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Conte Pastels – sometimes called Conte crayons - were first developed by Nicolas-Jacques Conté in France in around 200 years ago. They are classic hard pastels which are renowned for their high quality and wide selection of colours in the range, all available at an affordable price. They are produced from naturally found pigments and carefully blended binder containing graphite and kaolin clay.
They have a vibrant and rich colour and they blend with each other nicely, and a variety of pastel effects can be reliably created. Conte pastels have a rich opacity which means they are perfect to be used on darker coloured paper and the longevity of the finished artwork is ensured due to the lightfastness of the colours.
Conté crayons have a harder waxier consistency than traditional soft pastels, making them very easy to control and produce a very small amount of dust. They are suitable to be used on various surfaces including use on toned paper, canvas, boards, newsprint or heavily textured surfaces.
The unique shape of the pastel sticks allows them to be snapped for easier use. They can also be used for detailed work by sharpen them to a chisel tip with a sanding pad or shading effects can be achieved over larger areas by using them flat on their side.
They have been used by a number of highly renowned artists, including Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, and Eugène Delacroix.
They are available in selection of 84 different colours, with 14 of these specially developed for creating sketches. Each stick is 63 mm long and 6mm square.