Available in various sets or individually.
The Conté Sketching crayons include various highly reputed Sanguine colours, Grey and Bistre, 3 grades of white and black complete the range. 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.
Colour Palette: 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.
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.
Most draughtsmen who employ conte crayons in their fine art drawings, use tinted paper with a rough textured surface. This facilitates blending and layering, and emphasises the unique markings made by the crayon.
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