Derivan – Rewettable Liquid Pencil Pots (40ml) Review

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I didn’t realise how much I loved graphite until I picked up a pencil and drew my first portrait in 20 years. I fell back in love with clay bound graphite power, wrapped in a wooden casing.

Then I discovered Liquid Pencil.

Initially, I had discovered it in tube form, and I will do a review on that product in the future. It is somewhat different to the 40ml pots, so for this review, I will focus solely on the latter.

Discovering these amazing pots of liquid graphite sparked something inside me that made me want to experiment with different mediums, as well as discover new ones. I want to share this journey with you, and hopefully inspire you to try something new too.

About Derivan

Derivan are an Australian company that were founded in 1964. Their mission, from the start was:

to make available to artists worldwide a premium paint while remaining environmentally and socially responsible.


One of the amazing things about Derivan is that they talk to their customers (artists). They listen to their needs and requirements.

What is Liquid Pencil?

Liquid Pencil is just what it says it is – it is liquid graphite. it comes in permanent and rewettable formulas, and in six tints: Grey 3, Grey 9, Yellow, Red, Sepia and Blue.


Different regions on the planet produce graphite with unique properties. For example, the graphite powder used in Liquid Pencil Grey 3 is sourced from China and has a partially formed structure that contains additional compounds, which give it a deep black colour with a blue undertone. In contrast, the graphite used in Liquid Pencil Grey 9 comes from Sri Lanka and has a more uniform chemical structure that imparts a silver metallic sheen to the finish.

Liquid Pencil Tones

Look at these beautiful tones. Though the photograph makes them look metallic, in reality that is the graphite reacting to the lighting. I don’t know about you, but the tints are truly magnificent – at this point I have to add that the tint is much stronger in the pots than in the tubes. So if you’re looking for a more subtle tint, absolutely consider the tubes – I will discuss this further in a future review.

The rewettable formula means that it has similar properties to that of watercolour, but like many tinted graphite products, it doesn’t necessarily behave exactly like watercolour.

Liquid Pencil and Nature

Tree in Liquid Pencil

Considering graphite comes from nature, it should come to no surprise that these are perfect for painting nature. I’ve fallen in love with trees. Since the pandemic outbreak, I have come to really appreciate the natural world. For quite some time I started to depict trees using the simple graphite pencil. I was going back to basics.

Having produced several studies, I had this natural urge to reproduce one of the studies using the liquid pencil. I surprised myself. It really is perfect for capturing the likeness of the bark.

Liquid Pencil is a product to experiment with. There is no magic formula as to how to generate the many tonal values, due to the composition of the medium.

I think this medium is underrated. I feel that if you love graphite, it is absolutely worth the investment. If you love to paint in natural tones, it is worth the investment. Be free with your experimentation. See how far you can take this little pot of magic.

The Inked Crafter approves Derivan’s Rewettable Liquid Pencil.

NB: Derivan’s Rewettable 40ml Pots are quite hard to find. Ebay is perhaps one of the better places. It is also worth noting that they do adapt their formula to artists’ feedback, so the tint value may be different.

If you love hares, check out my first pastel painting.


Permanent liquid pencil will ‘burnish up’ similar manner to traditional graphite but it will not smudge. The rewettable formula allows you to remove areas using water – in a similar manner to watercolour techniques.

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