Derwent Inktense Paint Pan Travel Set Art Supply Review Lightfast Test - Not Real Watercolor


You may be thinking... wait... this set isn't watercolor - it's ink!!!


Well, technically this is neither ink nor watercolor. Ink is traditionally liquid and made for writing. These are a bit ink-like in appearance after applying water to them. The pigment and special binder is sold as a hard chalky substance created for use in a pencil form, that when wet looked intense (like ink might). Thus the "ink-tense" name.


This particular set is styled as a traditional watercolor format (a half-pan set) which is a gimmick to attract watercolor artists. It has also gotten a TON of reviews from people claiming them to be a good "watercolor set" - so this video clarifies that misconception. Though it should also be noted that "watercolor" is a term often used for any pigment or dye that is water soluble, such as ecoline/liquid watercolors/watercolor brush markers, which are not traditional watercolor paints either. The manufacturers of art products really do a lot to confuse consumers and do not clarify that often, watercolor simply means it's water-based not alcohol, acrylic or oil. Sadly this often means that people accidentally buy supplies they didn't know would fade, since dye products are not lightfast.


You may notice that I did not use the water brush that comes with this set. Water brushes only make using water based mediums more difficult, and this set's brush is not a good quality. The missing cap makes the bristles bend as the brush comes loose in the box, which only makes this already sub-par brush head worse over time.


In general, a water brush offers less control of water, and the poor quality bristles offer less precision of brush stroke. The only good reason to use it is if you are traveling and it's more convenient than a separate water source and a higher quality brush. This has no effect on the paint, other than being applied with less precision. You have the freedom to use a little or a lot of water in either case, but the water brush can leak it uncontrollably.


BUT I LOVE MY INKTENSE! Be aware that I'm not saying it's a terrible product. I'm only saying that it's not a replacement for watercolor, not should be expected to work as well as watercolors. I also carefully, factually, without undue bias or trash talk, point out the falseness of the claims the product advertises. People with no desire to compare these to other products may find them to be useful in their unique art techniques. My favorite thing about Inktense is the gouache-like opaqueness of certain colors, allowing them to be used in layering methods. Like the yellow highlights and stars in the video.


If you would like to purchase this product, the link is below. They also have a second color set, which I have not yet reviewed. I'll include that as well, as I noticed the 2nd set has white and alternate colors which may interest you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Note: this page contains affiliate links. All product opinions are my own. I am committed to honest reviews showcasing both the pros and cons of each product. I have not received payment from any brand for a review. I earn a commission from sales made through this web page's clickable banners or links to Amazon, Arteza, Scrapbook, Jackson's or Blick Art Materials websites.