Sunday, September 5, 2021

Model-less at Gas Works Park (and Strike Three for Inktense)


9/2/21 Gas Works Park (Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle pencils)

9/2/21 Derwent Inktense pencils
Ching, Natalie and I met up at Gas Works Park for life drawing last week. When the model was significantly delayed, however, we decided to turn it into an impromptu urban sketching outing instead. Sunny but not hot, September mornings like that make up for the relatively un-summery last half of August we had. Even with touches of turning leaves in sight, if the rest of the month looks like that, I could let go of summer graciously.

Technical note: In the mood to try a primary triad with a different colored pencil line, I brought along three Derwent Inktense water-soluble pencils. Although I know it is popular with many sketchers, the Inktense collection has never gotten love from me. The unpredictable hue shift when activated plus the unnatural palette itself are two factors that keep me from using these much (I haven’t written a full review, but this post has more comments on Inktense behavior). Now I can add a third unpleasant factor:

9/2/21 Sketchwaiting for the model

In the vertical sketch of the gas works (at right), I used my usual Caran d’Ache Middle Cobalt Blue (660) for the sky, but for the rest of the sketch, I used Inktense. The CMYK-based triad I chose worked out OK in terms of hues. Despite the garishness I’ve sometimes encountered with Inktense, these three pencils – Iris Blue (900), Sun Yellow (200) and Fuchsia (700) – made a vibrant green, and I also like the violet of the darkest shadows. But what a struggle to layer those pigments! Instead of blending, successive layers seemed to skid and slide on the previous layers. These pencils might be OK for coloring-book-style spot colors that don’t require blending, but I sure had to work hard to get the darkest value as dark as I wanted when the layers wouldn’t apply evenly. I admit I’m spoiled by the soft, creamy application of Museum Aquarelles, but even so, Inktense pencils feel downright scratchy and dry by comparison.

That’s it. I’ve given Inktense as many chances as I’m going to. It was such a relief to go back to my beloved Museum Aquarelles for the second color sketch.

When the model doesn't show up for life drawing, the solution is easy!


  1. I think I quit after three strikes too :-) I never liked the fact that the dry Inktense looked nothing like when water is added. Oh...and that slipping/sliding you mentioned too :-)

    1. I'm happy to hear that I'm in good company in rejecting Inktense! ;-)


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