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A Close-up of Conte a Paris Crayons

Conte a Paris Crayons are square 'carre' sticks which are made using a combination of pigments, clay and binder. They are harder than pastels and charcoal, and can be applied with the corner for fine lines and the flat edge to make larger strokes.

Conte a Paris Carre Crayons

Conte a Paris Crayons - a small selection of the colours!

These crayons with their 6x6mm cross-section offer a range of 84 bright and balanced colours, that make up various sets of assortments. Conte offers sets specifically selected for portraits, landscapes, sketching and still life, and crayons can also be purchased individually.

Size of Conte Crayons

How Conte a Paris Crayons are Made

Conte a Paris Crayons are manufactured with natural pigments (iron oxide, carbon black, titanium oxide), clay (kaolin), and a binder (cellulose either). They are extruded and dried, then baked. The degree of baking varies the grade (hardness: H/softness: B) of the black and white crayons. Two special tints were recently developed to enhance the Conte sketching range, Rose and Brown. Crayons are produced from a highly rigorous choice of pigments.

Ever since Nicolas-Jacques Conte perfected the quality and manufacturing of the coloured leads in 1795 (used by artists in the 14th century), many artists and grand masters used his pastels due to the selection of pigments, lightfastness, and purity of the colours. Conte a Paris Crayons are famed for how easily they blend, their softness and how they offer control for detail.

Conte Crayons on grey paper

A blend of green and yellow on grey pastel paper

Using Conte a Paris Crayons

The pastels perform best when used on coloured paper with plenty of tooth (such as Canson Ingres Sheets or Canson Mi-Teintes Pastels Paper), as the colour of the pastels will be more luminous, and the tooth will grab hold of the pigment. To create a non-absorbent, grease free surface on materials such as wood, canvas or paper, apply a primer (such as Schmincke Pastel primer). When dried the surface will be opaque and rough enough to provide a good hold for pastel colours.

Whilst drawing you can use the corner of the crayon for fine lines, allowing you to sketch and structure the piece. The flat edge can be used for thicker lines, and by applying greater pressure you can create a denser colour. As the Conte crayons are soft they blend easily, which helps to create dimension in your artwork. Conte crayons allow you to produce thick, dynamic lines that can be used to suggest movement. These techniques can transform an initially mundane subject into something intriguing and extraordinary.

To preserve your work, apply pastel fixative before framing behind glass.

Close up of Conte a Paris Crayons

The Conte a Paris Crayons can be seen in Crafts > Drawing > Pastels & Crayons > alongside a choice of other artist pastels from Unison Colour, Daler Rowney, Caran d'Ache, Sennelier, and Derwent.

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