Getting to Know Inktense Pencils

Art supplies were on my wish list for Christmas, and I was very blessed this year by the arrival of many new supplies!  As I’ve gained a better sense of what art supplies work well in the Bible, I would like to turn my attention to learning how to use the supplies I have better.  I decided from time to time, I will share just a “review” and “how to” and that I would start with my new Inktense Pencils from Derwent.

Inktense Pencils from Derwent Overview…

  • What they are:  Ink in pencil form; once activated with water the ink dries to a permanent color.
  • Why they are great for Bible Journaling:  Very little water achieves intense color; good control over where the color goes; the colors blend nicely when wet and can be layered once dry without creating a muddy effect; great for any type of multimedia work.
  • Page prep needed:  Use gesso for best effect
  • Ideas:  Coloring a stamp or coloring page traced into the Bible, background color, freehand illustration.  (Can be used to color fabric, too.  Just good to know!)

The first challenge for me with the Inktense pencils was getting familiar with the colors.  I wish that it was easier to look at the pencil and guess the final color.  I made myself a couple of charts, one dry and one where I colored just 1/3 of the square and used a wet brush to drag the paint across the square.

inktense colors

Some of the colors really surprised me once I added water.  They looked so different from the dry version.  I just used plain copy paper and found that it was a little hard to make the pencil lines disappear after adding water.  It’s clear on the picture above where I colored and where I dragged the ink.

I played around a little just coloring a coloring page I found online…

coloring page

I just colored the inside edge of the lines on the coloring page with the pencil and then painted each area with a damp brush.  I mixed the water with the ink just a little and then painted.  I did the same coloring page twice, once without gesso and once with gesso.  I found that it was much easier to activate the ink on the page with gesso and that the lines from the pencils totally disappeared on the page with gesso and that the color was more vibrant.  The pencil lines were still slightly visable on the unprepped page.

Next I tried coloring in an image that I stamped in my bible.  Once again, I just colored the inside edge of the lines and painted each area with a damp brush.  What was totally awesome was how easy it was to keep the ink in the tiny little spaces.  The colors all stayed true….(I used regular water color paint for the background and the stamp is from Winnie and Walter.)


I loved spending time with this passage.  I found myself singing a line from Rich Mullin’s song “Step by Step”, which found it’s way into the margins:  “Sometimes I think of Abraham, how one star he saw had been lit for me.”  In this passage, the promise is repeated to Isaac.  When I stop to think that I am part of a promise made to Abraham and Isaac thousands of years ago and that I live in a nation that has been richly blessed through the Word of God, though how it helped shape our nation at its founding, I feel humbled and in awe.  I also find it deeply touching that when we are called by God and step out in faith, it is so that we can be a blessing to others.

I also wanted to try using Inktense pencils for background color.  I’ve found that it is hard to erase pencil from a surface that has been prepped with gesso.  I usually write in pencil first, then trace the pencil with micron pens and erase the pencil marks (before putting down the gesso).  I used green sticky notes to mask off the margins, added a layer of gesso and then just lightly added some Inktense pencils to the background, overlapping the colors as I went.  (It’s hard to see on the picture on the right below….)

in progress

But once, I added color the ink came to life.  My husband says that he likes the effect of the Inktesne pencils better than my water colors in the previous entry.  Once the color dried, I went back over the lettering with a thicker micron pen and added some detail.  I think this assurance from St. Paul, pairs very nicely with the promise made to Abraham and Isaac.  We are God’s workmanship, created to be a blessing:






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