Introducing the new 36 Lightfast colours with Isobel Buckley

If you are a coloured pencil artist like myself, then you’re guaranteed to have heard about Derwent releasing their Lightfast range.

The first 36 colours in the range were released in 2018 and now the hotly anticipated second set of 36 have been released.

I did however, have some questions about them…

Are these new set of 36 pencils available as a separate set?

The good news is that you can purchase the NEW set of 36 pencils in a separate tin or as individual pencils. Even better is that Derwent are offering the new 36 pencil set with a empty storage insert to combine the original 36 in one storage option – handy!

The full selection of Lightfast pencils is available now from A tin of 36 is £109.99, a tin of 72 is £229.99, a wooden box of 48 is £169.99 and individual pencils retail at £3.20 each.

First Impressions

If first impressions count, then these certainly left a lasting mark. The tin features a striking image from US artist Jesse Lane to show exactly what can be achieved with the Lightfast range.  I could immediately spot several pencils that I thought would get used a lot in drawing animals which is the main focus of my work.

So what colours are in this new set of 36?

What colours aren’t in the new set?! There is a couple of bright yellows (Banana and Mustard) and oranges (Amber Gold and Flame) whilst four new shades of reds ranging from the bright to the very dark (Derwent Red, Strawberry, Cherry Red and Merlot) complete the spectrum.

There is one new pink (Dusky Pink) and three shades of purple (Deep Rose, Purple and Wild Lavender), which would be great for sunsets.

The new set is heavily weighted towards blue and green with seven new shades of blue that are mid to dark in shade (Deep Blue, Sapphire, Denim, Mid Blue 70%, Midnight Blue, Dark Indigo and Ocean Blue Dark), two turquoise colours (Light Aqua and Turquoise Green) and five new shades of green (Vivid Green, Pine, Grass Green, Grass Green (70%) and Foliage) that look very useful for natural and botanical works.

The new set also consists of a Light Bronze, three orange sienna colours (Persian Orange, Burnt Sienna and Mars Orange), four shades of grey (Fossil Grey, Moonstone, Granite and Platinum) and a Mars Black.

The four new shades of grey released in this set were needed to increase the range and there are some lovely shades.

The original set of 36 didn’t contain any oranges but the new colours certainly make up for those missing in the first set. I am particularly looking forward to trying out the Golden Sun, Apricot and Dark Honey which are orangey yellow in tone.

Accompanied by the three orange-browns (Persian Orange, Burnt Sienna and Mars Orange) I shall personally be testing these out when I next draw a tiger!

I am very pleased to have these new colours to play with but the Violet, Blue Violet and Nightshade from set 1 are still my favourites! In this second set, there is more emphasis on mid to very dark blue tones which could be useful for water. However, I would have liked to see a couple more shades of light to mid tone blues for skies. I feel there is quite a jump from the Mid Ultramarine to the next shades.

I was very excited to see the Light Aqua and Turquoise Green. What beautiful shades of colours! I now just need to find something to draw where I can really test them out!

What are they actually like to use?

So onto the exciting part of testing them out. When testing the full selection and what the colours are like, I like to do so on the type of paper I typically use for drawing on to see how they perform. I also like to see what they are like with different pressures.

I have personally always preferred using wax-based pencils over oil-based materials, however the Lightfast range may have converted me.

These pencils have fitted into my collection amazingly and they work well with other Derwent pencils as well as other medias.

The full Lightfast range is very creamy and buttery to apply, yet have a hard quality ideal for detailing or colour blocking. They are great for applying light layers and then blending with more pressure in the final layers. Overall, I think Derwent have struck a winning balance.

How Lightfast are they?

Now these pencils might be called Lightfast, but I wanted to find out just how Lightfast they are! Derwent say;

‘The revolutionary core is resistant to prolonged colour change ensuring artwork will not fade for up to 100 years under museum conditions.’

‘Many people equate lightfastness with permanence. This is not strictly accurate as many other factors can affect the permanence of your work such as humidity, temperature, atmospheric pollution, reactions between different pigments and chemicals, the paper you use, and even the way you use your art materials.’

The Lightfast pencils have had two types of testing ASTM D6901 and ISO 105. I wanted to look a little more into what this actually means. The ASTM D6901 is the international standard for lightfast testing. According to the Coloured Pencil Society of America;

‘D6901 uses two types of lightfast testing, a sunlight test and a xenon arc test, to simulate the effects that prolonged sun exposure will have on a colored pencil. With the results of these tests, a colored pencil can then be accurately placed into a lightfastness category. Lightfastness categories are I, II, III, IV, and V with I being the best (very lightfast) and V being the worst (not lightfast). Only pencils with lightfastness ratings of either I or II can be labeled as complying with the standard. For an entire line of colored pencils to be labeled as D6901 compliant, every pencil must have a lightfast rating of either I or II.’

The ISO 105 testing is measured on the Blue Wool Rating scale where the numbers work in the opposite direction. So 1-3 poor, 4-5 fair, 6 is good, 7 is very good and 8 are excellent. I can only find a broken down chart of these results for the first 36 pencils. Of which most where classed as excellent, 5 as very good and there were two classed as good. However all of these first 36 pencils received a I on the D6901 standard tests which is a little confusing!

Confused? Me too – so let me simplify this! The Derwent colour chart classifies all 100 of these pencils as either an LF1 or LF2. There are 63 pencils classified as an LF1 (excellent under museum conditions for over 100 years) and 37 classified as a 2 (still incredibly good and lasts under museum condition for 50-100 years.)

Overall conclusions

I think these pencils are amazing! The Lightfast range has a beautiful rich buttery consistency whilst offering a hardness for detail that I don’t necessarily have with some of my other brands. There are 63 out of the 100 pencils with an LF1 lightfast rating which is brilliant and the rest with a lightfast rating of 2 which is still incredibly good. This should fit the bill for most, if not all, artists.

I love these pencils and I can’t wait to get the last 28 pencils to complete my set! If you have not used them, then I would recommend purchasing a few individual pencils to see what you think before quickly moving on to the full set!

Happy Drawing
Izzy x

Find out more about Isobel Buckley on her blog Izzy’s Art Pictures That Tell A Story here.
You can also find out about her work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Derwent Lightfast range is available to buy here.