Review: Inktense Blocks – Feb 2011

We are so excited to announce the launch of our Inktense Blocks, the Grate ‘n Shake and the block Grippers! We asked Liz Dulley to put them through their paces for our blog to show you how they work!

Liz first reviewed the Inktense Blocks and later writes about the features of our new accessories – take it away Liz!



What a fantastic opportunity! Derwent inviting me to ‘play’ with some new products.

They arrive – What are they like?

Delightful. The perfect name for compact ink in chunky rectangular blocks.
Great, no waste, just solid sticks of substance.

I need to experiment – I want to try everything
I can draw and shade with them or use them on their side to make wide marks.


What happens if I add water?

Words can not express my delight as the water on my brush runs over the marks. There is something magical in the intensity of colours now glowing before me. Like aspectrum of transparent scattered light. I am a delighted child ‘Magic Painting’ with a wet brush, watching vibrant colours emerge.

I love the fact that they come in block form, I am able to use them as paint pans or crumble them as well as use them wet or dry. Great to hold, any way up and wonderful for mark making.

I am inspired, I want to create colourful bold ‘Blocks using Blocks!’

Working on various papers gives different results. Textured watercolour paper is a personal favourite, colours are staining and the grain of the paper can be revealed. I like softer papers for a more flowing effect and find that card is kind to a certain extent for lifting colour out.

I can’t stop using these ‘chunks of colour‘ and creations just keep coming!

As a watercolour painter I am introducing Inktense into my work, adding an extra quality and some how bolder approach. I am sure they would complement many other media.

Working with Inktense Blocks is exciting and rewarding. They are intense, vibrant and versatile and certainly work for me. I find them a joy to use. A must for the lover of quality luminous colour!  


Top Tip
Work flat and hold them upright to prevent drips

The wet block slides over the paper fluently. I like the slightly gluey consistency and areas where thick deposits are left behind. Fantastic for some looser drawing.


These 24 fabulous blocks fill me with pleasure and energy! An exciting product which is versatile and vibrant!


Grate ‘n Shake

What a great product! I can now mix washes. Easy and no mess.

Grate the pigment and shake with water. It’s simple, quick and effective. The detachable grate is handy for cleaning and good for grating pigment over work! See the picture below for the effects created using this technique.


Hint – Keep grate clean and dry to prevent ‘muddying’ colour.



What do these do?
Looks so much simpler than I had expected but – Wow! – so effective. Wish I had always been using them. The firm grip actually makes the block more comfortable to use, if that is possible? And my hands are clean!

With this “shock absorber” around my block I can even use a bit more brute force without snapping my block. I am developing a freer, speedier tecnique already. I have realised that materials and tools used can steer my style – amazing!

I will never be without this superb device.


We’d love to say a BIG thank you to Liz for reviewing our new Inktense Blocks and accessories! Here’s a little bit about Liz and her work:

 I was born in Nottingham and moved to Invergowrie ( by Dundee ) at the age of 14. I have always loved creating, achieved my Queens Guide and was awarded Art Prizes at school. Having considered many options, I was keen to study and earn, so chose a career in Nursing. Now, many locations and a variety of jobs later, as a wife, a mother, a gardener and a housekeeper, I have developed my passion to create.

My son started school in 2002 – the perfect opportunity to feed my creative mind! I enrolled in watercolour and figure drawing classes then studied Fine Art in Dundee.

I now like to art at home (we have just completed my real studio!) Painting alone gives me a chance to work things out for myself, find my own way and develop my own style. I enjoy this challenge.

Art is ‘me time’. I escape into a world where thoughts flood, time passes and developments emerge on the drawing board.

My subject always stems from still life and is often symbolic. I select objects which represent associated themes.

 I paint mainly in pure watercolour and find it an exciting versatile medium. I love bright colours and enjoy working up to a rich, vibrant finish.

I love to really get my teeth into a simple idea and turn it into an elaborate labyrinth of statements.

I am keen to develop, constantly pushing forward can be frustrating and a struggle but so rewarding when it finally works.

Recent work involves fragmenting objects. I enjoy layering paint and creating a detailed finish. Experimenting with the new Inktense Blocks from Derwent has filled me with excitement and energy. The nature of the blocks seems to have steered me towards a looser, bolder approach, which I enjoy. The strong colours stand alone and I found detail unnecessary.

I was delighted to win first prize at The Scottish National Art competition in 2008, exhibit regularly with Dundee Art Society and Art 309, (a group of artists from my former college class) and had my work accepted for the RSW Open Exhibition.

Coming soon – I am looking forward to participating in Perth Open Studios Sept 2011. /