Are Derwent products vegan friendly?

See our list of ranges that contain no animal products.

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Is the Inktense range permanent?

Yes, the Inktense pencils and blocks, once the pigment is dissolved fully in water, become permanent when dry. You can then work on top of this layer. The colour is vibrant and like an ink.

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What is the difference between the pencil ranges?


Graphic pencils, sketching pencils, graphite and charcoal products that are often used for quick sketches or black and white drawings. Graphite and charcoal are available in different forms depending on the effect you want to create. For example pencils are less messy and more precise or you can use blocks to create big,


Coloured pencils that you do not mix with water, for example Coloursoft, Drawing, Artists, and Studio pencils. Coloursoft are our softest pencils, perfect for quick applications of bold, vibrant colours. Artists and Studio pencils have the same colour strip, great for blending and layering, but different barrel shapes.


Products that can be used dry or with water to create brilliant effects. Watercolour pencils have a soft texture and once dry are not permanent. Inktense are vibrant colours that dry to a permanent ink finish that you can work over.Some sketching and drawing products are also water-soluble.


A classic medium offering beautiful colour that’s easy to blend and smudge. In block form you can cover large areas quickly and add broad strokes or fine lines. The pencils have a soft, powdery texture and a velvety finish but are easier to control and less messy than the blocks, great for more detailed work.

More questions

How did Derwent decide on the pencil livery?

The stained barrels were chosen mainly for environmental reasons. The UV coating process is environmentally friendly and stains are the ideal finish for UV coating. The angled dips were chosen as a design feature to make the pencils stand out and have their own Derwent identity.

What gives a pencil its texture?

All the ingredients play a part. High levels of pigment will tend to make a pencil hard. The amount and type of wax will define how it interacts with the paper.

What is lightfastness? 

A measure of how quickly something will change when exposed to UV light (sunlight). Light can cause colour to whiten, darken, fade or completely disappear. Lightfastness refers to the chemical stability of a pigment under long exposure to light. Our colours are rated on a scale of 1 to 8, the higher the number the better lightfast rating it has, so a colour with a rating of 8 will react more slowly when exposed to light.

What's the difference between the graphite degrees?

B stands for BLACK and H stands for HARD. 9B is very soft & black and 9H is very hard & pale in shade. HB is half way between the two. F degree was made (stands for FINE) for doing shorthand in the days before computers!

How are degrees made and controlled?

By varying the proportions of clay and graphite. More graphite means a softer, blacker degree. More clay means a harder degree. HB has 50:50 clay and graphite.

My pastel pencil won’t sharpen, it keeps breaking.

Pastels are more delicate than normal pencils so they need to be handled with care during sharpening. Also the materials used to make pastel pencils are more abrasive than the materials in other pencils so the blades in sharpeners and craft knives will blunt more quickly. We recommend using a craft knife or special pastel sharpener and replacing them regularly to keep the blades sharp.

How can we identify when a particular batch of pencils was made?

Each batch has a date code stamped on next to the imprint. This identifies the week that batch was made. From that we can trace the exact details of when the pencils were manufactured: the day, the operator, the machine etc.

Can Derwent products be used by vegans? 

Some of the colours in our ranges contain no animal products at all so can be used by vegans. If you would like to know which collections are vegan-friendly click here.

Are Derwent pencils non-toxic?

Yes, all of our pencils are non-toxic.

Can I buy loose pencils or are they only available in tins?

Loose pencils from all our Derwent ranges are available to buy individually. Please contact your local store to see if they have the colour you need in stock or you can buy them from our website, just visit the page of the range you are interested in.