By Matt Fussell
The video featured on this page is a time lapse of an hour long live lesson that aired in the member section of this site on December 19, 2012. To see the video in real time, complete with commentary, visit conte crayon drawing of a bird. (members video)
Conte is a traditional drawing medium. It is similar to charcoal and pastel in the way that is behaves on the surface. It is easily spread over paper and the artist can use their finger or blending tools to smear and blend the material. It is also nice for drawing without smearing. Conte comes in a variety of colors and concentrations. Traditionally conte is sold in sets that include black, white, and a terra cotta color called sanguine. In the tutorial, I used only these colors.
Conte can easily be confused with pastel because of their shared characteristics. The main difference between the two mediums is that conte is made with clay constituents, while most pastels lack clay materials. Because of their similarities, conte can be used in conjunction with pastels and charcoal.
Completed conte drawings can be fixed using spray fixative. Drawings are fixed in order to prevent unwanted smearing.