Do it Yourself - The Inktense Travel Set

Derwent Inktense are the what happens when you mix ink with a water soluble binder that you can draw with. It's a very cool product, comes in pencil and block form, and it's the block form that lets you create a watercolour-like travel kit.

Derwent Inktense are gaining in  popularity, it seems, based on a lot of recent attention from YouTube artists like Lisa Clough. As people get introduced to them, they tend to really like the watercolour-like feel and the intensity of the colour that lands on the page. That, of course, has led many to look for ways to make them a bit more portable.

For those of us addicted to Amazon, there is a company called Meeden that makes classic watercolour tin pan sets that you can buy with, or without, a set of pans. These are perfect for making a travel kit of Inktense.

As you can see, I've already been using it. In the above half pans, I carefully used an art scalpel to create half inch pieces of Inktense blocks with two of these pieces fitting nice and snug into each pan. Do this very carefully, you just need to score it lightly on each of the four sides and then gently snap with your fingers.

I chose the 24 pan set, but you can mix as you desire, larger or smaller. The biggest reason I went that route is to get the white which, unlike watercolour, is actually useful as it is opaque. Of course, I always do a swatch card as it is useful for knowing what colours you have, especially as you use up the original blocks.

As you can see from the swatch card, the colours are quite vibrant, though some of that is lost in photographic translation. You also get a good variety across the main colour families that are of interest, with a nice mix of primaries and secondaries, including some decent earth tones. All in all, a good set for just about any topic with plenty of mixing options.

As a quick note, the ink is staining, prepare for that to happen your your palette.

Finally, I have been using this set to get a feel for how well it would work in practice. So, since there was a challenge around a lemon painting in one of the groups, I went with that: