Charcoal And Conte Sanguine

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Part of the enjoyment in drawing is the variety of papers and surfaces to work on, as well as the many mediums available to draw with. For this drawing, I chose a piece of Ingres Antique laid paper in earth color. This is a mould-made paper with lines embedded during the manufacturing process. I used a sanguine drawing pencil made by Conté. Sanguine is reddish in color, though Conté makes various shades of sanguine; you may want to try them all to see what you prefer.

Step 1

This is a sketch of a walnut tree outside my studio. I began with a line or contour drawing, adding some tone at the top to give me a sense of direction.

Simple Sketch Walnut Tree

Step 2

I continued drawing with the sanguine in a sketchy way, without too much detail. Then, with a 2B charcoal pencil, I lightly added some tone at the top, again just to get a feel for what I wanted to do.

Step 3

With the charcoal, I emphasized the darker values on the undersides of the branches and where the branches join the trunk, being careful to let some of the sanguine and the colored paper show through.

Trunk Branches DrawingCont Sanguine

Step 4

Finally, with a piece of soft white pastel, I added some snow, varying the thickness and keeping the white lines uneven. Notice how the snow has been caught in parts of the bark, which gives the impression of a driving snowstorm rather than gentle flurries.

Here's another example done with charcoal, sanguine and white pastel. In this drawing, the white was kept to a minimum; it was used only for highlights. I used simple, heavy brown wrapping paper, which shows you can find interesting drawing paper just about anywhere.

Traceable Mountain Drawing


Preliminary Sketch

This is a charcoal thumbnail on tracing paper of a Catskill sunset. I don't make color roughs when working with charcoal and watercolor. I work from memory or directly from nature.

Traceable Mountain Drawing

Step 1

On my good paper, which is 4-ply museum board, I lightly indicate some clouds and mountain ranges with my 2B charcoal pencil. I am more concerned here with.values than with details, because when the watercolor washes are laid over the charcoal, some of the charcoal may wash out.

Snow Mountains Clouds Sketches

Step 2

I begin sketching in the trees over the clouds and mountains, developing interesting patterns and making some trees short, some tall, some thin and some thick. I can always add more later if I want more density in the tree line.

Charcoal Tree Line

Step 3

Now I'm ready to add watercolor. I usually start with the sky and work toward the bottom. Be careful in areas where there is a heavy concentration of charcoal. The watercolor brush will naturally pick up some of that charcoal and may transfer it to areas you want to remain light. To prevent this, rinse the brush in clear water and reload with your watercolor.

Streaked Wash Watercolor

Step 4

A few minor corrections will improve this picture. I wash a very light violet over the top of the existing sky, then add a brighter, yellow-orange sunset streak. (Hint: Before you make any correction in watercolor, always wet that area of the paper with clear water. This will prevent hard edges and allow the revision to blend right in.) Finally I add a few more trees on the far right and left with a charcoal pencil, and Evening Prelude is finished.

Catskill Creek This quick sketch done with charcoal and watercolor contains the barest amount of detail, yet it has a spirit that will enable me at a later time to compose a larger, more finished painting.

Gazebo Detailed Drawings

Fall Landscape

This little sketch worked so well that I never tried to make a larger painting. Quite often, these charcoal and watercolor sketches capture something that seems to be lost when you try to do them larger.

Charcoal And Watercolor

Little Falls I came upon this welcoming spot while strolling in the woods. Charcoal and watercolor enabled me to record it with a minimum of time and trouble—just enough to get the feel of the place.

How Draw Rocks Landscape Plans

Fourth of July

This gazebo caught my eye late one evening. In spite of the lack of light and the dampness of the night air, I captured something that said, "Happy Birthday, America."

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  • grimalda
    How to draw rocks and water with black and white charcoal or conte?
    8 years ago
  • ermias
    Is conte sanguine bad for animals?
    8 years ago
    How to draw with sanguine charcoal?
    7 years ago
  • attilio
    How to paint sunset darkened tree line?
    2 years ago
  • Steffen
    Which sanguine pencil should I buy?
    1 year ago
  • ERIK
    How to draw portrait with sanguine?
    9 months ago

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