Conte crayons and pastels are different, though they are easily confused when you look at them. Conté is composed of compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with clay or a wax base.



Includes the following.

Conté crayons, or "Conté," are composed of compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with clay or a wax base and then molded into a square stick.

Conté has the renowned square-shaped "carré" crayons, marked with Conté á Paris.

Nicolas-Jacques Conté

Conté was invented by Nicolas-Jacques in 1795  in response to the shortage of graphite caused by the Napoleonic Wars (the British naval blockade of France prevented import). 

Today, Conté à Paris crayons are made from a blend of natural pigments, kaolin clay, and graphite.

Conté travels well and is excellent for sketching in the field. The sticks are also more challenging to break than graphite sticks or pencils.

Use the edge of the crayon to produce energetic lines & details or its flat side to apply larger areas of color.

Materials or Supplies

Includes unique types or brands.

Sketching Carré Crayons

"Conté à Paris" Sketching Crayons are very soft to apply and made from natural pigments (iron oxides, carbon black, titanium dioxide), clay (kaolin), and a binder (cellulose ether). The range comprises 14 colors, including the popular sanguine colors, Grey and Bistre, and three grades of white and black to complete the range. Available loose and in sets.

Color Carré Crayons

Color Carré Crayons are available in 70 vibrant colors. They are also sold in various color sets, from portraits to landscapes.

Conté pencils are the same material Conté as but encased in wood. Conté crayons had the advantage of being cost-effective to produce and easy to manufacture in controlled grades of hardness. Sandpaper is preferred to sharpen these pencils; they will break off in a manual or electric rotary sharpener.

Conté Pencils

Preferred Brands

  • Conté

Preferred Grades

  • B
  • 2B

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