Conte Crayon – Self Portrait
Self portrait drawing in Conte Crayon
Self portrait in Conte Crayon

This is a Conte Crayon drawing I did for an assignment in Drawing 2 class last semester.  I felt the piece came out really well, with the chiaroscuro contrasting darks and lights.  Conte Crayons are pretty awesome to work with as far as drawing mediums go.  They can be messy, with a lot of dust accumulation underneath the canvas.

The assignment was to draw a self portrait using a medium of our choice.  I felt Conte Crayon would make for decent portrait work and in the end I’m glad I went with it.

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For paper, I used brown Canson Mi-Teintes drawing paper which I picked up at Jerry’s Artarama.   The piece took roughly 8-10 hours to complete.  I had a lot of fun working on this, particularly getting the reflection of the camera in the sunglasses!

If you’re interested, you can find the reference photo on this site’s About Page.


Conte Crayons are basically hard pastels that are made with charcoal. The sticks are about a quarter-inch square wide, and 3 inches long. Being charcoal based they can get all over the place, so set up some newspapers or covering before working with them.

The set I used for this portrat was Conte’s Portrait set of 12:

Conte Crayon Set
Conte Portrait Crayons, 12 Pack

Conte Portrait Crayons, 12 Pack

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12 Comments on “ Conte Crayon – Self Portrait ”

  • This is fantastic Eric – what an awesome self-portrait!

    I have never heard of those crayons before, are they like a crayon really or more like a pastel?

  • Thank you Evita for the kind comments!

    Conte Crayons are actually charcoal based. While I believe they do contain wax (or a wax-like substance) they aren’t much like crayons or pastels. They feel like a stick of drawing charcoal – and can be just as messy to deal with!

    • Hi Shannon, thanks! Sometimes I feel that the camera reflection is a little too noticeable… like perhaps it is a bit overdone. Still the effect seems pretty cool and I’m happy with how the piece turned out overall.

      If you have some drawing talent and ever think about art school… I have to recommend TCC’s Visual Art Center in Portsmouth 🙂 They’ve really been great. – Eric

  • That is a pretty amazing and realistic self-portrait. I agree the reflection in the glasses is a nice touch.

    Keep it up in art school. I am in my last term of art school myself and this takes me back a few terms.

    I can’t wait to see your style develop.

  • I know this is years after your initial post, BUT I am very very impressed by that picture!! I love doing portraits also, I haven’t gone outside of my graphite shell much, but I was wondering if you have some advice for drawing hair. I can never seem to get it right! Looks like you have quite the grip on it 😀 I hope you get this lol Take care, and keep up the amazing work!!

  • Great Portrait – does anyone else think it looks like Russle Crow ;). (Conté are chalky to work with but that’s cause they are a mix of Clay for pigment and Graphite – charcoal definitely makes more a mess)

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