterflies, I preferred them dry.

  • Malamik Art

    Great review and gorgeous pencil painting ๐Ÿ‘

  • MaZEEZaM

    The tests are good, shows they are not for me, they dont particularly look metallic to me. Great bird picture, I didn't know you had magpies in the UK, or Norway? they are quite different to our Magpies in Australia, ours are a much taller slimmer bird and are just black and white, very intelligent, have been recorded to have a memory of at least 20 years! remembering the scientist 20 years after the person first visited its nest for an experiment on swooping when the person returned. This is an Australian magpie

  • MaZEEZaM

    I think I prefer the Derwent Black and White set.

  • MaZEEZaM

    I just bought the Caran d'Ache Luminance 84 wooden box set and WOW, the quality of the box they come in is REALLY nice, fitting for the pencils certainly worth the extra cost if you can afford them. I also bought the Polychromos pencils in the box set and though I like how the two shelves are tiered the box quality has nothing on the Caran d'Ache and the sheer length of the case makes them really quite inconvenient. If I was to buy them again I would get the cardboard box set as the box is just to big to fit on most peoples desks at least without shifting a lot of stuff, It probably would be much better if it had three tiers of shelves making the overall length of the box much shorter.

  • Vanessa Marella

    Amazing drawing Claudia! !!!

  • Parasol Mushroom Art

    Pretttttty Birdy!!

  • SpontaneouslyCrazzy

    You can also use colored pencil touch up texture with any pigment including metallic pearl-ex pigment. I tryed metallic blue pearl ex and it was just as metallic as acrylic paint if not more metallic. I would use it on the final layers though because it's a little bit slicker to draw on than the titanium white that the touch up texture comes with.

  • Victoria Woods

    I really enjoy how thorough you are with your reviews!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘ It's nice to know every little detail about the pencils before committing to a purchase. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘ So thanks for that! Also, this magpie is just so precious and lovely! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’œ

  • Watch it

    Awesomeness. Thx fo the Review sometimes you just need a good result to be convinced of a purchase. So far I wasn't too pleased with most reviews I've seen not realizing theire full potential. Been eyeing theese and the Spectrum Noir Metalics. Hmmm im torn now between the two. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • 699jude

    An interesting review which sent me scurrying to check my Derwent Metallics. I bought a blister pack of them years back when the barrels were painted completely in the core colour. I was intrigued by your info that your 12 pack were water soluble, these earlier pencils of mine aren't water soluble, but still a very good pencil.

  • Janine Marshall

    Very informative, thank you. You have beautiful hands too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Crystall P

    I really appreciate your very thorough review. i have often bypassed this set on the shelf. I think you realistically summed up the pros and cons for the pencils. Thank you!!!

  • Richard F. Doss II

    I grind them into powder then mix it with powder watercolor…looks really cool. also, rubbing alcohol to mix.

  • Claudia Hemmings

    Fab! I searched for videos on metallic pencils because I'm drawing birds in my garden including starlings and magpies, and wondered if metallic pencils might work for the iridescence. It was a great bonus that your demo piece was a magpie!

  • Tammy Eaton

    It seems that a person can use conventional pencils or luminescent colors to get the same effects as these metallic pencils. I think they're a bit gimmicky.

  • Corvus Corone

    Thanks for the helpful review! Love your magpie! Why does your pastelmat deal with water?! I had the problem with Clairefontaine pastelmat that the sandy surface dissolved leaving a blank base that could not be filled with pigments.

  • Joshua Jordan

    Love your work, tutorials or reviews really just anything, your voice is so soothing your a true pleasure to learn from. Oh and you never make me feel dumb that's really nice. Not that anyone means to but other common YouTube artists whom I love to learn from do sometimes sorta slam others without meaning to be just assuming everyone does things"their" way or should have some certain amount of knowledge already if they are daring to watch their tutorial.

  • Edgardo Edorna

    Hi Claudia, first, congratulations for your video, is very interesting. I'm begginer, and then my question is, this kind of pencils may use on white paper? Which will be the type (300 grs-100 grs)? I' ll appreciatte your answer and congratulations again.

  • Wendy B

    Fabulous review well done ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿค—

  • Jay Dee

    Are there any templates one could download for color swatching vs having to actually draw the lines in a suitable paper than you know of? Thnx in advance!

  • sayantan saha

    Great .. could u please let me know whether the DERWENT Drawing Colouring Pencils Blister (Set of 6) is fine for soft pastel paintings, please suggest, it would be helpful, as per your suggestion i will decide

  • Gia King

    Really great, every objective review. Great tests to put the pencil through to prove their efficacy, too,

  • becky quick

    Oh, Claudia I did watch this one when you did but it is so Lovely!!!! will watch again, so pretty!!!

  • Joan Porter

    I am sure this vedio is informative and probably lovely but. 4 hours is way to long. I used to watch long demos but bypass them .. I can't see spending hours and hours of a day watching them . The chatting and laughing is annoying . Sorry ..dont mean to be
    nasty . If there would be some much shorter ones I would watch again .
    Dee Dee Williams is very talented. I especially liked her original art.

  • RelakSHUN

    8:42 "The metallic sheen disappears when dissloved"
    This is why I am here. So, it is not because I do something wrong, it just works this way ๐Ÿ™


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