A new discovery for me.
I went to Michael's yesterday to get a pad of palette paper, and I came across this product I'd never seen before. I think it's been around for a while now, but it's the first time I saw it in a store. Since I had a 50% off coupon, I thought I'd give it a shot. I love to try new things.
What I bought was a pack of four watersoluble graphite sticks by Derwent. They're called Graphitone, and come in four different shades: 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B. They are wrapped in a pre-cut protective film that you can peel off as needed. So you can use the tip or the side of the stick.
I was very excited to try them today, so I made a test sheet.
First recommendation, if you're going to use them with water, is to use a sheet of watercolor paper. Although you don't need much water to use them, regular sketching paper might buckle.
The Derwent Graphitone work like regular graphite pencils on paper. You can use them to sketch and draw without water. But if you only use them like that, it's just no fun. So grab a waterbrush, or a watercolor brush with a little container of water, and start spreading that graphite on your paper. It works just like watercolor.
Here are the results of my test:
The Graphitone pencils will erase okay with an eraser before you add water. But as soon as you add water, the eraser will not work anymore. The washes are not rewetable. So, you can add more layers without shifting the pigments from the previous ones. This also means once the graphite gets wet then dries, you cannot lift the pigments. So if you need to do any lifting, it needs to be done before the wash dries.
You can use the graphite pencil on top of the wash once dry, or while still wet. You can also wet the tip of the pencil for a more feathered look.
The Derwent Graphitone pencils are a very versatile medium, easy to use in many different ways. However, while sketching, I found myself getting the pigments on my brush straight from the tip of the pencils, and applying them on the paper. I really enjoyed the soft effects.
I wanted to finish my sketch with a very dark wash. So I thought I'd prepare it ahead of time. I used a knife to shave the tip of my 8B pencil, and put the shavings in a little container where I added a bit of water. The result on the page was not unlike ink. I really like the feel and look.
I'm so happy I discovered the Derwent Watersoluble Graphitone Pencils. They are a lot of fun, and very easy to use. I love the versatility of these graphite sticks. They remind me very much of the Derwent Inktense Pencils.