After being burned badly by Derwent Graphitints I decided to test one of my favorite Derwent products which I had always just trusted: Derwent Drawing.
These thick colored pencils with a muted color range and elegant clear varnished barrels, were first introduced in a set of 5 or 6 (it's been so long I really can't remember; the Dick Blick site says they were first introduced in 1986; I found them after reading an article in Step-by-Step Graphics on illustrator Peter de Sève). The set contained the essential drawing colors such as Ivory, Chocolate Brown, Sanguine, White, Yellow Ochre—you get the idea.
I always loved these pencils because they were drier and less waxy in their feel and application than regular wax pencils. They still had a waxy binder so it wasn't like using pastels (which I can't use because of allergies and asthma). They were always a happy drawing medium for me. Something that married well with watercolor. The black made an excellent pencil for sketching Emma and Dottie (black and white Alaskan Malamutes). When I photocopied those sketches to use as transfers for making carvings the lines were always crisp and clean. If I scanned those sketches and turned them into bitmaps they retained their pencil stroke quality when printed out in photocopier artist books.
Their one drawback is a direct result of their main appeal. With the drier, less waxy feel and softer application smudging became more of an issue. I rarely use these in my journal unless I am only working on one page of a page spread. Some smudging on the opposite page always occurs.
But the fun of working with these pencils (if at heart you long for a softer pencil) far outweighs the smudge issue.
Imagine my delight when several years ago Derwent decided to enlarge the color selection of this pencil line beyond the traditional earth tones to include blues and greens and even a lighter yellow. I bought a full set of 24 colors immediately and worked with it whenever I could. On those occasions when a less muted color was needed I found that they melded well with my other wax colored pencils.
Then a couple years ago Derwent started making some of the colors in stick form (like the Prismacolor sticks or Conte sticks). As far as I know the only way to get the sticks is to purchase the "Derwent Drawing Collection 24" which contains 13 of the Derwent Drawing pencils, a 4B Derwent Sketching (graphite pencil), a kneaded eraser, a sharpener, and 8 of these wonderful sticks. You are still short some of the wonderful colors of the full 24 color range so you might want to buy a tin of 24 pencils or buy missing items from open stock.
(Note: originally open stock on this line was sent to stores as "tubs" which were a collection of colors that couldn't be ordered individually. This made getting the color you wanted from open stock frustrating and hit or miss. I don't know if this has been changed. Happily I tend to use all these colors equally fast so I just get a new tin of 24 as needed.)
When I compared the exposed sample to the control sample I let out an audible sigh of relief. There's no reason for me to give up this pencil line. I can continue to enjoy the wonderful range of colors and the delicious workability.
Note: after this post went up I had several questions about my comment about Derwent Graphitints so I inserted the link to my October 9, 2008 post on that pencil line so people could find it easily.