A few years ago I discovered the Derwent Inktense pencil and immediately fell in love with their versatility. They work much like a watercolor pencil, but lay down ink instead of watercolor. The color is much more intense, and permanent when it dries. The lead is soft enough to lay down on top of acrylic paint, layers of gel medium covered papers, and my favorite Citra Solv altered papers.
Almost all of my mixed media pieces finish up with some Derwent Inktense detailing and/or shading. I mainly use them as a pencil, drawing right into a piece and then wetting with a brush. But there are other ways to use these pencils as well. The lead can be grated or shaved into a little mister bottle and mixed with water to make your own spray ink. Or, the bits of color can be sprinkled onto wet paper for a different effect. You can even brush the lead with a wet paint brush to pick up a little of the intense color.
You can color with them on dry paper and then wet with a brush, or you can use them on already wet paper. Because they dry permanent, they are even great on fabric!
If you want a bigger line or are covering a larger area, there are also Derwent Inktense blocks. I more often reach for a pencil than I do the blocks, but for the fabric, I like the amount of color the block lays down, especially after spritzing the fabric with water. That is also true when working on a stretched canvas.
So, soon, I will be graduating from my lovely set of 24 beautiful pencils, to the complete set of 72 colors! Can’t wait to use them!