Thursday, May 25, 2023

Review: Derwent Spritzer


Who's got the best spritz -- Derwent or Honest?

I rely heavily on a water spritzer to activate trees and other foliage sketched with water-soluble pencils. It’s one of my most useful watercolor pencil techniques. I’ve tried many spritzers over the years, and my all-time favorite originally contained The Honest Company hand sanitizer. It releases a fine, reliable, mostly consistent mist that’s easy to direct and control. My only minor complaint is that it takes up more space than I want it to in my small, streamlined sketch bag, so I’m always looking out for smaller spritzers.

When I was placing my order for the new Derwent Inktense colors at CultPens, I spotted a spritzer that was being promoted as a useful support for Inktense pencils. Its slender profile looked promising, so I popped one into my shopping cart.

Indeed, the Derwent spritzer is the same height but significantly slimmer than my usual Honest Co. spritzer.

For my first test, I scribbled a couple of swatches with Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles in a Hahnemuhle Akademie watercolor sketchbook (below). I held the book about an arm’s length away and gave the top swatch two spritzes with the Derwent. Then I did the same with the lower swatch with the Honest spritzer. The Derwent put out a wetter stream that was a bit harder to direct.

Two spritzes each

In a real-sketch situation, I would wait a few seconds for the pigments to activate, then spritz again as needed. Shown below, right, is the result. I gave the Honest spritzer two more spritzes to get the amount of activation I wanted. I didn’t spritz the Derwent swatch again – it was more than wet enough – so what you see is the dried result of the two original spritzes.

At left: Two spritzes from each spritzer, then dry pencil scribbled into each puddle.
At right: Spritzed dry swatches.

On the left, I spritzed the paper twice with each spritzer – Derwent on top, Honest on the bottom. Then I ran a dry pencil through each puddle. The results are similar, but the Derwent puddle is larger and spread out further.

Next I took it out on our back deck for some real sketches (which you saw in my messing-around post about Derwent Inktense Blocks). I used the Derwent for both sketches because they were relatively large areas being spritzed, so I knew there was less risk of over-spraying. It worked fine in these cases, but I’m concerned about smaller areas that I tend to spritz in my A6 sketchbook.

In these relatively large sketches, the Derwent spritzer worked out OK. 

Overall, the Derwent spritzer puts out more water per spritz than the Honest, so it’s more difficult to control; it’s easy to over-spray. However, its spritz is acceptably fine enough that I think I could learn to adjust my technique to accommodate it. I’m going to carry it around for a while and see if it works out long-term. (I’ll update this review as needed.) I definitely prefer its size as a daily-carry.

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