What is Lightfast and Inktense Paper?
September 17, 2021

An ode to paper. Something that is so easily overlooked as we can obsess over what types of pencil or paint to use but without good paper, the whole piece falls apart.

An ode to paper. Something that is so easily overlooked as we can obsess over what types of pencil or paint to use but without good paper, the whole piece falls apart.

Lightfast and Inktense papers are two very different paper types made by Derwent, so it seems unfair to compare them as they are created for two different mediums. It is best to look at them individually. Both are lovely, thick papers being 300GSM each, 100% cotton, acid free and lend themselves to be used perfectly for the mediums they were designed for. 

Lightfast paper is hot pressed for a smooth finish to allow ease of use when drawing with pencils. The smooth texture prevents the pencil tip from being worn down too quickly meaning that a sharp tip can add in a fair amount of detail before the pencil needs to be resharpened. Inktense paper is cold pressed for a textured finish to make it perfect for use with Inktense pencils which are designed to be blended using water or Inktense paints.


As Lightfast paper has a smooth surface, it allows the pencil to effortlessly glide over the top of its off-white coloured surface. Despite the effortless glide, the paper picks up the pigment of pencils beautifully, allowing for both bold colours and fine detail to easily be added to the artwork such as the fur on the wolf I am drawing. 

When using pencils, it is very important to be able to layer as paper is where all the colours and tones are created. This is unlike paint where certain colours and shades can be made on a pallet before being applied to canvas. Derwent’s Lightfast paper 100% exceeds when it comes to layering as it allows pigment to easily be placed over colours already put down to create different shades and begin to build the artwork.

It picks up the fine details large or small which is perfect for myself as I love to create miniatures such as this cute french bulldog from time to time. It is essential I have a paper I can rely on.

With Lightfast paper being acid free, high quality paper, when it is combined with a high grade pencil such as the oil based Derwent Lightfast pencils, the artwork will not fade for up to 100 years. This is perfect for commissioned pieces, artwork made to sell or any art you fancy creating for your own home.


When I use Inktense paper, I love to whip out my Inktense paints with a Derwent Line Maker and have a play! As the rougher texture doesn’t allow for the finer details that the Lightfast paper does when using pencils, I usually work larger than the ‘miniatures’ I create and splash the paint about. 

Inktense paper has absolutely no trouble when it comes to handling water based paints. It allows colours to merge together where intended and can take a lot of water without bubbling or becoming flimsy.

You may be wondering… Does the paper hold the wet paint on its surface without seeping through to the other sheets in the pad? The answer is yes. To fade some of the colours put down, I threw quite a bit of water at them before they dried and none of the under-sheets suffered any spillages. This means that the pad is perfect to take out on a day of painting en plein air. Once the paints had dried, I was comfortably able to use a black Derwent Line Maker to outline all the different coloured sections on the piece I was creating. The pen didn’t bleed on the paper, it went down precisely and dried very quickly on the surface to prevent smudging.


Overall these two very different papers are perfectly suited to the mediums they are designed for, allowing the artist to freely create what they want with their chosen medium. The easy tear out pages mean they are perfect for both creating sellable works of art ready to frame or if you have had a day out sketching/painting then your piece is simple to pull out, frame and hang once home.

Written by Jess Pritchard

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