Getting Earthy

I was thinking of new ideas and mediums to work with and came across an old small tin of Conté Sticks in my “tool box”. This I haven’t used for ages! And what are Conté Sticks? These are compressed powdered charcoal or graphite drawing mediums mixed with clay or wax and are square in cross-section. Apparently they were developed as a result of a shortage of graphite during the Napoleonic Wars in the 1700s. Cost-effective to produce, they are now manufactured using natural pigments (iron oxides, carbon black, titanium dioxide), clay (kaolin), and a binder (cellulose ether).

Conté Sticks

Conté crayons are thus most commonly found in black, white, and sanguine (reddish) tones, as well as bistre (brown) and shades of grey. So I put it to a test with some Toned Tan paper! I do like the monotone and for a change it’s fun to draw and color with such basic colors. And today I decided to go for flowers! Normally colorful and bright, flowers could be an interesting subject to experiment with these “plain” shades.

I have to say it was a good start and flowers do in fact work really well even with Conté Sticks. This was merely an experiment and I would definitely like to develop this idea further!

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