Review and first go with Derwent Artbars

A couple of weeks ago I was tempted to buy a set of Derwent Artbars. The shop display had a fantastic selection of colours and I was also attracted by the description that recommended them for "mark making and texture".

I bought the set of 24 and used them for the first time whilst filming for YouTube (linked below). I tried the various techniques of layering, blending, scraping back, drawing and using with water. You will see in the video that I had difficulty blending the colours on the paper initially. I realised that this was because they needed warming up and the more you blended with your finger the easier it became. As someone who always has cold hands, I thought that this was a very labour intensive way of painting!

Later I decided to have a go at a more finished piece of artwork and created the figure painting below. This had many layers and lots of blending. Instead of relying on my cold hands to warm the colours on the paper, I used the hairdryer to soften them a little first. The painting uses a combination of techniques, with some water added in places to create contrasts in the texture. I loved the way the Artbars blended without going muddy and how you could layer lighter tones over darker ones. I look forward to using these a lot in the future. I used them on Arches hot pressed paper. Do you use them? Have you any tips to share with us? Please put them in the comments below.


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