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Conté Crayons are made from a blend of natural pigments, kaolin clay, and graphite. The Conté crayon has been used by many of the world’s greatest artists, including Picasso, Delacroix, and Degas.


They are well suited for use on newsprint, bristol, toned paper or heavily grained surfaces. Their rich opacity makes them ideal for work on darker papers and their quality ensures the longevity of drawings.


Conté crayons are waxier and much firmer than soft pastels, so they produce little dust and are easy to control.


These crayons are very soft to apply and manufactured using natural pigments (iron oxides, carbon black, titanium dioxide), clay (kaolin) and a binder (cellulose ether).


Invented by the Frenchman Nicolas-Jacques Conte, the same man who invented the modern lead pencil in the 18th century, conte crayons are made from pigment and graphite held together with a gum binder and grease. Resembling pastels in appearance and consistency, they are slightly harder and more oily. Conte crayon comes in square sticks and pencils.


Conte crayons produce a similar effect to charcoal, except that - being harder - they can create finer lines as well as shading and broad tonal areas. They come in a wide variety of colours and shades, although many conte artists still prefer to stick to the traditional palette, combining black,white and grey with the earthy pigments - sepia, sanguine red and brown. (White crayons are often used to create highlights.) These colours are ideal for nude drawings and portraits, giving them an aged appearance resembling works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti or Peter Paul Rubens.


Drawing Techniques

Although conte crayons are primarily employed for drawing which requires precise lines, square sticks of crayon can also be used like oil pastels to create blocks of tonal colour. Colours can be blended by rubbing them with a paper stump or simply with a finger, and because they are not powdery like charcoal or chalks - being more similar to oil pastels - layers of colour can be laid on top of each other to give a scumbling-style effect.

Conté - Black & White Sets of 12

Set Colour
  • Please contact us to purchase by calling 403-258-3500 or by simply emailing us at We are not yet an E-commerce (online store) business. All purchases will be in-store or shipped by call or email.

Everything Art


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Calgary AB Canada

T2H 0W5

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