So, I had both of these sets in my Amazon wishlist and the other day an email comes in from Amazon telling me that I could the Inktense Blocks, 72 set, for about 33% off. My willpower, weakened by it being about 6:00am, caved and I ordered the blocks. I already had the 24 block set, so I knew what I was getting into.
A couple of days later, the blocks show up at my office, but instead of 72, somebody at Amazon Fulfillment thought that they could substitute two of the 36 set blocks. Now, under many circumstances, that might be a reasonable assumption, but not in this case. 72 distinct colours versus 36 of them twice isn't a reasonable option. So... Amazon redid the order.
Now, while they were about doing that, it happens that the Inktense Pencils also come on sale, at 50% off. Willpower is officially shot to hell, I ordered them. Since I'm a Prime customer (and this is entirely a dangerous condition), I got both sets at the same time. Nice!
For those of you not familiar with Inktense, it's basically very similar to watercolours, but instead of being a pigment-based colour, it's a dye-based ink. What's the difference, you wonder?
- Pigments are solid granules which are usually suspended in a binder such as gum arabic (watercolour) or linseed oil (oil paints). Dyes are dissolved into the binder and are usually more liquid.
- They're permanent and waterproof when dry. Watercolour can often still be manipulated after drying, but once the Inktense has dried on the paper, it's permanent.
Working with Inktense is otherwise pretty similar to watercolour in many ways, though potentially with some additional features...
- The pencils are pretty similar to watercolour pencils, you can do layering and blending before activating with water. The pencils can be applied dry, you can apply them to a wet surface, or you can take colour using a wet brush.
- The blocks can be used like pastels, the size and shape lend themselves to filling in large spaces rapidly before activating with water.
- The blocks can be used like watercolour pans, which is generally how I use them, where you can use wet brushes to lift colour and then mix with other colours or apply direct.
So, Derwent ships both sets in a nice metal tin and the blocks/pencils are nicely laid out in plastic liners and the blocks have mixing wells as so:
There are two complaints I have with this:
- Flimsy plastic, a knock I have for the Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils, that lends itself to accidental spillage and then a need to figure out what goes where. Wasn't much of an issue with the 24 block set since it was one layer and you didn't remove them from the pan, but the 72 set has two layers and so the top one needs to be removed to get at the lower one.
- Grey. Seriously, who paints watercolour on grey paper? Mixing areas for water media really should be white, not grey. In other words, if you're not making the mixing area white, don't bother creating it, shrink the package size and you could shave a few inches off the length of the case that way.
Anyways, I'm looking forward to some time with these, I may even produce something worth posting!