Red Panda, Inktense on Daler-Rowney Watercolour board, (30x42cm)

'These water-soluble Inktense blocks combine the versatility of Inktense and the freedom of the blocks, opening up an exciting world of possibilities,' says Angela Gaughan. 'They are perfect for covering large areas and creating free and expressive marks.



When water is added, deep intense colours are created, giving pure and translucent ink-like effects. Once dry, Inktense becomes permanent and can be worked over without affecting the layers of vivid colour.

'I always start my paintings with a very detailed drawing then turn the drawing into a grisaille (tonal drawing) using Inktense pencils, and set with a damp brush. This method ensures that I don’t lose my tonal values in the painting stages. I have found that Inktense is ideal for this process.'

Tranquility, Inktense on Daler-Rowney watercolour board, (36x54cm)

'During the testing I decided to make washes and found that the colours were very translucent and I could lay one colour on top of another without losing any brilliance of colour.'

Charging Elephant, Inktense on Daler-Rowney watercolour board, (30x420cm)

Techniques for using Inktense Blocks


Make washes by either scraping colour into a palette and adding water or using the Grate ‘n’ Shake (right). Grate the Inktense, add water and shake.

Creating texture

Create different textures by making washes, filling them into a spritzer then spraying onto the foreground

Making a palette

Make a palette of colours by scrubbing the colours on to a piece of watercolour paper then picking up the colour with a damp brush


The blocks can be used to draw or, when turned onto their side, can be used for adding texture and covering large areas.

Content continues after advertisements

Demonstration: Red Panda

Step 1

Make a line drawing using a 2b graphite pencil putting in as much detail as possible.

Step 2

Go over the detail with baked earth pencil where the panda is light brown.

Step 3

Use the bark pencil where the panda is dark brown, including around the eyes and the pupils, and the nose.

Set the Inktense with a damp brush and leave to dry.

Then still using bark go over all the detail in the tree trunk and set with a damp brush.

Allow to dry.

Step 4

For this stage pre-mix your washes.

Test the colours on a spare piece of watercolour paper.

Wet the whole painting (including the panda) and wash in the colours, one after the other in stripes down the page using a mop brush (taking the colours right across the panda and tree trunk).

Allow to dry completely.

Step 5

Make a wash of baked earth and wash over the panda. Leave to dry.

Then use cadmium orange dry to shade in dark patterns on the fur; where the fur is darker use bark, then set with a damp brush.

Again leave to dry.

Make a wash of crimson and wash all over the chest and legs to produce a nice dark colour.

Leave to dry then wash in bright blue over the same area. Again leave to dry.

Pick up cadmium orange direct from the block with a wet brush and paint the eye. Leave to dry.

Use bark in the dark areas of the eye where needed.

Paint the pupil, around the eye and nostrils with ink black.

With a thin wash of ink black wash over the bottom area of the nose. Leave to dry.

Step 6

Now start on the white hairs by picking up antique white directly from the block with a wet brush.

Use white acrylic to place the highlights in the eyes.

Step 7

With a fine point on the Inktense pencils, sharpen up all the detail in the fur patterns and tree branch using antique white, bark and cadmium orange, and finally put in the whiskers with antique white Inktense pencil.

Set with a damp brush and allow to dry.

Final image

Red Panda, Inktense on Daler-Rowney Watercolour board, (30x42cm)

Top tips:

  • Always paint in the direction of the hairs.
  • If the darks are not dark enough, scrub some colour down on a spare piece of watercolour paper, pick up colour with a wet brush and paint in the darker areas where needed.


Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products.