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Guide to Derwent Inktense XL Colour Blocks

Derwent Inktense Colour Blocks are sticks of vibrant watercolour ink which are incredibly versatile. Use them dry if you like - they're great for covering large areas - but add water and they really come to life! Once dry the colours are fixed (unlike normal watercolour paint), so you can safely work over the top of them. This permanency also makes them ideal for using on fabric such as silk, cotton and canvas, and you can also use them for printing and stamping. Here are 10 top tips for using them:

1. Use the XL block as a paint pan, wetting it with your brush and applying the liquid Inktense directly to your preferred surface. You can paint directly on to paper, fabric, wood and a wide range of other porous surfaces.

2. Explore the versatility of your XL blocks, experimenting with the range of broad strokes you can make using the side and end of the block. Make finer marks using the corners of the block, or cut and break the blocks for a sharper point

3. Save any shavings from sharpening your XL block or safely use a craft knife, or small grater to grate the block into powder. Dissolve the gratings in water to make a paint, which can be made stronger by adding more Inktense, or dilute with the addition of water.

4. Spray colour from a spritzer. Mix grated Inktense blocks with water and put them inside a Derwent spritzer to create a colourful spray to spritz onto your work. Once you’re finished with the spray, refresh the spritzer and nozzle thoroughly using clean water.

5. Drip and splatter wet Inktense directly from the block for playful and expressive marks. Add water to the block and hold it over your paper, angling it to drip on to the paper, or flick a brush against the edge of the block, to splatter paint droplets onto your surface.

6. Use the side, end or corner of the block to draw directly into water or wet Inktense paint. The drawn mark will immediately activate to give a more intense colour and the size of the block will ensure the block isn’t weakened as it gets wetter.

7. Pick your paper carefully. Choose a heavier weight of paper if you plan to use to water with your XL block. Use lightly textured, cold-press paper if you’d like to see more texture in your mark making, or use smooth hot-pressed paper for an uninterrupted mark.

8. Try layering wet Inktense over the top of fully dried Inktense to create translucent layers of colour. You can speed up the drying time of layers with a hair dryer.

9. Paint water over your dry Inktense marks to bring out the full intensity of the colour, or to help two colours to fully mix on the page. While the Inktense paint remains wet you will be able to move it around. Once it dries it will set permanently on the page.

10. Combine Inktense XL blocks with Inktense paint pans, Inktense blocks and Inktense pencils for a complete range of marks. All of the media will mix and layer in similar ways, with each contributing their unique strengths to the development of your artwork.