Review: Derwent Inktense watercolour paper (300gsm 100% cotton)

Derwent Inktense Paper is 100% cotton artist-grade watercolour paper from Derwent.

Inktense is actually the product line for watercolour colour products. The Derwent Inktense pencils are the most well known. There are also Inktense blocks (just like watercolour half pans) and Inktense sticks. These are all water-soluble dry media.

I find it weird for this paper to be under the Inktense product line. When I think of Inktense, it's always something to draw with. But this Inktense product is something to paint on.

This paper is made with 100% cotton. It's 300gsm, coldpress, acid-free, archival and natural white (off white). The hotpress version is called Derwent Lightfast Paper. Yeah, I don't really get their naming system.

At the time of this review, the paper is only available in three sizes: 7 x 10, 9 x 12, 12 x 16 inches. And they are available in 20-sheet pads.

The paper is surface sized to handle water. Paper texture on both sides is similar so you can paint on both sides if you want to.

The paper quality is excellent. Paper quality is comparable to Arches and Lanaquarelle, better than Fabriano Artistico.

The paper has the right amount of absorbency.

It's great for wet on wet techniques. Paint and colours can blend easily. Since the paper is off-white, colours are not as vibrant compared to paint on bright white paper.

The paper is too rough for pencils, but not as rough compared to Arches.

This paper works great with pen and ink. Lines are solid and do not feather.

Glazing or layering techniques work well. And the paper is quite forgiving too. You can scrub out non-staining colours and the paper surface will still be intact.

I really enjoy drawing and painting on this paper.

This paper is really expensive, and that's the only negative thing about this paper.

Dickblick sells Derwent Inktense Paper and these are the prices:

  • 7 x 10 inches - US$29.99 ($1.50 per sheet)
  • 9 x 12 inches - USS35.99 ($1.8 per sheet)
  • 12 x 16 inches - US$59.99 ($3 per sheet)

Derwent Inktense Paper on Amazon UK

  • 7 x 10 inches - £28.79 (US$40.7)
  • 9 x 12 inches - £34.88 (US$49.31)

Just for comparison purposes, these are prices for Arches pads and blocks from Dickblick

  • 9 x 12 inch pad - US$15.9 ($1.33 per sheet)
  • 10 x 14 inch pad - US$21.60 (1.8 per sheet)
  • 11.7 x 16.5 inch pad - US$27.00 ($2.25 per sheet)
  • 7 x 10 inch block - US$28.92 ($1.45 per sheet)
  • 9 x 12 inch block - USS35.22 ($1.76 per sheet)
  • 12 x 16 inch block - US$75.57 ($3.78 per sheet)

Arches blocks are glued on four sides and are more expensive than the pads.

Let's just compare the pads. Derwent vs Arches per sheet, for 9 x 12 inches it's $1.8 vs $1.33, for 12 x 16 inches it's $3 vs $2.25.

Arches is definitely one of the best watercolour paper. I would say Derwent Inktense Paper is of similar quality, but noticeably more expensive. The Derwent paper comes from UK and UK prices are even more expensive than USA prices.

So in terms of value for money, it doesn't make sense to buy Derwent when you can get Arches watercolour paper at lower prices.

Anyway, if you do want to get Derwent Inktense Paper to test, get them from Dickblick USA.



Lightfast is the name of

Lightfast is the name of Derwent's traditional (non-water-soluble) colored pencils, and colored pencils users usually prefer smoother paper, so maybe that's why the hotpress paper is named Lightfast. And since Inktense pencils are water-soluble, they are closer to watercolors? Yeah, it doesn't make much sense to me, either.

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