Normally, I say look at the lead to see what color you're going to get. If that were the case for Inktense, we'd all have been sorely disappointed. The barrels are all blue, and the blip of paint at the non-pointy end isn't a great representation either. The purples, browns, blues - all the leads look a similar drab color, and given a few months start developing a waxy bloom (that doesn't affect their performance in any way) that further mystifies the actual color.
Use them for what they were created - BOLD, BRIGHT, STRONG colors. It will take a bit of practice to learn what pencil makes each shade, but you can't ask for more vivid colors. They behave very well for watercolor pencils, but it will take a little stroking to completely melt the pencil lines on rougher paper. On smooth press or cardstock, the pencil lines are dissolved almost instantly, You can technically use them as regular colored pencils, but you won't see their true colors until they are wet.
|Mandalas are a great use for high-intensity colors. This is Mandala #7 from the Peace of Art coloring book.|
See the sidebar to order. This was done on the actual paper used in the book: a little ripple, but not bad at all.
An important thing to note about Inktense colors - they are permanent. Unlike other watercolors that you might be able to rewet and blot with a paper towel to lighten, no dice here, Once the section is dry, it isn't going anywhere. This can actually be useful! Paint a petal blue and find it needs to be bolder? Wait until dry, then go another round with the pencils, shading a darker blue at the petal base then use your wet brush to ease in the color. This is particularly effective in outlining an edge. Use a wet brush and dab on the pencil directly to get a blip of bright color to fill a tiny area. See those little stamen zingers in the picture above? That's how we do it.
If you are ready to get your own set, I offer two options. The first is a link to Amazon, where you can find all sorts of things. These pencils will also be at Dick Blick and other art places and possibly at a lower price. JoAnns and Michaels might carry the lower count sets. If you've got AdBlock, you won't see my lovely link, but presumably you know how to google.
The second option... as I mentioned, I upgraded after having the 24 count set for a while. I'm going to host a giveaway for my 24 count tin. They are LIKE NEW and will give someone many hours of pleasant coloring (until they become obsessed with more colors and need to upgrade - mwah hah ha). To enter in this drawing, leave a comment here, or on Facebook telling me what your favorite things to color/paint are, or what you currently use, or what you'd like to see in my next coloring book, etc. (An actual comment, not just "pick me.") I'll toss your name in a second time if you share the blog link. I'll pick a name on Boxing Day (Dec 26), as that is the fitting time to pass along things we no longer need.