Product Review: Derwent Academy Art Supplies

Product Review: Derwent Academy Art Supplies

This post has been sponsored by Derwent Academy art supplies. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Let’s face it. When an art supply company asked if I could review some of their products, I had to say yes! Who turns down art supplies, and the excuse to get creative?

Derwent graciously sent over an assortment of the Derwent Academy products, a line designed for aspiring artists, hobbyists, and students to help develop their artistic skill. Of the care package that I received, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the three products that I was most excited to try: the sketching pencils, colour pencils, and watercolour pencils.

Derwent Academy Sketching Pencils

Derwent Academy Sketching Pencils

In early September, I enrolled in a 7-week portrait drawing course at a local art studio (my first “official” art class in over 10 years!). As a self-taught artist, the class has been a refreshing way to learn techniques I would’ve never explored on my own. The portrait class is heavy in graphite pencil use, so I obviously wanted to dive into the sketching pencil set from Derwent Academy the moment I saw them.

I appreciated that this set of a dozen pencils gave me very full range of hard and soft graphite pencils for my sketch. I also recently discovered that I am no expert in sharpening pencils, so coupled with the fact that I’m heavy-handed, the break-resistant graphite made my life a whole lot easier.

When I had to erase my guide lines, the marks were easy to remove, without much effort, leaving a beautiful portrait behind. The best part? The pencils live in a portable and sturdy tin when I was done, which makes for easy storage.

Derwent Academy Colour Pencils

After my pleasant experience with the sketching pencils, I had to try the colour pencils next! 

My overall impression of these pencils are that they are much harder than I would have expected, and that the pigmentation was lacking. I usually prefer a softer colour pencil, which helps with paper coverage and blending. 

I used two different drawing techniques to draw the roses pictured below. The rose in red was achieved by using lots of pressure for all of the colors (I think my biceps are stronger now!), while the other rose was in my normal sketching style.


Because I had to use so much pressure for even coverage and pigment, blending different colors together became extremely difficult. There was too much waxy build-up, so the colors just laid on top of each other, rather than blending.

One thing to note however, I am comparing these pencils to my past experience with other professional-grade brands. For a beginning art student, these pencils will do just fine. 

Derwent Academy Watercolour Pencils

The final product I tested one I was most unfamiliar with, the watercolour pencils. Although I am a watercolorist, I’ve always used traditional paint for my compositions! I’ve heard about watercolor pencils in the past, and have been dying to try them out. So, when I saw that it was part of the package from Derwent Academy, I was pretty ecstatic! 

My first step was to sketch out the painting with the water soluble pencils. 

Penguin Watercolor Pencil Sketch

Then, with a wet, clean paint brush, I added water to the drawing. The effect was surprisingly just like watercolor!

Penguin Watercolor Pencil Painting

From my testing, I discovered that it's rather difficult to blend out rough lines with water once the paper is already wet - so do all of your sketching in the beginning!

Watercolor Baby Penguin

Building color layers can be difficult, but these pencils are great if you’re out and about, and don’t want to bring your paints with you. If I'm ever in the mood to do some light and quick painting (like when I'm travelling next month!), these pencils will be my go-to tools.

Overall, these watercolor pencils are pretty rad! The biggest perk is the easy clean up. Just sketch, add water, and voila! You’ve got yourself a watercolor style painting.

Final Thoughts

Of the three products I worked with the most, the set I’d definitely buy again would be the Derwent Sketching Pencils. I think the set is great for beginner artists, or experienced artists like myself, that don’t sketch that often.

Upon further research, I found that the price points are fair to the quality of the products, and is worth the investment if you’re just “looking to try” a new medium, without forking over the big bucks for the professional-grade products. I can also appreciate how all of their products were packaged in hard tins, which makes for easy storage and portability when I’m on-the-go.

Overall, I can attest that all of the products that I received are great for beginners who are just exploring new mediums, styles, or just their own creativity. 

For more information about the products I tested, please visit

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