I recently received a question from a reader who wanted to know if Inktense pencils are colored pencils.
Some artists consider them colored pencils. Other artists do not consider them colored pencils.
We also need to keep in mind that Inktense colors come in two forms. One form is indeed pencils. The other is blocks of color, without a wood casing.
So let’s take a look at this question more closely.
What is a Pencil
We all know a pencil when we see one, don’t we. But what is the official definition of a pencil? Just for fun, I decided to look.
Britannica defines a pencil as a slender rod of a solid marking substance, such as graphite, enclosed in a cylinder of wood, metal, or plastic; used as an implement for writing, drawing, or marking.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of the noun “pencil” is:
- an artist’s brush
- an artist’s individual skill or style
- a: an implement for writing, drawing, or marking consisting of or containing a slender cylinder or strip of a solid marking substance
b: a small medicated or cosmetic roll or stick for local applications
- a set of geometric objects each pair of which has a common property, such as the lines in a plane through a point comprise a pencil of lines
- something (such as a beam of radiation) long and thin like a pencil
Let’s go with the Britannica definition and definition 3a from Merriam-Webster, since those are the most accurate for the purpose of this post.
So Are Inktense Pencils?
According to the Britannica definition, Inktense pencils are pencils. They are a slender rod of a solid marking substance enclosed in a cylinder of wood. In this case, the solid marking substance is ink pigment. That seems to settle the question, doesn’t it.
I decided to do a little more research. What does the company that makes them say? Derwent has them classified as pencils, and so does Dick Blick. My thought is that if the manufacturer is calling them pencils, then they’re probably pencils.
So the short answer is that Inktense pencils are pencils. Inktense blocks are not pencils.
But are Inktense Pencils Colored Pencils?
Inktense in any form does work very well with regular colored pencils. You can add colored pencil over Inktense for some spectacular results.
But does that make Inktense pencils colored pencils?
Well, they are pencils. We’ve already established that.
And they do come in colors. That’s easy to see.
But does that make them a colored pencil?
To my way of thinking, a colored pencil is a pencil that combines pigment, wax, oil, and other binding agents into a solid tube of color encased in wood. By that definition, Inktense pencils are not colored pencils because they contain ink-like pigments instead of the more common dry pigment used in colored pencils and many other mediums.
But that’s just my opinion.
Using Inktense and Colored Pencils Together
You can use these two types of pencils together, but before you do, stop and think about what you plan to do with the resulting art.
If you plan on entering pieces into competitions or exhibitions, pay close attention to the rules for each competition or exhibit. Not all exhibits accept mixed media pieces. What’s more, some of them may consider any piece created with Inktense to be mixed-media. The CPSA does not consider Inktense to be just another colored pencil. You can enter your work into the Explore This! exhibit with the CPSA, but not their main exhibit.
If you plan to do commission work, you need to let customers and potential customers know that you will be using (or may be using) Inktense.
The Bottom Line
This probably doesn’t answer the question for everyone. As I stated at the beginning of this article, opinions vary. Sometimes opinions vary strongly.
You may not agree with me. That’s okay. This is one of those things about which we can disagree and still enjoy artwork just the same.
Whatever your opinion, I hope you’re having fun with your art. That’s the important thing.
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