All The Pretty Pastels – Derwent Pastels Unboxing

Hi, my name is Samantha Webb and I have an addiction, to buying art supplies! I have two beautiful paint pallets that have pastel colours (both by Art Philosophy) but I couldn’t help myself when I saw the shades that these paints came in. I ordered them with my Christmas money so I have to say thank you to my Grampy for them.

I couldn’t resist the pretty box.

Even the box is beautiful with lovely pink flamingos on the front. The box comes with twelve shades, a water brush and a sponge to clean your brush. I am not a fan of water brushes so I did not test that out in this review, it is a pretty standard brush though and I am sure that if you like them it would be a good brush.

I was annoyed when I opened the box to find lots of pigment crumbs all over the outside of the box, I thought that the insides must have got crushed in transit and that it would be a huge mess so I opened it reluctantly and found that the paint pans were in good condition. I do wish that the pans were individually sealed like most watercolour paint pans are but they are already open with just a plastic film over the pans to keep them in place.

The contents of the box also include a swatch card which is printed on vellum which gives you a good idea of the colours but the colour is always dependent on the paper that you use so I always make a swatch on watercolour card which will stay in the box for me to use in the future. I also make swatches in my swatch book which helps as a handy reference when choosing a pallet despite the paper having a cooler tone than most of my watercolour paper.

Swatches and Swatches.

You can see there are slight variations in tone depending on the paper used so when you are beginning any piece of art make sure that you swatch them on the paper you intent to use first.

The pigment is strong, I was expecting it to be a lot more translucent than it is. It picks up very easily and paints very smoothly onto the paper, I was impressed that it didn’t dry chalky at all, it dries like any other watercolour and soaks nicely into the paper not sitting on top of it at all.

Always Time For Tea

I wasn’t feeling inspired by the colours honestly so I painted what I always paint when I can’t think of anything else, cups of tea because tea is life! This little exercise is useful because it shows me that the colours behaved more like a gouache than a watercolour and I guess it doesn’t actually say that they are watercolours on the box. The yellow layered brilliantly on top of the pink to make polka dots. The colours don’t layer or glaze very well, once they are down it is hard to build them up despite the description on the front saying you can layer them to make them brighter.

Rainbow Dragon

I wanted to try blending the colours and I didn’t draw this little guy before painting and I really should of, look at his goofy little face and his uneven body, he is a funny dragon. The colour blend really well, they transition well from one to another, I used wet on wet technique to blend the colours where they touch one another. I do wish that I had planned him a bit better because he could of turned out really well but I will smile when I see his face in my sketchbook.


Trying to think of any way I could use these colours in one of my illustrations it occurred to me that the best way to use all the colours was of course, a troll! I love trolls, love, love, love them! As a child I had hundreds in all different sizes and I still have a lot of them now, the old Damm Trolls and Russ Trolls are my favourite and inspired this little guy to creep into my sketchbook. It was easier to mix a flesh tone than I was expecting although the warm tone of my sketchbook helped with that too. The colours managed to stay nicely separate on the hair too since they seemed to dry quite fast too.

I didn’t create anything spectacular but I think that I gave the paints enough of a trial to confidently say that I enjoy using them and they will make a nice addition to my collection. I don’t think that I can use them on their own because they don’t layer well so adding shadows is difficult however they would be a great accompaniment to a standard watercolour set which would give you a nice variation. I wouldn’t recommend them as a first set or an only set but as a set to play with or to add to your collection it is beautiful. I am glad I bought it for that peach and coral pink alone, they are beautiful and I hope that I have a reason to use them soon.

Thank you so much for reading my post, I hope it helped you if you are trying to decide if these are the set for you and if not I hope you enjoyed the artwork regardless.

Samantha x

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