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Derwent Inktense Blocks for Paper or Fabric

Updated on November 25, 2016
Gayle Dowell profile image

Gayle Dowell is a jewelry and watercolor artist. She currently teaches art to a homeschool co-op highschool class.

Derwent Inktense Blocks for Brilliant Art

My daughter bought me a set of the water-soluble Derwent Inktense Block Tin Set for Christmas. These have got to be the most brilliant colored media I have used. I use these a lot in my art journaling as they are so easy to use and also easy to carry with me when I travel. I've just started to use these on fabric such as cotton and silk scarves. Let me show you a little of what can be done with the Inktense Blocks below.

As I continue to play with this new medium, I'll be adding more examples so come back again.

All photos by Gayle Dowell

Using Derwent Inktense Blocks for Collage Backgrounds

The first time I used the inktense blocks was when I was doing an art journal project and needed some acrylic paint. I wanted a vivid colored background and knew that my acrylics would not be vivid enough even when used straight from the tube. I decided that I would try these inktense blocks as I would my acrylic paints to lay down color for a collage background. I found them very easy to use. The blocks allowed me to spread a lot of color quickly to my paper by rubbing the sides of the blocks on the paper.

Derwent Inktense Ink Blocks, 12 Count (2300442)
Derwent Inktense Ink Blocks, 12 Count (2300442)

This is the set I have. Great set of basic colors.

Derwent Inktense Blocks
Derwent Inktense Blocks

I first painted the page with white acrylic gesso as a foundation for my art work. I let the gesso dry completely. I then laid down dry color randomly with the Inktense Blocks on the page of my journal (see photo above) like I would a crayon or colored pencil. Inktense Blocks act much like watercolor paint on paper when water is added.

After adding a layer of color loosely from the blocks of color, I added water and brushed some of the color around to gently mix the colors together (see above photo). I then let it dry completely before adding my collage pieces.

After adding my collage pieces using Acrylic Medium Golden Soft Gel Matte, I removed some of the background color for the rain and added more color where needed. From here I used different mediums like pastel, ink and finished with a coat of clear gesso. Clear gesso allows you to write on your page more easily with a pen and also keeps your journal pages from sticking together.

Derwent Inktense Blocks and Pencils

I've recently experimented with the inktense blocks for drawing on fabric. They leave brilliant color on cotton. When I get my process down, I'll be posting results here. Want to experiment along with me? Get a set today.

Inktense on Fabric

To use the Inktense blocks on fabric, just apply much the same way you would on paper. I've been using these blocks on silk and cotton fabrics. Experimenting with the blocks on wet fabric gives nice soft edge to my art. Using less water results in more control of the color. For permanency, the pigment on the fabric needs to be wet.

I've also combined more traditional methods with the Inktense blocks. I've used traditional fabric dyes for the background and used the Inktense blocks for the design. I've also used a soy wax resist along with traditional dyes that I've painted on the fabric and highlighted with the Inktense blocks and pencils. The design possibilities are really endless when mixed with traditional methods.

I am experimenting on setting the color and making it even more permanent. Washing the fabric after following the manufacturers suggestions resulted in some fading after one wash. Using a vinegar/water soak to set color is being tested as well as steaming to set color. I will post results of these tests when they are completed.

Have Questions about the Derwent Inktense Blocks?

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    • Gayle Dowell profile imageAUTHOR

      Gayle Dowell 

      3 years ago from Kansas

      Thanks Casandra. I use liquitex brand clear gesso.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I have the BIG set of the Inktense pencils. I LOVE them. But ever since I got them, I've wanted the sticks. There was an ad for the great, ginormous set of blocks inside my pencil package. I was like, "noooooo! I only just got these!!! ;-)

      I love the page you made with the scribbly color that you then watered. It looks awesome!

      What kind of clear gesso do you use?


    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      I like the look of what you can do with the blocks.

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 

      6 years ago from US/TN

      Interesting -- I didn't know about these.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Derwent are great products, but have not tried the inktense blocks. They look fun! :)

    • cdevries profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm also experimenting with the pencils. So far, kinda fun and interesting results.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      6 years ago from Iowa

      I've got the inktense pencils but have not played with the blocks.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very interesting info! Thanks for sharing!


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