Graphitint Pencils

I buy a lot of art supplies. Some I purchase because I really need them. Others I buy because I want them for projects I have in mind. And some — many, in fact — I order simply because I’ve heard about them, read about them, seen them demonstrated and just think it would be fun to get my hands on them.

Whenever these new art supplies arrive, I bring them to the studio and then… well, I hate to admit this, but I may or may not get around to using them right away. Things I need, such as canvas panels or new tubes of paint, are quickly put in their proper places, but all those other things as often as not don’t even have a place where they belong. Long story short, those supplies are apt to end up anywhere, and once they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind, and I sometimes forget buying them.

And so it was that it came as quite a surprise recently when I went rummaging through my big box of drawing supplies — pencils and paper, mostly — and came across a set of Derwent Graphitint Pencils.

This is a set of 12, and according to Amazon I ordered these in May 2018. Yep. Nearly four years ago. Since then they’ve obviously been sitting around in a storage bin, just waiting to be used.

I found these pencils one morning as I was looking around for a different medium to use for my morning’s “neurographic art” practice. Oh, how interesting! I remember seeing these pencils online and being fascinated by the idea of colored — or “tinted”, at least — graphite. So, I bought them, got them, put them away, and apparently forgot all about them.

Here’s a bit of information about “graphitint” pencils. This is taken directly from Derwent’s advertising:

  • Graphitint Pencils appeal to artists looking to add dimension to graphite drawings, while retaining the integrity of graphite pencil renderings
  • Soft and smooth and can be blended to produce an endless array of soft hues
  • Used dry they provide a hint of color; used wet they transform into rich, vibrant color
  • Colors can be modified or removed with a soft eraser and clean water

Tinted graphite that’s also water soluble! Yes, yes, yes! Count me in, and for the life of me I have no idea why I didn’t immediately take these out and play with them the moment they arrived back in May 2018.  I was actually doing a lot of pencil drawing at the time, which is apparently what prompted me to order the set, so it’s surprising that they were simply put away without even being used.

But now that I’ve found them, I’m having quite a lovely time getting acquainted with them, and yes, I used them for one neurographic drawing.

Like so many of my other neurographic drawings, this one reminds me a bit of some gigantic bug. Or maybe it’s more like bodies in motion. The colors — tints, actually — are vey subtle, but if you look closely perhaps you can recognize a few differences in the graphite from one “shape” to the next.

The colors are:

  • Aubergine
  • Port
  • Dark Indigo
  • Slate Green
  • Ivy
  • Chestnut
  • Cool Brown
  • Cocoa
  • Storm
  • Midnight Black
  • Cloud Gray
  • Cool Gray

In addition to this 12-pencil set, Derwent sells a smaller 6-pencil set, as well as a larger set of 24. Here is a listing of the various colors available.

I really enjoyed using these pencils. As you can tell, I used them very lightly, putting just enough pressure on them to create a mid-range value. On one shape — toward the upper right — I added a bit of water to the “port” color, just to see what effect it created.
Finding these pencils excited me! I’m not great at drawing, but I’m learning and getting better all the time. Maybe I didn’t use them before because — subconsciously — I didn’t feel I was ready to use them. Now, though I’m having fun with them. While similar to watercolor pencils, they’re really not at all the same. They’re similar, too, to colored pencils, but again, really not at all the same.
I find these pencils great for making quick little sketches to use for compositional studies. They’re also ideal for my nature journals. The colors are soft and subtle — just right for gentle scenes of grasses, skies, and trees. They do, indeed, add a new dimension to graphite drawing.  In this sketch, I’ve used a small watercolor brush with a bit of water to bring out a hint of the colors.
This didn’t scan well — the colors are a bit light in this image — but you can get an idea of the delicate touch these Graphitint pencils give to a drawing. Another technique for Graphitint I’ve learned recently is using it for shading effects in mixed media drawings. It is one more tool in my art toolbox now,
In the video below, Derwent Product Manager — and artist — Sarah Taylor demonstrates how to use Graphitint.
With these pencils in hand, I want to grab my sketchbook and draw, draw, and draw some more. I want to draw flowers and trees, birds, and waterfalls. I want to draw everything! I look at the different colors in my 12-pencil tin, and I think of so many things I want to draw. And, of course, I can’t wait to treat myself to the larger set so that I’ll have even more of these delicate tints to play with.
When I do order them, I’ll be watching for them to arrive, eagerly waiting to open them and enjoy creating with them. They won’t be misplaced, I promise. I won’t be opening a box four years from now and thinking, “Uh, when did I buy these?” Trust me, they’re going to be very well used!
NOTE: Sorry for the little “periods” inserted between paragraphs. WordPress was not being cooperative with formatting this morning.


  1. Your art supply buying habits sound so familiar. I sure can say I can top that. Recently I started to use paper I have been hoarding for 4 decades now. No joke. But by now this old rice paper shows qualities you will never find with new paper.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Funny you should spotlight these, as I finally ordered the tinted charcoal pencil set from Derwent last week and tracking says it will be delivered today.

    Liked by 1 person

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