They're Surprisingly Good - Derwent Coloursoft Review 

derwent coloursoft colored pencils

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Review of: Derwent Coloursoft


Good price compared to the quality


Most colors blend quite well


Most colors layer pretty well


88% of colors are lightfast

What I like

  • Soft core, easy to blend
  • Easy to sharpen
  • The color selection
  • Rich and pigmented colors
  • Most colors are pretty opaque

What I don't like

  • Some colors are very transparent
  • The point can't handle too much pressure
  • A bit difficult to draw tiny details


The Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils are overall a great choice.

The color range has many vibrant and natural colors which makes them great for drawing portraits and other natural things. Most of the colors are fade-resistant and very rich in color.

Most of the Coloursoft pencils blend and layer pretty. The soft and creamy core also makes filling in the grain a piece of cake.

However, while most of the colors are very opaque, some are pretty transparent. 

Having a soft core has its advantages, but it also makes the point more brittle and unsuited for drawing tiny details.

Nonetheless, they're a great option for beginners and professional artists.

Check the Price

My Experience with the Derwent Coloursoft

I really like the Caran d'Ache Luminance but they are quite expensive. This got me looking for a cheaper wax-based alternative. 

The first on my list were the Prismacolor Premier Soft Core pencils. However, they are quite expensive for their quality here in the Netherlands, so I chose to buy the Derwent Coloursoft instead.

Here's what I think of these pencils after testing and using them:

+ Soft and Creamy Core

Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils have a wax-based core. This means that they are quite soft and have a creamy/buttery texture. 

They effortlessly glide across the paper and easily fill in the grain of the paper without leaving any white spots. And if you know me a bit you'll know that I really dislike a grainy look when using colored pencils. So this is a huge plus for me.

The creamy core also allows you to glaze colors easily over other colors.

part of a drawing of a mclaren sabre drawn with derwent coloursoft colored pencils

- Tip Breaks Easily Under Pressure

One disadvantage of having soft and creamy cores is that the tip will break easily, especially when you use a bit more pressure to burnish for example.

brittle derwent coloursoft pencil point

- Not the Best for Fine Details

Another disadvantage of having soft cores is that these pencils are not the best for drawing tiny details.

You can sharpen them to a fine point, but it wears down quite quickly.

+ Easy to Blend

Pencils with a soft core do however have one big advantage: they blend really well. 

Well, most colors blend easily. Some colors need a bit more patience and lighter layering to blend well.

Nonetheless, they are overall great at blending which makes them a great option for portrait drawing or drawing cars (as I do).

+ Rich and Vibrant Colors

When I used these pencils I immediately noticed that they have very rich and vibrant colors.

This makes them Great for drawing more vibrantly colored things like supercars for example, but also more abstract things

+ Most Colors are Pretty Opaque, Some Are very Transparent

When colors are rich they are also often quite opaque, as is the case with these pencils.

Most colors are nice and opaque, even the white pencil which is too often not the case. 

Having opaque pencils will make the colors look better and more saturated when you use them on toned paper compared to less opaque ones.

However, there are a few colors that are very transparent in the set I bought... 

opacity test of the pigment of the derwent coloursoft colored pencils
Most colors are quite opaque, but some (mainly the oranges and yellows) are very transparent

+ Fade Resistant Pigment

I didn't know this when I bought them, but these pencils are lightfast. 88% of the pencils are highly lightfast to be exact.

This means that these colors won't fade for over 100 years under museum conditions.

However, when looking at the lightfastness ratings I noticed that a lot of pinks, reds, and light blues are not very lightfast.

+ Great Color Range

The color range of these pencils genuinely impressed me. 

Most brands have a lot of common colors and barely any more natural and earthy tones. This is not the case with these pencils.

Even in the set of 36 that I got there were tons of beautiful earthy and natural tones as well as the more common and more vibrant colors. 

This makes these pencils great when you want to draw more natural things like landscapes, portraits, or other more earthy-colored things.

derwent coloursoft 36 color set colors

± Mediocre Packaging

As with many brands of colored pencils, the packaging is very mediocre. It's not bad, but also not great. 

The pencils come in a cheap tin with a cheap plastic inlay where the pencils lie.

It's just enough and it does what it should do.

derwent coloursoft colored pencils

+ Really Good Build Quality

Derwent colored pencils often have great build quality and these pencils are no different. 

The wooden barrel is pretty thick and does a good job of protecting the core which is also quite thick. So when you accidentally drop them they won't break that easily.

The wood of the barrel is also nice and soft which makes these pencils very easy to sharpen.


Overall score:





Build Quality:

These pencils are overall a great option, especially for drawing portraits and more natural things.

Check the Price


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